This post is not going to make an argument for chores. I’m going to assume that your children do chores — or, at the very least, you wish they did. I’ve talked about my chore system in a variety of places, so this post is going to serve as a one-stop shop for the chore solutions that work for our family. There are, of course, millions of other ways to assign, organize, and execute chores. This is what I like to do, and it just might give you some helpful ideas.
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I assign chores by not assigning them. Now, this doesn’t work for really small children, because early on there are limited age-appropriate chores. When we had two-year-olds, they always put the clean silverware away. This sort of chore was the perfect match for their abilities.
But around ages 7 or 8, depending on maturity, my children were ready to graduate to The Chore Store (this is only fun, by the way, if you have more than one child competing for the chores). Allowing them to choose their jobs in a more creative manner encourages initiative and keeps attitudes about chores more positive.
Here is my video describing The Chore Store:
We do our annual chore switch at the very beginning of summer. This is important because I can more easily train chores when I am not teaching school lessons. This also gives us all summer to figure out if a chore was poorly assigned. There was a time when I had to do a second chore store when I realized the child that had chosen vacuuming was actually too little to do it — it wasn’t done well, but more importantly the chore was wearing him out completely! There was no way having him so fatigued would have been good for his school day, so we did another store, and switched around choresto fix the problem.
Getting Chores Done
During the school year, my children’s chores are listed on their weekly spreadsheets right along with their school assignments. This makes it easy for me to hold everyone accountable — I can check assignments and chores all at once!
During the summer, we used to have issues. Our summer mornings were often wasted because there was no deadline on the chores. My children delayed chores longer and longer, and at 10 or even 11 I was still
nagging reminding them to finish their work. I thought we’d all enjoy the mornings more if we finished chores quickly and had truly free time on our hands.
There were also other things I wanted to see them do on an average day — things like practicing math facts or keeping up a language.
So, using Microsoft Excel (my beloved spreadsheet program), I whipped up these tickets, printed them on cardstock (when printed, they don’t have lines — but I know that some of you like to see the spreadsheet lines so you know how it’s formatted, which is why they appear this way above), and laminated them with packing tape. This way, we can reuse them day after day — boxes can be marked off using whiteboard markers.
The children keep their tickets at the dining room table. Each morning, they Do The Things until they are done, turning the tickets in to me in exchange for free time. That’s why I chose a sun with a clock on it.
I used to waste time on summer mornings, too, so I made myself a ticket the first year I did this. I don’t turn it in to get free time (because we all know I have more to do than what is on the card). But I do have to check all the boxes before I get a cup of coffee. Hence the coffee cup.
A couple summers ago, exercise fell through the cracks more than I’d like. By making it a morning priority (as part of my morning routine), I hope to build better habits that will serve me well during the school year.
Want to make some tickets?
Fill out this form to get an editable template file. (You’ll only be able to use it if you have Microsoft Excel or some way of opening and editing an .xlsx file.)
Want to make your own tickets?
Use this editable .xlsx file to get started!
Any Other Chores?
Why, yes, actually. I used to have “special chore of the day” on their tickets. I didn’t hand one out every day — more like a couple times per week — but this managed expectations. These days, however, I’m using my Job Board system instead. This is just a simple white board on which I write jobs that are available and the price I will pay to have them done. Children come to me to claim jobs, do them. I inspect before they collect and then we wipe the job off the board. Simple!
Also, there are DISHES. The dreaded dishes. Everyone has dish assignments and they have them memorized because we rarely change them.
A Video on Setting Up Summer for Success!
I recorded this as a Facebook Live in 2017, but the details still apply — especially about how the ticket system prevents nagging. 🙂
A Video on Getting Chores Done During the School Year
Because I know you’ll probably ask, I thought I’d also share this video that I recorded this past school year, which details why I put chores into our Charlotte Mason homeschool schedule:
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