Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Method to My Madness

"How do I do it all?", is the question I have been asked through emails a few times, so I thought I would share the method to my madness.

First of all, I must say that I am NOT the most organized person I know, but what I am good about is trying to put things back where they belong. I have tried to have a place for almost everything, and I let everyone in the house participate. Isnt that nice of me? hehehe
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I am big on chores. All the boys have had the same chores for a long time now. These chores are extremely important in the maintaining of our home. Everyone knows what there is to do, and they are done everyday like clock work. We get up at 7am every weekday morning. The boys are required to take showers and dress for the day, dress like you are going to leave the house, because you never know. Eat breakfast and have chores done, all by 8:30am.

We then start with a relatively clean slate by the time we do our schoolwork. I do a couple loads of laundry everyday, and once a week I go crazy on the wash. The two older boys are now learning to do their own clothes, this is very helpful and they do a great job.
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The boys have been learning to cook and bake certain things by helping me in the kitchen. We have been learning alot about cooking this year in homeschooling so that when they gain independence they will know how to cook well for themselves. Now the boys are very capable of making a terrific breakfast or lunch on their own. Dinner is all mine, although sometimes they will pitch in. Most of the time we have a sit down lunch and dinner together, this gives us lots of fun time to eat and chat about the day. Lunch time we talk alot about what to do since schoolwork is normally done, and dinner is discussing with Dad about his day.

We do not pay them for their basic chores. We believe since we are a family, and we all give and take, that there is no payment required. We do, however, pay for extra chores if they are in need of some money. Cleaning the suburban, picking up trash that is blowing around outside, unloading or loading Dad's work truck, cleaning the refrigerator out, are all considered extras.

Another form of discipline for the older boys is to give them something to do that benefits us if they have been misbehaved. If they are out of line then they have to clean out the microwave, or sweep off the deck, or something that fits the crime. They are asked to think about their offense and discuss it with us afterwards to see if they are repentful. If they are not showing a change of heart we give another task. This tactic works out well, there is no sulking in their room, we keep them busy and they know that we are happy with whatever it is they are accomplishing. If they have done a great job, we compliment them, if not we have them do it again until its done right. Plus, rather then having to dole out a discipline that we dread, we have a positive outcome at the end of whatever chore they did. Its a win-win situation. We also believe that idle hands can make for trouble, so this solves that while they are mulling their crime over.

We have lots of things that we enjoy doing outside the home like sports, 4-H, church activities, library, the park, shopping, swimming, etc and so I have let the boys know that if we dont keep up with the inside we dont get to enjoy the outside.

Its a pretty smooth process now. The boys rarely have to be asked to do their chores, they know they need to be done from habit. Once in a while one boy will complain about his chores, or how someone has it easier, which after a discussion with accuser and accused they may switch, and most of the time they want to go back to previous conditions. However, I am not against changing things up if everyone is in agreement.

So I have my chores that I do, and they have chores that they do, and Dennis comes home to a clean house for the most part, unless we are into a craft or science project. Otherwise its a team effort here. I started to train the boys when they were young though. I didn't start this pattern late in the game. It's much tougher to accomplish if you have been waiting on them hand and foot and then require chores. Then they feel abused. We hand out compliments generously around here, slaps on the back, tossling hair, kisses on the forehead, we really let the boys know we think they are amazing and a huge blessing and help. Since the boys are all home everyday its important that we all do our parts so that we dont feel like we live in chaos, and honestly it works beautifully.


jencc said...

Trina! You are one amazing woman! I wonder, though, how you go through the other subjects like math, history, english? What materials do you use? And yes, I did read about Abram's birthday! Belated happy birthday to him, and I hope he's a lot better now. We're having a party of Paul in the park on Saturday.

Renee said...

That sounds like a great system, Trina! It's what I strive for with my girls . . and the boy too one day.

Neurotic Mom said...

You are amazing, want to come help me get organized?

Trina said...

Jen: We use Saxon and Math-U-See for Math; Understanding Writing for English; We use the Dummy and Idiot Books for different subjects in History and Science. They LOVE those books!! For spelling and grammar we use Natural Speller. We have lots of books Jen, some we just dabble in though. I do not run my homeschooling like a public school. We learn about whatever interests each of the boys. Nothing is off limits.

Renee: Its taken us awhile to figure out what really works, somethings have failed for sure, but this has been a beautiful system where all is happy.

Neurtoic Mom: Oh my...Organization is in the eye of the beholder...hehehe

Anonymous said...

Well that does sound like you have quite the finely oiled machine there. Almost like an assembly line. Speaking of assembly lines I always wondered -What happens if somebody has to go to the bathroom? I mean, who covers their part until they get back? Does someone do double time or is the whole thing simply shut down? I don't know..Just alittle food for thought.

Trina said...

anonymous: Well that is food for thought..lol You will be happy to know that we do allow potty breaks here..hehehe

momto3blessings said...

You have a wonderful system. You have to have some sense of organizations with that many family members or it would be utter chaos all the time.

WriteWingNut said...

I wish I was that organized!

We use all Abeka. My oldest (who is in tenth grade) does their video correspondence course.

Mel said...

Very admirable!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sis! Your doing a great job with all your boys! I'm so proud of my little sister and all you do!

Teresa Gail

Trina said...

momblessings: It surely would be chaos, we've had our chaotic moments and it ain't pretty. LOL

writewingnut: Oh you use Abeka for 10th grade, I haven't met someone doing that for that level. How do you like it? Thats great. Our oldest is using American Schools

Mel: Not really admirable, but thanks!

Sis: You know, I love how much you love me...hehehe

Pirate said...

Man there just wouldn't or couldn't be any other way. You have to teach them and teach them well or they never leave home. Good job mom and I bet dad too.

Kelly said...

Wow. So I'm not as looney as people think! I also have 5 kids, and I approach things pretty much the same way you do. Plenty of people think I'm outrageous for requiring my little ones to do chores (with no pay-HA!), and MY rule is "If it doesn't have a home, make one or trash it!" It keeps the clutter down. I even have my kids folding and putting away clothes! It helps for them to have this domestic knowledge for when Mama's sick, and for when they're older. You know how many boys out there can't iron a shirt? Crazy! My boys can change diapers, fold laundry and wash dishes. And that's just SOME of the "domestic" stuff. They're already learning "manly" chores from their Dad. It's all good!

Love your blog! It's nice to know that I'm not alone! LOL!

Mike said...

You're a very organized lil chicky!

Heh, heh...I said chicky.


jeneflower said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Over time I realized that, like you said, if they kids always have the same jobs to do everyday it works out much better than trying to rotate jobs.

That is a good idea to give them something we need done as a punishment (instead of a time out or lost TV time or something). I think I will try that!

jeneflower said...

I think I have at least one or two typos in every comment I leave. Sorry!

Trina said...

Pirate: You are so right about Dad pitching in, he is the backbone to all of this.

Kelly: Chores are a good thing. Everything needs to be balanced. Work-Play/discipline-tons of love!Thanks for stopping by too!

Mike: lol...VERY organized??? This chicky would say, "Not Really."

Jen: Yeah try it and let me know how it works for you. BTW typos are no big deal on this blog. I have noticed them on my posts as well, we are all friends around here...keep the comments coming!

Denise JoAnn said...

Great job, Trina. I like it that everyone gets up at a required time and showers and dresses appropriately by 8:30. It seems to me that on the one day I am not dressed for company they will just pop in. That is so frustrating.

Sonya said...

Trina..sometimes i feel a liitle crazy in my life with the 3 boys .we have a system here called daily duties.each boy rotates duties every day.kitchen duty,bathroom duties and then outside duties.it works very well.they also do not get paid for their daily duty however they too get money for extra things.keeping our home running smoothley helps keep everyone sane.i still need to get you those pictures of our home we still have about 2 feet of snow!!love ya.Sonya

Sonya said...

the one thing we do not do is iron I read your blog, kelli.hehe In fact one day my youngest son came home from schooland said mom do we have one of those things........ummmmmmm what things i replied i think it gets wrinkles out of clothes.how much do we truley need ironed clothes in Alaska?heheh

Nicki said...

Thanks for sharing these things, Trina! We apply some of these things to our family life too and it makes life so much easier.