Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shakin’ up our Chore Chart for the Year! {Review}


I jumped at the change to use Everyday Homemaking’s Family Chore System ($19.99 as a glossy coil-bound book; $17.99 for the downloadable e-book) to revitalize our “family blessing” (aka: chores) program this year.  The system I set up a few years ago has worked fine, but we need to get some variety and expand on responsibilities now that I’ve got 13-10-7 in the house (well, the 10 and 7 will be here soon enough).

The  book is divided into three parts (from the table of contents): 
  • Part One: Laying a Foundation - Child training is the first step to successful home management training.
  • Part Two: Implementing the Plan - Teach them HOW to work; Motivate them to succeed
  • Part Three: The Actual Chore System

In the first part, Ms. Bentley asks that you think ahead to when your children leave your home.  What do you want them to be?  By looking ahead and then moving backwards, you can develop a plan for what specific  skills you want to impart on your children.  I love that she includes reminders to think about age-appropriate expectations and standards – but always train and teach in love.

The second part is designed to help you think about what needs to be done daily and periodically in your week and consider the developmental skills of your children (she has a great comprehensive chart to help you look at what a 10 year or or 6 year or 3 year old should be able to do).  She also believes in rotating jobs on a monthly basis so that your children are learning a variety of skills – but also so that no one is “stuck” with a perceived horrible chore.

The third section of the book includes suggestions on how to actually build a chore system.  Foam core board and clothes pins play a big part.  Here’s a peek at our board:


Not shown are job cards, which explain step-by-step processes to clean and manage different chores.  I really liked this part!  I’ve never created such a detailed set of instructions for our chores and can see now that it was really missing in my training.  Mrs. Bentley explains that there is mentoring and training that needs to go on with these cards – it is a process and mind-set that you are training so it will take patience and time.

How this worked for us:  I really love the idea behind this.  It expands on our previous chore chart system that we’ve used for the past few years.  Now that Levi is almost (!) 7, I had wanted to introduce more variety into our chore system.  Ms. Bentley’s ideas have been so helpful for me to re-evaluated our chore system, and I’ve been able to adapt her system to fit our needs.

My biggest need is continuing to train the boys to take care of their own possessions.  This means that they need to keep their room picked up. I had adapted the idea of dividing their room up into “zones” so they would pick up area each day.  I wanted to keep this system going, so I added it into our new system.

You can see on this picture to the right that below each day is one of the zones for the boys’ roDSCN1215oms.  Monday, for example, is the day to pick up laundry, toys, and whatever else might have found it’s way into their closets.  Tuesday is  under bed day and Wednesday is desk (for Ben) and toy chest (for Luke and Levi) day.

On the left side of the days is the Everyday Family Chore System inspired rotation.  Since I’ve already got the boys trained to do their own laundry, I wanted to continue that pattern.  On one of the boys’ laundry days, the other two will rotate the two chores.  On non-laundry days, the boys will rotate the three chores for a one-a-day family blessings.
On the bottom half of the chart are the boys’ daily responsibilities. These chores will rotate weekly, so each boy will have two dailies to manage – and one of them involves being my assistant:  assistant cook, assistant dishwasher and assistant table setter/ clearer.   I’m really excited to have an assistant – especially an assistant cook.  Ben has been doing a great job of cooking things like canned soup, eggs, macaroni and cheese.  With Boy Scouts, I know he’s done cooking of things like tacos and pancakes. But, I’d like to get him involved in cooking some other items – a few main dishes and sides.  Levi, on the other hand, is my main man when it comes to cookies and baking, but I’d like to begin to include him in more aspects of cooking and food handling.  And Luke?  Well, he’s my eater.  But, to be an eater you gotta cook!

My recommendations and thoughts: I really appreciated the thoroughness of this resource.  Most of my other attempts at setting up a chore system and been a-little-of-this and a-little-of-that. 

I want to warn you that this might not be a quick system to set up; it wasn’t for me. Because I’ve got a wide age-span of kids, I really needed to think and re-think how this would work.

I spent several nights looking at lists of what was age-appropriate for each boy, and trying to mesh that with a system that could rotate and meet each boys’ life skills needs. And, because I’ve done some decent training in laundry and room cleaning in the past, I needed to fold (no pun intended) what we currently do into a new system. It took another couple nights to figure out how to get room chores/ zones integrated into Mrs. Bentley’s system. Then I had to make it!

I feel like Ms. Bentley's system is something that can last longer and serve us as a family for a better purpose of not just getting stuff done, but of training in life skills.

As far as implementing this system with the boys, it is taking some time, but I expected this because it is a significant change from what we've been using for the past few years.  Even I am learning what boy does what job (I keep forgetting I have an assistant cook to employ!).  But, I know that the time we're investing in this will pay off in the end.  Patience, I just have to remind myself.

To see what others thought of this product – as well as Ms. Bentley’s Everyday Cooking (which some members of the Crew reviewed), please head on over to the Crew blog by clicking the banner below:


Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Molly Crew, I received a free copy of the Family Chore System e-book, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.


Eddie said...

It sounds like it was worth the time you spent setting it up! I have to say that it looks terrific.

Vicki said...

I really like the way you set yours up. That's the beauty of this, to me--it's so easily customizable! :)
Thanks for your review.