Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Chores are a huge part of our lives.
We spend more than an hour a day cleaning before we even begin any of our schoolwork.
We have been doing things this way for more than ten years now.
I've tried doing morning time first or starting the hardest schoolwork like math first, because successful people have advised that and I don't mind taking advice.
But I tried it and I find that I just can't stand it.
I simply can't begin the work day with dishes in the sink or laundry not going or toys all over the floors, so for me, the chores have to be done first.
So this is how it usually goes.
I get up first and read my Bible and pray. I may read or work in another book or two, because I have things I am trying to learn for myself like rhetoric, Latin, and logic. I may go ahead and have breakfast alone, depending on how early I woke up and how hungry I am.
The kids get up and they sit with me, if I'm still sitting. But they will always come down to the couch and read quietly until I call them to breakfast.
They make their own breakfasts or work together to make something more complicated like pancakes.
As they eat breakfast, I start chores around them or eat with them, if I haven't eaten yet.
Then, after breakfast, we all start working immediately and earnestly on our daily chores.
They have had the same chore list everyday for years, so it's memorized.
They will empty the dishwasher and fill it again, while I sweep the main rooms. They take out the trashes and recycling while I wipe the counters and tables. They feed the birds while I clean on a bathroom. (We have three, so there's always a few things to be done in one of the bathrooms.) They water the plants while I straighten up the living room. They fold the laundry, dry the laundry, start another new load, and put laundry away, while I help and supervise. They take showers, while I shower. We clean our rooms, dress, brush hair and teeth... and then we meet up downstairs again.
We do all the stuff that has to be done everyday. I'll also add a few random things everyday that need to be done only once a week like filling the bird feeder or sweeping the stairs, etc. Or if the Legos are exceptionally messy, I'll set them to work on organizing those. Or if their closet has gotten out of hand, I'll give them ten minutes for that task.
We are tired when chores are over. We may even have worked up a light sweat by that time.
And that's when we start our school day, when we are really ready to sit down for the first time in over an hour.
This works really well for us.
Everyone is always happy to start and doing chores first may be why.
Our school day also has a similar routine.
Around lunchtime, I'll call everyone together before lunch or I'll keep everyone at the table after lunch for poetry, Scripture memory, and other things like that that I want to do with them as a group, things many homeschoolers do as "morning time."
But I can't call it morning time, since I do it much later.
But we enjoy that part of our day as a break from the more academically intensive and independent school work.
I was self-conscious about this, since I wondered if I was favoring chores over academics by giving our best energy to housework.
But we still do all the same academic work, just later.
And it works so well for us that I have freed myself to just be myself in this way.
I think it's important to take advice, especially if you don't have a routine that is working.
But if something isn't working for you and you have a better way, and by "better" I mean something that is actually working for you, I think you should feel free to do what works.