A Unique Chore Chart
I know that housekeeping and yard maintenance is not a problem unique to homesteaders. Most people I know try hard to juggle all of their responsibilities. Living on a homestead means more responsibilities; therefore, there are more responsibilities to juggle.
Some days I drop the ball, so to speak. The house gets neglected or the laundry piles up into an intimidating mound. The weeds in the garden and flower bed are thriving. You have no clean bowls or spoons because they are all piled up in the sink waiting to be washed. Please tell me that I am not the only one.
With a large family, there are more hands to do the work. I have heard some say, “More hands make smaller work.” Well, that is true; however, more people make a bigger mess. Laundry in and of itself can easily get out of control with a large family.
I have tried the traditional chore chart. I have assigned everyone jobs that I believed that they could handle. If they struggled with a particular job, then I made sure that I took the time and trained them to complete the task successfully.
The kids would inevitably complain that they were assigned a particular chore. “Why doesn’t Kyla have to do this? Why did you give me this job? You know I hate doing dishes.” I hated the complaining and would decide to give more work to the one that complained, but that grew tiresome to me.
For a while I did not assign daily chores except for feeding the animals. Instead I would tell each child what to do that day depending on what was a pressing need. One day it might be deep cleaning the downstairs or cleaning out the chicken coop and rabbit hutch. Or, it could be mulching the garden.
This worked semi-well, but I noticed that the ordinary tasks that need daily attention suffered. I found that I was working way too hard and doing the bulk of the chores. Once the big chore of the day was completed, the kids would run off to ride horses, read, or ride their bikes. I was home with the two small ones trying to stay afloat with the housework.
I have been reading all the Thomas Jefferson Education books. In it one mom says something to the affect, “If you (the mom) are still doing all the work, then you have not given yourself the promotion you deserve.”
I had trained my children to know how to do all the tasks required to keep a house running. They can do laundry, mop, scrub toilets, cook, tidy, etc. I immediately sought a way to accomplish the needs of our household in as pleasant a way as possible. I thought choice and variety of tasks were critical to the success of my chore chart.
First, I wrote down the duties that must be performed daily. They are: cleaning the living room, dining room, kitchen, and the guest bathroom/stairs/foyer. I grouped the latter rooms together for fairness. I wrote these tasks on lime green index cards.
Then I lumped tasks like: do three loads of laundry, cook dinner, tidy up our acre yard, prepare lunch and clean up, and take out the trash and/or burn paper products in the burn barrel. I wrote these tasks on hot pink index cards.
On bright orange index cards, I wrote the names of the following tasks: clean the upstairs bathroom and hall, weed and/or harvest the garden, clean the front porch and driveway, clean the family vehicle, and do the dishes (all day).
One four white index cards, I wrote “tidy your bedroom” on each card.
For Isaac, who is just wanting and really able to be assigned a chore, I came up with three tasks just for him. He can tidy his bedroom, feed the cats, and help out around the house. Isaac gladly helps two people complete their chore. My intention is for him to be helpful, but also learn in the process. I wrote his chores on yellow index cards.
I made a manilla file folder into our chore chart. I made two pockets out of construction paper for each person, including myself. Then I made a bigger pocket to hold all the index cards. I wrote each person’s name on his/her pocket.
Each day we have to choose one pink card, one green card, one orange card, and one white card. Isaac gets his three yellow cards. There are more cards than needed; therefore, the last person still gets a choice.
Choice seems to play a big role in the success of this chart. My children are not complaining about the chores. They chose them after all.
Kyla came up with the idea to chose the chores as soon as you get up, which surprised me since she is usually the last to rise from bed. Not anymore! Now everyone is up early and at work. I have been the last to choose the last five mornings and I get up at 6:45.
The chores become easier as the days go by because it is more maintenance than work. My house is running smoothly. I am much happier. Now I have a little time to read, exercise, etc. I absolutely love my unique chore chart.