Let’s get out of my head for awhile (yesterday’s post was rough) and into my home. That is a much cleaner, organized, manageable place to be.
When I started homeschooling I wanted to make sure that I kept things simple and basic so that I would not get overwhelmed. In academics I knew I wanted to cover the three R’s (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic), and I also wanted our day to get off to a good start with a morning routine. Lastly, I wanted to make time for personal scripture study and household chores. With my love for alliteration, I added on three more R’s to the academic R’s:
Here is a little information about the other three R’s I added to our day:
Routine is always the first square on the kids’ school bingo sheets because I would like it done first thing in the morning. We listed the tasks in the order the kids wanted to complete them. It doesn’t always happen that way, but a girl can dream. Our morning routine is straightforward with these easy requirements:
Fill Water Bottle
Pick up Pile*
*This is whatever was left out the night before that I gathered in a pile. Each kid usually has his/her own pile.
(The washi tape at the top of the list is covering items that used to be in the routine, but that we took off after some experience. We learned the items were too much to include in a simple morning routine.)
Religion is just my concise R word for “personal scripture study” for each child. I outlined how we do this in detail in this post. I prefer scripture reading be done first thing in the morning as well. It helps the day get off to a great start. We also do work to memorize “The Living Christ” every day which can count as Religion also.
Responsibility is a consistent daily chore the kids are assigned. I liked the word “Responsibility” instead of “Chore” because it seemed more motivating, more mature, with more accountability (and it started with an R.) I thought the kids could view it as something mom trusted them to do rather than something mom made them do. I’m not sure they see it that way, but it makes me feel better anyway.
Here is the kids’ current responsibility schedule:
Monday- Clean bedrooms.
The kids deep clean their bedrooms on Mondays including dusting and vacuuming their rooms. I love the idea of the kids starting the week off with clean rooms. It just gets their week off to a good start, and the rest of the week goes smoother. Out of the whole week, this is probably the responsibility that takes the most energy and focus so that is another reason I like it on Monday. I am usually on my game on Monday and have the energy to help, nag or follow through. By Thursday and Friday I am winding down and easing up.
Tuesday- Individual chores.
Tuesday is a miscellaneous day. The boys do the whole house’s garbages and recycles and get them out to the curb. This works great since garbage day is Wednesday. Croft dusts the upstairs. Elle has the day off since she is gone from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night.
Wednesday- Clean bathrooms.
Each child is assigned a bathroom to clean. Locke helps me clean my bathroom. They have the same one all year so that they can really own the space and be accountable week after week. They have a checklist to guide their cleaning. I like that the bathrooms get cleaned in the middle of the week and then they are responsible to check them again on Saturdays.
Thursday- Kids’ laundry day.
I do my laundry and the house’s laundry on Monday, and we do the kids’ laundry on Thursday. The kids bring up their dirty clothes baskets from their rooms and sort their clothes first thing in the morning. We have family piles of sorted clothes. Then they leave their empty baskets in the living room so we can put clean clothes back in them throughout the day. The kids are responsible to move one load through from washer, to dryer, to sorting. I want them comfortable with all aspects of doing laundry. At the end of the day, if all the laundry got done, they can take their basket of clean clothes down to their room.
Friday- Put away clothes.
The kids put away their own clothes on Fridays. Their basket of clean clothes is unfolded so they are in charge of folding their own clothes and putting them away. I help Locke fold his clothes. Everyone else is on their own. This is the easiest chore of the whole week, so I like that it is on Friday now since Friday is a low-key day for us.
Saturday we still do miscellaneous chores as outlined in this post.
Before my Monday Meltdown we had a different daily schedule and one different responsibility. Instead of Individual Chores we had Zones. Each child had a zone to clean that day. They had to declutter, straighten up, dust and vacuum the area. I still love the concept in theory, but I could never probably monitor it in reality. It took too much work, maintenance and training on my part. I might visit the ‘zone’ idea again as they get older.
The consistency of the daily responsibilities has proven to be helpful. The kids know what to expect each day. I am going to continue this pattern into the summer, with just a few tweaks, because it has been super effective.
In addition to the academic R’s, the other three R’s are an important part of our homeschooling day. We all pitch in to care of the house so that I have more time to devote to their schooling. And I feel like having a Routine, studying Religion, and completing a Responsibility each day is helping my children establish beneficial life-long skills and habits.