This is part eight of my series based on the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10. To learn more about what I am doing, read my first post on Reading and Writing.
You can get this "10 things..." article plus SO much more information in the book Teaching the Trivium from the good people at Trivium Pursuit.
This week's focus is on Work and Service.
This is an area that we work diligently toward in my home. I can't say that we are anywhere near perfect at it, but we are working on it! The author of the above mentioned article starts out by saying that we need to develop a love for work and service in our children. My children are very young, but this concept seems so right! People who love to work and serve become productive members of society, are capable of running their own homes when they get on their own, and gladly help those who are in need.
The article talks in length about giving your children chores from an early age (starting as soon as one!) Obviously these are age appropriate chores starting with things like picking up toys and dirty laundry, moving to things like dusting and putting away laundry, then eventually to things like preparing meals and cleaning bathrooms. It is good for any person to feel useful, and this is a great way to accomplish this instead of the hallow notion of self-esteem (based on nothing except someone saying your are worth something).
I have written about what we do with our children before here. Basically I require Trevor to do a few chores just because he is part of our family/household and then he has the option of doing an extra chore to earn a small amount of money. Currently he is required to pick up toys in the family room and his bedroom, sort laundry and put it into the washing machine. Then I have various other chores for him to do to earn a quarter (dusting, wiping floors, using the dust buster, etc.) This is working very well for us. I find if we slip up, it is always my fault because it's easier to just do things than train the children to do them. I am seeing a great need to teach diligence to my son, who always wants to take the easy way out. That is something we definitely need to work on this coming year. To see my earlier posts on this subject, see Chores and Allowance, Chore Time, and Cleaning House.
Next, the article moves on to talking about service. Essentially service is just work for someone else's benefit, right? Service opportunities are all around us, we just have to look. A child can do a chore for a grandparent, visit with an elderly neighbor, play with an overwhelmed mother's young children to give her time to get something done, help mom make a meal for someone in need, or even do something for their sibling! This is not an area that we have purposely focused on, but we have done things as they come up. This year I would really like to focus on this more. Would it be too much to try to do some service every day? I'll have to think this over more. I'd love your input!
Goals for work and service:
- Be more consistent with Trevor's chores
- Work on diligence and instilling a love of work
- Formally start Mackenzie on chores
- Be purposeful about service
- Help grandma and grandpa
- Help someone from church
- Help a sibling
- Help a neighbor
- Service projects
See how we did with these goals in my follow up post, Work and Service Re-Visited.