With the beginning of June upon us, a significant number of families will have different schedules and many hours to invest in activities other than school. The summer months afford us an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate children’s chore assignments and teach them new chore skills. It is also helpful to develop a schedule so we can accomplish all that is a priority for the summer.
When we assign our children chores, we don’t want to have to redo the chore plan until the following summer when we once again have the time to tackle it. During the summer my homeschooling hours are freed up for other projects and redoing the chore assignments will be at the top of the list.
We are particularly interested in evaluating whether older children are ready to learn some new chores while passing on a few of their well-practiced ones to younger siblings. It is also the chance to trade older-children jobs around so that each child learns every chore, becoming accomplished in it. Remember from the Holly Homemaker series having a clean home is only a part of why chores are important to us. We also want our children to learn skills that will facilitate their adult years. If a child knows how to clean the bathroom but not how to do the laundry, then we haven’t done our job as parents.
Scheduling Chore Time
Since revising the chore assignments is important to me, I put it into a summer schedule. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We know that many who use schedules decide to eliminate the schedule for the summer, and that’s fine if that is the family’s choice. However, we have regularly heard from families who make that decision, but then are disappointed with their summer. Why are they disappointed?
They are disappointed because the activities that they planned to do and that were a priority for their summer weeks didn’t end up being accomplished. The children fussed and bickered with each other because of the lack of direction in their days. The time seemed to be filled with chaos, disorganization, and frustration. The family looks back over their summer days with dissatisfaction rather then the sense of fulfillment they were looking forward to in the beginning. After a summer with these results, they decide to return to a summer schedule the following year.
There are many things one can put into a summer schedule. It is helpful to begin the scheduling process by a family discussion and planning time. What are the priorities for family time and individual time?
If the family is homeschooling, summer allows us to do two or three hours of homeschooling a day while still leaving much of the day for other activities. With those two or three hours, the children’s day is more easily filled productively. Younger children will maintain the reading and math skills they are just beginning to learn. Older children can work ahead for the upcoming school year, which means there can be more flexibility in the normal school schedule. If a child had difficulty in an area or a subject, emphasis can be placed on that. Perhaps there are studies that simply haven’t fit into the school schedule because of higher school-time priorities. Summer will nicely accommodate those studies while still leaving plenty of hours for non-school related activities.
Organizing During the Summer
Maybe there is household organizing and cleaning to be taken on during the summer. Time can be placed into the schedule for that. Organizing fits well even into a half hour or an hour time slot. For many years when my children were younger, I did all my major cleaning and organizing tasks during a short little half hour each summer day. I gave one of the older children the responsibility of playing with his younger siblings for that half hour. I kept a running list through the rest of the year of projects and cleaning that were too time consuming for my normal daily schedule. Those were what I worked on during that half hour in the summer. I was always delightedly amazed at all I could get done when I applied myself for just one half hour a day. Not only can Mom get her de-junking accomplished, but the older children can as well.
In the schedule, we put in time for me to make us the new chore system and to implement it. After making the chore assignments, it will take my time to teach the older children their new jobs. If I have it as part of the daily schedule, I am most likely to actually get it done. The older children can teach the younger children the chores that they are handing down to them, but again, there needs to be time set aside in the schedule to do this.
It is also helpful to me to check the children’s daily chores until they become proficient at what they are doing. When I used to try to work the checking into an open spot in the day, I usually didn’t. However, when I started putting “check chores” as a short time block on my schedule, I became successful in the consistency that was important.
We want our children learning how to work, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Proverbs 20:11). “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27). Summer days give me the time to invest in their lives by working out the chore system, teaching the children how to do their chores, and then holding them accountable for what they did. Without the hours of homeschooling, my summer days maintain a more relaxed pace so that I have the freedom to spend in this beneficial pursuit.
Perhaps a summer schedule and a redefined chore system sounds like something you would want to see as a part of your summer but you don’t know where to start or how to go about it. We have two resources available to help you. Managers of Their Homes gives information and step-by-step-directions for setting up a daily schedule. If you would like to implement a successful chore system, we would suggest Managers of Their Chores as a tool to help you in that direction. We want to encourage you to ensure that you have something to show for your summer weeks and do not arrive at September with discouragement. Perhaps a summer schedule and a revised chore system will help you toward that goal.