Children's Chores

I am a firm believer that kids need to do work around the house. My husband fervently believes that and is constantly evaluating if the kids are doing enough around the house. One of the reasons it is so important for kids to do work around the house is that it helps them to feel connected and part of the family. There are books on foster care and adoption that tell the new family to get the child immediately involved in jobs around the house. This is one avenue that helps the child feel that he belongs to this family.

Another reason I firmly adhere to dividing jobs up amongst the children is that it helps deal with the selfish nature children naturally have when they are born. Having to do jobs for the family helps them to realize that they are not the only people in the world. So, while I expect each of my kids to have their room cleaned and picked up, I expect them to help out in areas that have nothing to do with them at all.

When we homeschooled we had what we called Room of the Day for each of the kids. They each were assigned a room that they were to make sure was picked up and cleaned up everyday. They also were given jobs that they did in that room each day of each week. (Mondays – dusting, Tuesday – vacuuming etc.) I LOVED this system! I loved starting our school day with the entire house clean and tidy – all accomplished in less than 20 minutes. However, with our new routine and going to school this has not been able to be kept in our morning schedule. In the afternoons I do the room of the day by myself. To insure that the house stays half way picked up we have the kids take anything upstairs that is theirs on their way up after family devotions. With my kids being gone almost 10 hours out of each day, I have found that my house stays pretty well maintained on it’s own.

We still wanted to maintain that they have jobs that they did that served the family. With the limited time home that left us with kitchen cleanup after the dinner time meal. We have dived all the jobs up into three sections: Washer / Dryer / Cleanup. Each child has one job for the entire week. Jobs change on Monday and the checklist for each job is located on the refrigerator in the kitchen.

Put Away any dry dishes in the drainer
Wash Dishes
Rinse out sink
Wipe off Counters
Wipe off Stove
Empty and Fill up water container from fridge
Empty Trash
Take Recycle items down to the recycle bin in the laundry room

Clear off the place settings on the table ( use the dish bin under the sink to save steps and dishes) Dry Dishes
Put dishes away
Hang towel up on the stove handle
Rinse out drying side of the sink
Shine entire sink
Fill up water bottles and put in door of fridge for School
Bring in lunch boxes from mudroom / set on counter

Clear off all food items from table
Put leftovers in containers ( see if mom wants you to put any in small container for lunch tomorrow)
Wipe off every chair
Wipe off table
Take chairs in front room
Vacuum entire kitchen
Return chairs to proper place
Set table for breakfast

I do desire to have the younger kids involved in the jobs; but at this time it just is not conducive to the flow of things to try to have that happen. I do have Zak and Anna help me in the kitchen in the afternoon as I wash dishes and prepare for dinner.

I pack the lunches and get things ready for the next day after they kids get the kitchen jobs done. I do an inspection at that time. If a certain person’s jobs do not pass inspection and have not been done correctly, they loose their reading time before bed and have to do the job correctly during that time. This allows me to not be frustrated that there is not enough time in the schedule for them to come back and do the job right. They also all love their reading time – so it helps to have an incentive for them to make sure that they do the job right.

In the morning at our house we have what we call ‘Sunshine Chores’. These are the chores they do as soon as they get up every morning – (when the sun is coming up- hence; their name). Each of the kids do the same chores all having to do with getting around in the morning. The older kids have been doing these chores since before they could read. I made 3x5 cards with stick figure drawings of the certain tasks they were to do. When they finished these tasks they would turn the card on their ring and do the next card. (When the Maxwell’s came out with their system I was amazed at how mine was similar to theirs – only without the technology and my drawings were a bit more… ‘homey’.

Spurgeon Kids’ Sunshine Chores

Get up
Make Bed
Get Dressed
Hang up Pj’s
Put dirty clothes into hamper
Comb Hair
Turn out Light
Find Mom

Even three weeks into school and Zak has his Sunshine chores down pat. Now, he does require someone – me – to stand there and make sure he moves to the next task. He has this habit of getting hopelessly sidetracked! His little detours are very funny – if I got to bed on time and feel rested in the morning. If it was a late night – I find his little detours a bit grating. God has had me confessing my impatience to Him while a little 7 year old is looking at the dust under his bed and asking odd questions at 5:45 in the morning! Glad God is up and ready to listen!!

What routines do you find helpful in keeping your family on task?

Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you did!



Birthday Boy

Happy Birthday to Zak today! I can not imagine our lives without him! He has taught me so much about life and love. Truly he is a gift from God.

Happy Birthday, Zak. We love you.

After School Routine

Our afternoon routine does not start until about an hour after school has let out because of the long drive home. Last year we would try to cram in study time in the van on the way home. That did not work out too well. For one thing, some of the children get sick reading in the car. Also, we found that they would like to talk about their day and the noise of conversation in such close quarters bothered the child trying to study or read. I also found the vehicles to be messier and the chances of leaving things in the car greater when they had all their books out on the ride home.

Towards the end of last year, and now this year, we have decided to have the ride home be a relaxing time. There are many times when we will look back and see one of the kids taking a snooze on the way home. Making this time a bit more relaxing has seemed to help the overall spirit of the kids when they get home. Their arrival home is around 4:15; but because that can vary from day to day the afternoon schedule does not start until 4:30.

4:30 – Exercise/Play time
5:00 – Dinner as a Family
5:40 – Older Kids – cleanup jobs / Younger kids – mat time / Mom and Dad – take a walk 6:00 – Kids – Music Practice ( Anna sits by Abbey while she practices cello, Zak by Rachel during violin practice) Mom makes lunches for the next day
6:30 – Older Kids – Homework time / Younger Kids – Bath time with Mom
7:00 – Younger Kids – Bed time / Older kids – Mandatory Desk Time *
8:15- Family Devotions
8:30 – Kids – Reading time ( can not come back downstairs) Mom and Dad – Pray together & prep for the next day
9:00 – Kids – Lights out!

*During mandatory desk time the older kids have to be sitting at their desks doing homework. They are not allowed to talk or to get up from their desk. During the hour, however, we do have each of them with a scheduled time in the bathroom for their shower and bedtime prep. When it is their time to get around for the night they come down quietly without talking and do their bedtime routine in the bathroom. This way the house is completely quiet for the little ones to get to sleep. Also, this is when Dad does most of his study time and he is busy in his office writing lessons or studying. I am able then to read a book and have some quiet time for myself. I find I need this time in order to be able to get settled down for the night.

We are pretty big sticklers on the kids getting to bed on time. We do tell the kids that they are allowed about 2 or 3 nights out of the school year when we will allow them to pull a later night. They are able to choose those nights based on their homework load. We find that with the early morning – they only take those when they absolutely have to have the extra time for work.

We have established the rule that dinner time is fun time. If there have been problems at school that we need to deal with, we do not deal with them at the table. (This is sometimes really hard for Rob and I!) We try to make sure that we have the conversation at the table be fun and relaxing. We also very rarely need the entire 40 minutes; but the extra time allows us to be able to sit and talk if we need to; and lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere around the table.

Next time, I will be posting about routine jobs and chores we have for the kids around the house. I am curious as to other’s after school routine. The thing that most interests me is the bedtime others have for their children. What time do your kids get to bed on a school night?

Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did.

Our Morning Schedule

This is our morning schedule. Three weeks into the school year and it has been a great blessing to us!

4:45- Mom - Up/ Shower /Ready for Day

Kids- Sleeping

5:15 - Mom - God and I Time

Kids - Still sleeping :)

5:45- Mom - Supervise Zak doing sunshine chores

James- set food out on table

Girls - ready for day ( Abbey gets Anna around for her day)

6:00- Mom - Pack lunch boxes

Zak and Anna - help Mom

Older Kids - continue getting ready

6:15 - Breakfast / Wash personal dishes / brush teeth

6:30 - All Kids - God and I Time *

Mom - Do dinner prep (crock pot) brush teeth, pour coffee for the road

6:50 - Everyone- prep to leave / head out to the van

7:00-Pull out of the driveway being careful on Monday not to take out the trash can ( a normal event last year - every Monday - - I am all for changes! :)

* All the older kids do their God and I time in their rooms. Zak and Anna sit on the couch in the front room and listen to the Bible on CD or a preaching CD for their God and I time.

This is our routine in the mornings. It has been working beautifully. I wish that I could get the kids more time for their God and I time; but with living so far out, and having to leave so early, that is not possible. Rob and I figure that 20 minutes consistently is better than 45 minutes hit and miss. I take consolation in that fact!

Breakfast is pretty quick; but we do have a no talking rule during the breakfast time. That way it keeps things moving and also allows for me to go over the day with them if there is anything I need to talk with them about. Having each of the kids wash their own dishes from breakfast saves me quite a bit of time. I do wash my own and Zak and Anna's dishes.

Trust the start to your new school year is going well. It does not matter if we send our kids to school, or make the choice to homeschool them - every child will benefit from a routine each morning.

Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did!



School Schedule

We are in the midst of the third week of school. A school year with a lot of difference than school years we have had before. For one thing, Zak is starting school this year - that is extremely different. Secondly, Rachel has been sick and we are uncertain as to how she is going to do with the new school schedule.

There have been some bumps along the way. Rob and I have spent more than one evening discussing how we can make the schedule better and things run more efficiently. These brain storming sessions are filled with ideas - some that work - some that won't.

Our goal as a family is to accomplish all that we need to. Have a peaceful well ordered home that reflects Christ to those who enter. We also want to make sure that we are accomplishing God's will for our lives. It is so easy with the busyness of our lives to get wrapped up in self and the things we need to do; that we forget about other people outside of our home.

We have established a schedule and a routine for this school year that I wanted to post about. Not because it works for everyone - because it won't. Not to brag - because there are days that are totally chaotic and you will find me frustrated and complaining to my husband about my day. There are two reasons I wanted to post about our schedule. First, for the purpose of edification. Sometimes just hearing other people's ideas helps us to be able to think outside of our box and find a plan that will work for us. This was the very reason I entered the blogging world. I was in the midst of a very lonely and discouraging time God led me to some blogs of mothers, homemakers and homeschoolers that helped me see that I was not the only one. The blog sits edified me in the life work that God had called me to.

The second reason I wanted to blog about our schedule is for me to have a point of reference. I do look back in my archives and read. I want to have recorded, for my use, our schedule. Thus, I can look back years from now at my online journal and read about what we were doing that year.

I will be posting the next few days about our schedule and routines. If you are interested in the subject and find you could use help in this area I have listed some links that have been of tremendous value to me in that area. I trust they can help you as well. If you do not have children - or have this area down pat - I trust you will not be bored by the following posts. :)

God wants us to be people of order. It is obvious to me how much Satan wants that principle destroyed in the home! If Satan can have our homes in a state of confusion he has accomplished so many things on so many fronts. I also know from personal experience that Satan fights this area hard. He knows that order and routine free us to serve the Lord completely. I trust you are able to find order and routine in your family life.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did!!

Perhaps the most invaluable site for home school families. Teri Maxwell gives and honest account of her life and how routine and order have helped her. Any of their planning notebooks are worth the money! I recommend their time management above anything else out there for homeschooler. However, their time management planning and schedule can help anyone with children - homeschooling or not!!

Lindsay has a lot of great ideas about home and order. Here is one of them. I think you will enjoy her site:

I have used flylady and her ideas in my home for years. This is a great place to get started if you are struggling with a clean home! Flylady really helped me get a handle on the housework concepts.

I would love for you to share any links that have helped you in this area of order and routine in your home!

See you back here tomorrow - I have it on my schedule. :)



These eyes melt my heart...

and take my resolve and ability to say no to a lower level...

Alas, this one has Momma wrapped tightly around her little finger!

My Wish

Today, I begin my last year being in my thirties. The very last one. The last part of the hill just before me.

I wonder where the time has gone. Too fast that is for sure. I guess I am surprised at just how different I feel this year. Birthdays usually come upon me and leave me a bit introspective. Thinking about the things I accomplished in the last year; but mostly thinking about what I want to accomplish in the year before me.

This year is different.

It's been a different year. A year of changes. A year of adjustments. A year of trials. A year of blessings. I find myself looking back at the year and being amazed at how much has happened. There has been a lot.

Perhaps though, the things that have taken place in the past few months have caused my perspective to be different this birthday. I am not looking ahead towards accomplishments and to do lists. I am finding myself looking at who I am as a person.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about who I am and want I want to be. Not do. Not accomplish. Just be.

*More thankful.

*Less driven.

*A person who notices the little things.

*More gracious to others.

*Less judgmental.

*Close to God.

*A servant of others.

*More like Christ - less like me.

*God focused.

*Attentive to the needs of those around me.

*Giver of myself and my things to help others.

*A friend to my husband.

*A praying mother for my children.


*Not bitter.

*More like Christ - less like me.

*A mother to neglected and unwanted children.

*A listener.




*More like Christ - less like me.

Finish the work, Lord. Make me like you.


Together Time

On the weekends - she is pretty excited to be able to spend some time with her best friend.
Playing. Together.

This weekend, they each found a hat to wear. Found their most comfortable play clothes; and headed to the park.

To play. Together.

He in a beret.

She - in a stocking cap. It did not matter what they looked like.

They were able to play. Together.

As it should be on weekends!

Trust you had a wonderful weekend.


Still Smilin

This was his smile the first day of school. Almost two weeks into the new year - still the same smile! I asked him last night if he would rather not go to school. His reply, "Why would you say that Mom? That is like the funnest thing I get to do all day!" A little help needed on the grammar; but with a love that deep for school - it should be able to be remedied. :)

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did!
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She came in and told me her nose hurt.
I told her I was sorry.
I finished the dishes.
She took matters into her own hands.
To Anna, a band aid heals anything!
Even a nose sore from wiping.
Kids - - you never are wanting for a good chuckle!