From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


1/20/2011 11:06:02 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter--January 2010

HSLDA's Homeschooling Thru the Early Years Newsletter
January 2010--Raising Kids Who Help at Home (Part Three)

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Training in Diligence and Thoroughness

Dear Friends,

In the past few newsletters ,
I shared with you four basic child training principles to help you lay
a solid, loving foundation for successful home management training
(teaching your kids to help at home). Some of you may be thinking, "My
children are all too young to be of any help--I'll have to do it all!"
Well, if you don't include them in training, you are still doing it
all, and they aren't learning to help you, so you might as well start
mentoring them now!

Delegate/assign responsibilities

Set some goals and decide what tasks are critical on a daily and a
weekly basis, then assign them on a periodic rotation to the
participating children. I know that it is usually easier to do
something yourself than to train someone else to do it, but this
training is important. (I had to learn to do laundry at age 17 by
trying to decipher the Italian instructions in a laundromat in Rome
because my sweet mom was kind enough to do my laundry till I left
home.) Even older toddlers can be assigned small chores, or can team
up with an older sibling, or accompany mom to apprentice in their
assigned tasks. A life skills checklist (see sidebar) can help you
determine reasonable expectations by age level.

Be sure everyone knows what is expected. A hanging chart can be the
silent reminder of daily and weekly duties. Our chart had the duties
on clips, with daily on one side and weekly on the other, and the
clips rotated up one side and down the other, one job at a time, at
the beginning of each month. For toddlers or other non-readers, a
photo flip album with photos of the task in progress (or the expected
result) can be effective.

Teach them how to do the job

How many times have you given a child a task, only to discover that
his idea of sweeping the floor and your idea of sweeping the floor are
apparently not even close to the same? You'll want to demonstrate the
job done thoroughly before expecting a child to do it; how long this
initial training process takes will depend on the maturity and
physical ability of the child (of course, you'll want to consider
safety if cleansers are involved).

The child can gradually take over the task and will eventually only
need an occasional check-up. To make this process more consistent, we
used the How-to-do-it Cards from "The Everyday Family Chore System";
an alternative is to make your own process lists for each household

It is reasonable to expect the job to be done with a pleasant
attitude, thoroughly, and reasonably well, according to the ability
level of the child. It is important to note that acceptable is not the
same as perfect; as parents, we must not make the standard
unachievable and thus discouraging to our children. And remember: Kids
do what you in-spect, not always what you ex-pect!

Reward your child's success

The goal is to train our children to be responsible, skilled, and
diligent. You may not be a big fan of rewards, but if that is what it
takes for kids to initially see the benefit of helping out, don't rule
it out! In our home, we used a star system with small rewards (a
10-star and 25-star box in Dad's closet) for jobs done and schoolwork
finished with good attitudes. After a few years, the girls weaned
themselves off the external rewards, motivated enough by the intrinsic
reward of a job well done (or done in time to do whatever else they
wanted to do).

Organize for success

Once you have:

(1) Set some goals and decided what tasks need to be accomplished on a
daily and a weekly basis, then

(2) Delegated and assigned responsibilities with your chore chart, and

(3) Started to teach them how to work, organizing your household will make it easier for your
children to succeed--from a daily routine, to color coding, to dots on
the laundry, and more.

A final word

Remember: The main purposes of implementing a family chore system are
(1) to train your children to be responsible members of a family and
to diligently serve one another and (2) to disciple or apprentice them
in living skills.

You are investing in your children. This is not designed to be a crash
course in responsibility and competence (or a punishment). You have
years to develop character. Don't overwhelm your children with
unrealistic expectations. A sign near my front door reminds me (and
guests!) during this season of training:

"My house is clean enough to be healthy,
And messy enough to be happy."

Yours in diligence and thoroughness,

Vicki Bentley
HSLDA Early Years coordinator

(Some content adapted from "The Everyday Family Chore System.")


"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

"Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not." Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

A few resources:

HSLDA Early Years website's "Organization" section (articles, links,

"Age-Appropriate Chores" (article)

"Twelve Chore Chart Tips for Success" by Sarah Aguirre (article)

"Seven Ways to Teach Family Responsibility through Chores" (Teaching

"These Things Should Be Done Before School" chart

"Start Service Learning" ("Home School Heartbeat" with Billie Jo

Accountable Kids chore chart

Service Opportunities Chart from Doorposts

Managers of Their Chores by Steve and Teri Maxwell

"The Everyday Family Chore System" by Vicki Bentley

Your Minder TM 6-alarm clock (You can record personal messages for
each alarm.)

(Read Vicki's tips on using this timer)

My Time TM activity timer

Read a homeschool mom's review of the timer

"Getting Kids to Help with Chores" by Marcia Washburn

Try an Internet search: free chore chart + homeschool
-> For as little as 33 cents a day...

There's not much you can get for 33 cents a day. Why not put your
money toward peace of mind for yourself, your family, and their

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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