Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chores for Boys

At the beginning of the last school year, I created some chore charts for the boys.  We tried check-off lists, we tried moving the chore title from the "ToDo" column to the "Finished" column.  All these "extras" just took up more time and one was honestly just one more thing to take care of.  Instead, I opted for a single list for all the boys.  They go in order every day and they do the chore together if it is at all possible.  

I have found that doing the chores together result in less whining and complaining.  We've even ended up with some "inside jokes" from working alongside each other so much. :)  I wouldn't say the chores are fun, but they are at least tolerated and they get done. 

This year, I plan to update the chart with a few more extra items since they are a year older, but in the meantime I thought I share what works for us.

Here is their every day chore chart. This is where they start each morning: 

Take Vitamin, Clear their place from breakfast, Unload the dishwasher, Brush teeth and hair, Make beds, Pick up toys throughout the house,  Fold towels and put clean laundry away, Hug your Mom, Find your shoes.

Below that are the boys' individual chores: Will feeds and waters the dog, Nathan opens the blinds and empties the compost, and Witt puts the couch pillows on the couch (because they always end up on the floor) and makes sure the cabinets are closed in the kitchen.

At the end, are the daily chores. 
Monday: Clean the Sunroom; Tuesday: Grocery/Errand Day; Wednesday: Trash; Thursday: Remove Sheets from Bed; Friday: Floors (my chore)

When the boys are at "Brush Teeth & Hair" on the EveryDay chart, they are in the bathroom (hopefully! LOL!).  So while they are in there, I have this chart posted on the back of the bathroom door.  Here are their bathroom chores:

Brush teeth, Put brush & paste in drawer, Wash out the Sink, Brush your hair, Put dirty laundry & towels in the basket, Close the Closet doors, Flush the Toilet and Close the Lid, Close the shower curtain, Make sure there are hand towels handing neatly. 

Referring back to the EveryDay Chart, the chore after "Brushing Teeth" (which we could also sneakily call "Cleaning the Bathroom"), is "Make Your Bed". So they head to their bedroom (which they all share). This is the chart that hangs in their bedroom:

Get Dressed, Dirty Clothes in the Basket, Hang up clean clothes, Close dresser drawers, Make your bed, Close the curtains on your bed (they have bunk-beds with curtains), Put books away, Close the Closet, Take dirty clothes to the laundry room

Even my 5 year old (who was 4 when we started this chart), knows what every picture means and which order to do his chores in.  It's not that huge of a deal if they go in a different order, but the routine of it all seems to help them remember to get it all done.

And, yes... I still have to get after them to keep going.  Especially the 5 and 6 year old who seem to always be off in their own little world. :)  Will is going to be 10 next month and he just zips on through.

What chores do you have your children do? What kind of system works for your family?

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Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of Classical Conversations

The boys and I attended our first Classical Conversations classes today.  Each of them are in a different class. I'm actually excited about that since they will all have an opportunity to have their own time away from their brothers.

I stayed in Nathan's class to help the tutor today.  What a fun morning! It was so much fun to watch them soak up information like little sponges! Mid-class, one of the boys started talking about how Neil Armstrong had just died.  These boys (1st & 2nd graders) start having an intelligent conversation about Neil Armstrong!  I was just so impressed!

After morning classes were over, the consensus was unanimous: They all had a BLAST!

On the way home, I hear from the back seat (sung to the tune of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious")

Kingdom, Phylum, Class and Order, Family, Genus, Species  :)

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Witt Wants to Read

So on the very first day of school, Witt is up at his normal 6:15am.  As Jeff and I are eating breakfast before he leaves for work, Witt announces that he wants to learn to read.  As far as I know he has never even put together 3-letter words, so I get out the Fishy Phonics card game.

Basically, the card game is set up to where you are supposed to ask if the other player has a word that starts with a letter. However, he wanted to READ... not just pick a letter. So I asked him what the first sound was... then the second...and then the third. He put them all together and was so pleased with himself!!

He read the WHOLE DECK while Jeff and I finished breakfast!

"Mama, can I read now?"

"Yes, Baby. You sure can!!!"

As his brothers woke up, he proudly shared that he could now read! :) What an exciting morning for him!

Oh, and later in the week we began using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and he completed 17 lessons within two days!

First week of Kindergarten was a SUCCESS! :)

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School

Well, we've started our third year of homeschooling! This year I (formally) have THREE students! Witt is in Kindergarten, Nathan in 1st, and William is a 4th grader! 

I must admit the past week has been a bit of a challenge.  They each learn so differently.  Will is more independent and driven by the clock and break-time; Nathan is pretty laid-back but will say he only likes math, and Witt is surprisingly quite the perfectionist (he gets upset when he doesn't do it as well as he wants to).

We are beginning our first year of Classical Conversations. I think this is going to suite each of the boys very well, but in different ways as well.  Will loves facts and CC is a fact-memorizing giant! :)  Nathan is extremely mechanical and hands-on, but he also extremely silly! He is really going to enjoy the hand-motion portion of the memorizing and I think he's going to be smitten with the science labs.  Witt is my little social man... and my singer.  He's going to love the songs and all the conversations! 

Beyond CC, not too much has changed in our daily line-up of curriculum choices; however, we have had quite a successful addition this year: a personal journal! All three of them are loving it!! 

Will writes about his day (facts & tangibles), and of course, he draws trains.

Nathan's journal is filled with "I wish" statements (my little dreamer!).

Witt, although he loves it, has trouble each day deciding what to draw because he wants to get it just right...note all the eraser marks! (Bless his sweet, little heart!)

I love these boys! Even though they sure can try my patience, I adore them. I am so blessed to have the opportunity of teaching them for another year.

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