This past summer I wrote a series called Early Grammar Stage Focus. In it, I took a close look at the article 10 Things To Do With Your Child Before Age 10 from Trivium Pursuit and challenged myself to do better in the areas that they highlight. It is been a few months, and school is in full swing, so I want to check back in and see how I have done in each of the areas. Every few weeks I will re-visit one of the 10 topics, so come back for more!
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.
Today we are going to re-visit the subject of Work and Service. If you didn't see the original post in the summer, or just need a refresher, take a minute to go read it first.
In the original post, we talked about needing to instill in our children (and ourselves!) a love for working and serving. This is a big deal in our house and we have continued to work on it since we first talked about it in the summer. Here are the goals that I had set at that time:
- 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
First I'll talk about the easy successes =) Mackenzie is a great worker and is really quite good at what she does. It has been easy to formally include her in the chore process. She is amazing at folding towels, so that something that she often does. I have made a few versions of "Daily Tasks" charts this year, and a few chores are always included on that (with an extra option of earning a coin for doing another chore after the mandatory ones are done). Honestly, if we are not home all day, we don't usually get to doing everything on our task chart and that sometimes includes the chores. I'm really not worried about it.
Typically, each day the kids need to tidy their rooms and make their beds, clear the kitchen table (Mackenzie clears the floor and Trevor clears the top) one time, and do one other chore. That chore rotates each day and might be something like dusting, collecting garbage, wiping bathroom walls/doors, etc. We set the timer for 5 minutes and they try to work diligently until it goes off =)
The problem we are still working on is the diligence and desire part. There is an awful lot of grumbling going on around here. I try to explain that if it gets done quickly, it would only take about 10 minutes of their day total and then they would be free to do whatever! Hopefully we will continue to get better at being good helpers. If anyone has any ideas for training in this area, I'd love to hear them!
We are also working on the service area. We start by trying to remember to serve each other at home. If we are out doing something for someone else, we try to help them take the focus off of themselves and remember that we are there for the other person. Once a month we deliver food to low income elderly folks. It is a simple task, but is yet another opportunity to turn the children's attention off of themselves.
As I'm writing this, I'm thinking about how dry and boring it all sounds! I am definitely a black and white, straight and narrow kind of person. I am not emotional, rarely passionate, and I don't even need much fun =) This works fine for me, but I definitely see how I could stand to be a little different for my kids. Trevor had often complained that doing work wasn't "fun" so he didn't want to do it. I told him that all he had to do was make it fun by singing a song or making a game out of it. This has helped him, but I should definitely be more proactive in making these things more fun for them. Any ideas to help this boring ol' mom out?
Have you been working on teaching your children to be willing workers and servants? What ideas have worked for you? I'd love to hear any of your successes, failures, or ideas so we can all help each other!