The Everyday Family Chore System from Everyday Homemaking is a 91 page eBook that is simply chock full of great information. Although author Vicki Bentley emphasizes that this is not a child training/discipline book, there are many wonderful parenting ideas contained within it.
The book is divided up as follows:
- Part One: Laying a Foundation
- Part Two: Implementing the Plan
- Part Three: The Actual Chore System
- Suggested Resources
Unlike some chore system books that immediately jump into the specifics of allocating and enforcing chores, this book begins by explaining that child training is the first step to successful home management. This lesson is one that I know intuitively (and that my husband reminds me of frequently), but it is so easy to forget that it actually takes planning and work. Doing the groundwork of training children will make home management easier. In fact, if you have children and don't train them properly, you can pretty much kiss home management goodbye. I should know. I feel like I am running to catch up!
I love how the author handles this first section. Her four basic principles for training children make so much sense and resonate with me deeply. They acknowledge a parent's need to discipline while keeping at the forefront the entire point of discipline and behavior correction. After reading Part One, I was ready to do anything she said to get my children to do chores!
The meat of Part Two is a group of checklists for what children of various ages ought to be able to do in order to provide parents with realistic ideas of what chores are reasonable for each of their children. The author also shows what a sample chore chart might look like in her house. She urges parents to consider the different learning styles of their children and to adapt a chore system to play to their strengths.
Part Two also contains "how-tos" of cleaning: when is something considered clean, what does a clean room look like, in what order should things be cleaned, etc. About halfway through the book, Part Two ends with a review of everything that has been said thus far.
Part Three is the actual system itself. Comprised of chore cards to print on cardstock (and I laminated ours) and to use in any of the various ways described in Part Two, Part Three offers both printed and blank cards. Permission is granted to print them for only one family.
I have used a bunch of different chore systems, usually only for a week or so. The fact is that I have "system ADD." I find a system, I love it, we use it, I get bored with it. (It goes hand in hand with my curriculum ADD.) That has not happened with this system, and I think the reason is that the author provides so many different ideas for how to implement the system. So far, we have been using a job jar approach, which is one that I grew up with. I put all of the jobs for the day in a jar and the kids each draw one. In order to make sure that one kid doesn't get all of the most hated jobs, I put the jobs in in groups: first go in the one round of disliked jobs all by themselves. The rest follow after each kid gets one disliked job.
Just this week I began instituting a zone cleaning system (first described by Flylady, but described in this particular context by the author of this book). I am excited to see how that goes, and the kids are excited to keep cleaning because I am changing things up a little bit! There are still plenty of ideas listed in this book that I haven't used yet, and I plan to use them all (glad I laminated those cards)!
I have to admit that I don't like cleaning. I'm not good at it. There is always something else I would rather be doing. I don't want my children to grow up that way, though. That's the primary reason I am so grateful for this system. It has given me realistic ideas of what chores each of my kids can do and ideas of how to get and keep them on track. This is one system I will keep using!
You can see samples of The Everyday Family Chore System, and I encourage you to do so because you can see the nifty chore cards I have fallen in love with. The ebook is available for $17.99, and the coil-bound book is $19.99. Be sure to read the other awesome reviews of The Everyday Homemaking products at the Crew blog.