Saturday, August 23, 2008

Of Chores and CHECKLISTS!

The next few days are our "in-service" days. I've spent a lot of time evaluating what worked last year for our homeschool, what didn't work, and what would work better with a bit of tweaking. In the next few days I will begin to implement changes.

The first area I plan to attack happens to be an area that I've been asked to write about for SSS: CHORES or, "how do you keep a clean house"? ::snort:: ::gurgle:: ::sniff::

I've been trying to come up with a chore system I would like for a LONG time. Twenty years ago our family used
Sidetracked Home Executives. I had an index box of cards for EACH person in the house. I even went so far as to assign a monetary value to each little chore and the children were given allowances based on their contributions to the functioning of the house. This worked well for us for years. It takes more time and record keeping than I want to invest these days. It became cumbersome when we entered the military and I had to keep updating cards every 1 - 3 years. HOWEVER, it did train the children WELL how to clean various areas of our home. I loved how this trained us all on the PARTS of a big job.

We've used charts galore. We've had each child assigned to a different room on a rotating basis. These also worked well...but I don't WANT 6 chore charts on my fridge.

We utilize the "
power of 15 minutes". This helps a LOT....

We've had success with
Zone Cleaning for bedrooms. I simply need a system for the rest of the house.

My training philosophy for chores involves pairing young workers with older workers (or myself) on every job. I also make a conscious effort to give the job to the YOUNGEST person who can possibly do it. In this way I don't neglect training the younger helpers because the older helpers are ready and willing.

I want a program that is simple. I want the children to clearly know what I expect of them. I don't want to keep detailed charts, or have zillions of index boxes around the home.
Kelly, shared with me that she made lists "The bathroom is clean when" and posted them. I liked the idea....but then thought the little ones couldn't read the charts.

I've continued to wrestle with how to consistently make sure work is getting done and how to be sure the younger ones know what I want when I tell them "clean your room" or "clean the kitchen". Mike's a military man and he loves his checklists. He's been encouraging me for months (OK lots of months) to "make checklists". I was SURE lists wouldn't HELP with YOUNGER children. I love lists. For some reason the idea of posted checklists seemed too military for my nature. I'm finally getting with the program. I'm doing it with a smile....because I used a big font, bullet icons and bright colors and made it fun! I also used some of my favorite tools to create our checklists: sheet protectors, notebook rings and colored paper. ::snort:: Seriously, Mike often has solutions that will work well for me, and I have to remember to "get under his mission" (submit). He ALWAYS tells me that I'm the "home dictator" and that I should run things the way that I want to - but he has GREAT ideas and the least I can do is try some of them.

I began to make my checklists. I found many lists but none were just right. I liked
Kelly's list of supplies at the top of her list and her DETAILED instructions (see my bathroom weekly list - it's Kelly's). I found some lists at A Virtuous Woman, but thought Proverb 31 verses wouldn't be likely to motivate my sons. I liked the format of their lists, but knew the print would be far to small for my children to read.I thought about how I DID want various rooms cleaned. I realized that this checklist thing was going to be fun.

I made up 3 lists for each room: daily, weekly and monthly. I used Col 3:23 at the top of each list. I listed the supplies needed to clean the room. I used differently colored papers for daily, weekly and monthly. I also printed up the "Family Ways" that pertain to work.


I then assembled "the checklist" for each room. Each has 3 lists and the Work Ways. The ways will remind the kids of the attitude we strive for. I even did this for my room and bathroom - I can use the reminders too! I POSTED them in noticeable spots in each room.

I believe this will work for us in several areas. It's simple. I've shared before my propensity to
color-coded complicated charts and how neurotic it makes my family. I think this will give us form without making us slaves to the "structure". All are accountable to the written expectations. The kids may chose WHEN to do their weekly jobs. The rooms will rotate so no child is stuck with the same weekly jobs "forever". My plan is for us to spend a certain time each week working on monthly jobs. We'll tackle those a room at a time as a group.

We'll still use the 15 minute cleaning sessions - but each child will know what weekly chores need done and will work on those, instead of asking me, "what should I do next," and getting off "free" when I can't think of something. LOL

Eventually I will have a "bonus checklist". This list will have extra jobs that children can do for extra tickets or such. These jobs will be things that don't readily fit on one list or another.

I realized months ago that I needed checklists for each room. It took me months to find the TIME to create the lists. I offer links to my checklists below. They are hosted on google and sometimes google is freaky. If you find that the links won't work and you really want the jump start of a prepared list to adapt, leave your contact info in the comments section and I'll email them to you as attachments. These lists will always be a work in progress.....I forgot to put "wash sheets" on the bedroom checklist and such. These are not perfect or special - but they may save you time in creating lists of your own, should you so choose.

BTW, if your children are too young to read checklists, you can still create lists, keep them in a
household notebook and use them for yourself and as a training tool for children. This is how I used the index cards of old. ::snort::

Bathroom Checklist (Daily)
"Work Ways"

Click to read more
SUPER Size Saturday entries.

©2008 D.R.G.


Debbie said...

Wow, De'Etta, this all looks great. I didn't have any trouble with the links.

Having the kids take more responsibility for keeing the house clean is on our big list of goals for this school year. Right now, Brian, Bessie and I are doing it all, with the youngers doing only minor things.

Thanks also for the reminder of the 24 Ways book. I have had this on our shelf for a while. It appears that Brian might be around more this winter, so that would be a great time to dive into this book.

Herding Grasshoppers said...


Many thanks! I have been procrastinating about getting my three boys more involved in the general upkeep. I think I"m a wee bit of a perfectionist... even in organizing HOW to get them involved.

Your lists are a great springboard for me - THANK YOU! (Oh, how I LOVE checklists... and COLOR-CODED too!) I think we have something in common ;)

I love the tip about giving the job to the youngest one who can handle it... very wise.

I enjoy "checking in" on your family :0)


Anonymous said...

thank you, thank you!
my older three are ok with organization and knowing what-to-do, but my younger two, not so much.

great lists and plans.

pray for us all as the pwoc-i board transitions out and finishes well. and that God directs the paths of those coming up in leadership.

good to read about your vacation - how fun!


Kelly said...

Oh how funny to come and read about my lists. I've been thinking that things around here need to get back on track. Summer break sure does mean break, from routine, around here anyway.

And now that you've linked to my blog, perhaps I should blog LOL. After Doug goes to work, maybe??

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

NOW I know how motivate you to blog! ::snort::

Hope the lists help, ladies. I've been "meaning" to sit down and create lists for months and's good to have it done. LOL

Amy said...

I used to read your blog quite a bit but lost the link about 6 months ago. I love hearing how you do things. We have 6 kids and I only know one other hsing family (personally) as big as ours.

I actually came up with weekly checklists about two weeks ago (very similar to yours) and have been thinking I needed to come up with monthly/seasonal ones. Yours will work great for me--Thanks for posting them :)

Gilda said...

Oh DeEtta!!!!
You didn't know that it was the Spirit prompting you to make these lists just for me!!!!! LOL
Making chore charts and chore lists is on my list of "things to do" this week as I prepare for the upcoming school year. You have done exactly what I needed to do. With a little tweaking it will fit our family perfectly. And to top it all off it is COLORFUL!!!!!
You have just made a several hours job a very easy job for me.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!
Can you tell how grateful I am?????

Angi said...

Thanks for the tips!

Sneumy said...


My kids do a great job of helping around the house so long as I'm able to explain the process to them each time the chore is done. Years ago I had made and laminated sheets for daily and weekly to-dos, but they're in need of revamping.

I set out today to create daily task sheets for each child. After beginning I thought to check in with your blog. Being as you've "been there and done that" with your large family I like to come to you to see what has worked and the path you've taken to get there. I realize this post is a few years old now, but it was the latest one that showed up in the list when I did the search for "chores". The above links didn't work for me. Will you please send them to me?