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Chores, Part 3

2011 May 12
by Pamela

Hopefully this is the grand finale of my posts on chores, ending with “And then we all lived happily ever after and Mama didn’t have to do housework ever again”.

A girl can dream.

I already wrote about how the American Girl doll obsession became the impetus for starting formal chores in Part 1.  In Part 2 I wrote about how we decided what chores Mary Claire could do.  After we picked the chores and typed them up, I assumed my work was over.

On the first day she began doing chores for money, she eagerly went to her chart and asked “What does it say?”  I gave her a job, she went and did it, then came back and said “What does it say I’m supposed to do next?”  This went on for several days before I realized, duh, she’s still learning to read.  Not only that, but unless I was willing to stand next to the fridge all the live-long day, there had to be some designated times in our house when she did her chores.

So I went online looking for a pictorial chore chart but I couldn’t find a thing.  Then I looked in our homeschool resource catalog.  There were a million charts, one of which had pictures.  But I didn’t like the layout and the pictures were beyond cheesy.

Streamlining the chore process and making her chart readable were imperative if we were going to stick with this, so I started brainstorming and decided I was going to have to create my own.  Although I am a person who values beauty and creativity, I am not exactly a crafty person.  I was lamenting the chore chart issue to a fellow homeschool co-op mom Liz who suggested I use a Cricut which allows you to diecut images and letters to create designs.  Since her daughter needed to raise money for camp and a mission trip this summer, we agreed that I would pay her to make a chart for us.

And this is it!   The Most Gorgeous and Helpful Chore Chart Ever! 

Didn’t she do a great job?

Most charts are designed with a Monday-Sunday system, but that didn’t make sense for me since a lot of her things needed to be done on a daily basis.  For that reason I asked Abbi to lay out the chart based on time of day.  The first two rows are for “morning”, items that need to be done before school.  The next group is for the afternoon, and the final two rows are our evening routine. 

Then there are some chores that are done whenever Mrs. Mom says so, like dusting.  When I feel like cleaning the house, it’s dusting day.  When I decide to go grocery shopping, Mary Claire needs to help me put the food away.  I liked the idea of being able to move items as needed.  Plus Mary Claire is motivated by being able to cross things off a list, so having the designs movable would be helpful.  Each laminated box has velcro (genius!!!) on the back, so after she completes the work she can take the design off for the day.  Seriously, how brilliant are Liz and Abbi? 

Even though I said I wasn’t paying any kid of mine to brush her own teeth, I included personal hygiene things of the chart anyway.  To me this is an important part of streamlining the day.  In the evening, for example, I ask her to go to her chore chart and do what she needs to do in order.  So she can see that she needs to put toys away, put all the shoes back in the bin (why oh why is it so hard to put your shoes right in the cubby?) , feed the cats, and clear the table after snack time.  Using this method for organizing the chart also organizes the day.  It allows Mary Claire to fluidly run through her routine at distinct times of the day without feeling overwhelmed by a huge list. 

Mrs. Holt, Mary Claire’s Math and Literature teacher at co-op, suggested I write the chore on each box so she starts recognizing the words, which I am going to do as well. 

We’ve only been using this for a few days, but so far it has proven to be very helpful and enjoyable for all of us.  Thanks again to Liz and Abbi for working with me to create something so fun and useful.   Mary Claire’s dream of going to the American Girl store in Chicago seems more attainable to all of us.  And I can get back to Important Matters, like figuring out where to eat while we are there.

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Karina permalink
    May 12, 2011

    Hi Pamela-

    This is great. I have a strong suspicion many of your friends may want your co-op buddy to make these. She did an awesome job! We have been discussing formal chores for Ian as well (to start with Fall-preschool). He does a great deal now to help but we want to teach him some new skills and getting paid for chores will help do that.

    • Pamela permalink*
      May 20, 2011

      I hear you have a cricut too so maybe you could go into a side, side business after taking care of a house, husband, two kids, and doing MK. :)

  2. jenny baugh permalink
    May 12, 2011

    Love it!

  3. May 14, 2011

    The chart turned out so great!

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