Category Archives: Chores

Not back to school 2017

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I was so happy to sleep in a bit with the kids today, instead of waking up at hours that nightowls (like myself) scowl at. We had a slow morning. I made french toast for breakfast for those who wanted it. The kids played and watched tv.

Hailey has been really into Pokémon again these past few weeks. She’s always loved Pokémon, but other interests take a back seat for a bit while other interests come to the forefront for a while. Shes been trying to unlock all the extras on Pokémon Y DS game. We chattes about that often throughout the day.

The kids all played various games together. At one point, I asked if they wanted to help me put away laundry. They ran around pretending to be wolves and putting the clothes in their rooms.

Hailey made herself a snack of peanut butter and bananas while I made lunch for everyone.

Hailey for ready to head to her martial arts class. When I picked her up we went to the store for a few things.

Back at home, we read some library books and ate ice cream.

That was our first day not back to school!

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Unschooling Today 4/24/17

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Today is my Mom’s birthday, The kids woke up excited to celebrate her. After breakfast, the kids got to work on cards for Grandma. Hailey decided to turn her card into a book. She taped paper together and got to work. She wrote the first three pages on her own, trying her best to sound out the words and spell them on her own, and drawing pictures to go with it. Her hand grew tired, so she asked if I could write the rest while she told me what to write. When it was finished, it was a great book with a thoughtful story about a bee celebrating his birthday. My favorite part is when he went to a restaurant and ate pollen pizza pockets.

 

Next it was time to bake a cake. I knew I had the ingredients to bake a chocolate cake, but I had to figure out how to make it vegan and come up with a vegan frosting. My youngest is intolerant to both, and while we hope he grows out of it, we wanted him to enjoy cake today! So we looked up some recipes and got to work. Elijah loves to help me in the kitchen and quickly took his place as sous chef. We got the cake bake, and tweaked a frosting recipe to make it more to Grandma’s liking.

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We are in the process of buying a house, so I am starting to pack little by little. While the kids played, I packed a box and went through some junk drawers.

Papa came home shortly after. While I was outside drawing with chalk with Winter, Grandma arrived. The kids ran to show her the gifts they had made. Hailey was so excited for Grandma to read her book. Elijah explained his birthday picture he drew. Then we all went inside to sing happy birthday and eat cake! The cake turned out rich and chocolaty.

After Grandma left, I got dinner in the oven. Elijah was playing on his tablet and Hailey was looking for something to do. I asked her if she would like to help me with dishes and I got a excited “sure!”. I washed, she rinsed and dried. She said she was pretending we worked in a restaurant and we were the dishwashers.  She took on a Texan accent and complained about the boss. We got all the dishes washed together.

After dinner, Papa was studying, so I took the kids into the bedroom to read some new library books. I read one, then Hailey asked to read the next, and then she read the last one, while Elijah repeated the words so he felt like he was reading too. Then teeth got brushed and the littles ready for bed.

How was your day?

Kids and chores

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I see many posts on the internet that revolve around chores, usually questions or advice about how to get kids to do chores. This is not one of those posts. I don’t have a magic solution that will get kids to want to help clean the house. I wanted to share how things work in out house right now. Keep in mind that my kids are still very young at 5, 3, and 3 months old at the time of this writing. My assumption is that things will change as they grow and life changes.

I am one of those people that really hates things being messy. I feel chaotic when my house feels chaotic. I don’t need everything to be spotless or completely organized, but I feel more at peace when my kitchen is not filled with dishes, my trash is not overflowing, and the floors are not obviously in need of a thorough sweeping. Those are my basics, yours might be different. I have learned to let go many of the countless other chores that could be done to make my house look like it could be on the cover of a magazine. If I didn’t let go of the dusting, and cleaning of the windows and mirrors (this gets done very rarely), and the nooks and cranny’s, my life would feel a lot less peaceful. My fridge does not get cleaned often enough, my closets really need organized, I close my eyes half the time in the basement, and I have about given up on mopping my kitchen due to the inevitable spill that immediately happens afterward. If that sounds gross, sorry not sorry. I have better things to do than spend the majority of my day cleaning. Those things get done, just not often, and usually with help from my husband.

So now that you understand a bit more about me, I should say that I do not make my kids clean. They do not have assigned chores. Does this mean that they never clean or pick up after themselves? Not at all. My oldest is very good at throwing away trash after she is done, enjoys helping me put away dishes, or picking up the toys. My 3 year old helps me clean dishes everyday. Does he get them clean? No, but they have a positive association in his mind. He also loves to help me sweep the floors, change the laundry and put it away, and take out the trash.

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Right now, when they chose to help clean it is kind of fun for them. I have always tried to make cleaning up a game, or we sing, or put on music. My 5 year old now makes it a game on her own. She created a Pokémon clean up game in which she pretends to be a Pokémon to help clean. Some Pokémon are fast cleaners, and others are very slow. Some can only do a few things before they need to be called back. She goes through stages that she wants to play this game daily. Another game she created is one she calls “ninja tasks”. She is a ninja and asks for tasks to complete. Some of these are clean up tasks, others are little challenges or obstacles.

I have walked into the bathroom to find her wiping things down. I have gotten up from laying the baby down for a nap to find the living room looking more tidy. She tells me she does those things because she loves me and wanted to help. This doesn’t happen often, but is always a nice surprise.

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My only tactic for cleaning and chores is modeling. I try to model cleaning happily. I do that by not pressuring myself to do to much. I try not to talk about how much I hate doing laundry or mopping. I try not to get frustrated when an accidental mess is made, or a project is messy. And I am honest when I need to get something cleaned up before I can do the next thing. That is the way we do it, and it works for us.

Saying Yes

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I believe in saying “yes” as often as possible. In reality that does not always feel easy. Look at this picture for example. Here my two oldest wanted to wash dishes together. A no would have been an easy thing to say. I thought of lots of reasons to say no, but when I really considered the reasons why, none of them were good enough.

“No, it would be too messy and water will get everywhere.” It did. Water was all over the place. It was pretty easy to clean up. And I showed my daughter how to point the sprayer downward and she really tried to keep it in the sink.

“No, you can’t waste the dish soap.” To them it was not a waste at all. Besides, what is a $2 bottle of dish soap compared to the fun they were having?

So, I said yes. And my daughter said “I wanted to wash dishes for you. I know you love clean dishes. You can take the day off.” Such a sweet thought. Saying yes allowed her to show me her love for me. Saying yes gave her an opportunity to take enjoyment in a typically mundane chore. Saying yes facilitated a feeling of accomplishment and pride in their work and ability to contribute to the household.

It was worth the mess. It was worth the “wasted” soap. It was worth the less than clean dishes that will have to be washed again. It was just worth