Friday, June 26, 2009

Our new chore system...

This is a shoe holder from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I paid around 15.00 dollars for it with a coupon. This top 6 slots are for Isaac, the next 6 are for Micah and then the bottom 6 are for Andrew. Each pocket is double, so it holds cards in the front and then there is a pocket behind it for cards. I thought of all the chores I wanted the kids to do and for the younger ones I wrote the chore and put a picture representing the chore on the card. There is one card per chore. I then had them laminated. They are keeping their daily chore cards in their room for easy access but when they are done they go down stairs and there is a card in that day's pocket that has a smiley face on one side, and they turn it around to say they are finished with their chores for that morning. Behind that pocket they have their afternoon chore cards, which aren't nearly as many, maybe 1 or 2. They will do their chores 6 days a week so each child has 6 double pockets. So far it is working well as long as we don't' have anywhere to go in the morning. You'll notice that for the younger children, 2 of their smiley face cards aren't turned for this week because we had early morning appt's and I couldn't do their chores with them.

Right now I am totally having to be with the younger boys to implement this new system. Which is tough because it is SO hard to get out bed. I've told them not to come out of their room until 8 am. At that point they come and get me and usually the baby is still sleeping so I pull myself out of bed and into some clothes and go do chores with them. I know eventually it will pay off and they will be able to do their chores without me. Micah really thrives on this sort of thing. He likes accomplishing things. Andrew doesn't seem to really care, I have to make him do his chores.
Isaac's pockets... He got all his chores done this week because his aren't dependent on me helping him!

Here is an example of one of the little boys morning chore cards.

And here is one of Micah's afternoon cards.
If I actually follow through and have the boys do all their chores every week, morning and afternoon, the house will stay in relative order! It is so hard right now though to remember and implement a new system. But that is my goal right now before school starts. Here is sort of my plan and as long as we don't have to go anywhere we do it:
Before breakfast, morning chores.
Then the boys play and I feed Benjamin.
At some point in the morning I do three things with the boys: Sitting quietly practice. This is where I have the boys literally, just sit down and not move or talk. I started with 1 minute and we are up to 4 minutes. I will probably cap it off at about 7 minutes or so. I don't know. I guess I'll just see how it goes. The point of this is to train them to be able to do this when I'm at a doctor's appt. or something like that.
Next we play the obedience game. I tell the boys to do silly things like walk around the kitchen backwards, come back and jump three times, then put their hand on their belly. They are supposed to respond with a "Yes mam!" and then follow my instructions precisely. This is obviously to give them practice on obeying with a yes mam and listening and following instructions. They LOVE this game!
After this we sit down in a circle and we sing a few songs. I actually took out my guitar and played for us to sing "I believe in Jesus". Then I have a book called "Polite Moments" that just has little manner type lessons. Each lesson is only about 1/2 of a small page long and takes about 3 minutes to teach. So far they have learned to eat things they don't like so that they can be useful to God one day, maybe on the mission field where they have to eat things they don't like. After learning this one they practiced that night because I served squash and zucchini which they all hate. And they all ate it without complaint or difficulty! They've also learned to greet people by standing up, looking in their eyes, and saying something like, "Hello, how are you ______?" Or "Good morning _________" Last time they learned to make sure you greet people using their name, if they are your age, you use just their first name and if they are older you use Mrs. _____ or Mr. ________. These are the sort of things that I just don't really know well and I don't teach my kids well. So having this book to be a guide for me is so helpful! I really need it to teach my kids these things. And I love how the lessons are so short. I got this book from an online book company called Book Peddler.
After this I let the kids go play outside or in the basement and run off some steam. Then at some time either before lunch or after lunch I read to them. We are reading a story right now with a peculiar title, it is called "Gay-Neck, the story of a carrier pigeon". It is based in India and although the language is quite difficult at times to understand with lots of unfamiliar vocabulary the boys still enjoy it. It follows a boy and the training of his pigeon. Then we read a short missionary story from a book called "Missionary stories with the Millers". They really enjoy these stories and we are always inspired by them! After this I read them a picture book or two.
Then of course in the afternoons we always have room time which is such a sanity saver for me! Micah and Andrew play together in the playroom or their room and listen to a story on CD from your Story Hour or Jonathan Park. Isaac does a few school type assignments in his room, then reads or plays.
So that is my plan for the next 4-5 weeks. I really want to get the younger boys trained in doing their chores and also work on basic manners and obedience. Then, once we have these things down we can start school. Probably in early to mid August. Wooh-that was a lot!

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