homemaking

Chore Packs and More

Recently, a good friend commented and asked to hear more about the Chore Packs system that I wrote about in a previous post. This system was created by Mrs. Terri Maxwell, a homeschooling mom of eight. She has written a book called Managers of Their Chores in which she explains the importance of chores and how to use the Chore Packs system. Included with the book are four “chore packs” (see photo below), a sleeve to hold extra chore cards, and card stock to print or write the chores on. I also purchased the software, called “Chore Ware” to set up my chore packs system. The best part of the software is being able to print out picture cards for my pre-readers! I’m not an artist! 
Many moms go out and work all day while their children go to school. I’ve discovered that a house stays cleaner when no one is in it. 🙂 As a homeschooling mom – meaning I stay home and my children stay home – we are here all day. We work and play and create and learn all day long, which means we have messes along the way! I was getting bogged down by the enormity of cleaning up after my family. I would have them do jobs, but only when I asked them to, and often I wouldn’t be able to think of everything that needed to be done at one time. I ended up asking them to do things all day long! I have tried homemade charts and other purchased chore systems, but they never worked consistently. I had to stay on top of the kids to see that they didn’t get distracted during chore time. Or, we would lose the parts or pieces to the other systems. Keeping up with the chore system became a chore in itself! 
With Chore Packs, I made a master list of chores and divided them up among the children. I determined when the jobs would be done and how often. I then printed out the chore cards. I have some chores that they do daily in the morning, daily in the evening, once and twice a week, and each Saturday. Setting it up was the most time consuming part of this system, but now that I have it going, it basically runs itself. I am still “tweaking” this system as I go. I keep adjusting who does each chore and how often, and I’ve even added some jobs to their chore packs. Each morning, evening and Saturday, they grab their chore packs that I have already “filled” for the current time period. They clip them onto their clothing and do the first chore in the pack. When it’s completed, they flip the card to the back of the pack and do the next card. They do this until they get back to the first card. They then turn in the chore pack and I check it and re-fill it for the next time period. We hang it up, on my spice rack until they are needed again. I include such jobs as “brush teeth”, “make bed” “brush hair” “Bible reading and prayer time” (for my oldest), “feed pet” and several others! My youngest girl, age 3, is too young to take on many jobs, but she wanted a chore pack like everyone else, and I gladly gave her one! She has jobs like “pick up books” in her room, “pick up toys” and “brush teeth”. I’ve been amazed at how much my kids can do to help me! The best part is that I no longer have to follow up every five minutes, I just check the jobs once! I no longer have to remember to have them change their sheets each week – something I would often forget until it was an inconvenient time to do it – that chore card is in their Saturday chore pack and it “remembers” for me! It’s a plan that has not only enabled me to get some help, but it also provides an excellent training ground for life skills. With this plan, I must think about what my children can already do, and what they should learn to do. When I find a job they don’t know how to do, I can take the time to teach them that new skill..
Here are the chore packs, filled and ready to go for the morning. 

This sleeve holds my extra chore cards that are waiting to be completed. 
Another item that has come in very handy for chore use, is this plastic carrying container, pictured below. It has a handle and easily holds all of the cleaning supplies for cleaning the bathroom. I have made my oldest daughter a chore card for each job related to cleaning the bathroom. I have one that says  “Clean sink and counter”, “Clean toilet”, “Clean mirror” and so forth, so she doesn’t forget any part of the job. I then showed her how to do each job correctly. I placed the cleaning items in this container so she can locate the cleaning supplies easily, keep up with them while cleaning, and return them to their proper place with ease. I love it! Ironically, I purchased this container in the teacher section of a Christian bookstore!

This container has come in handy for my little homemaker’s helper. 🙂
While life is still often chaotic and I often feel overwhelmed, I am taking steps to make things better.The Chore Packs are one such step. Each trial that I face at home, whether it’s feeling overworked or dealing with bickering, reveals an area in which I need to teach and train my children. I am trying to take it one day at a time and thank God for the job security that homemaking and child rearing provide! 🙂

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