Chores for Homeschool students fall broadly into two categories. The first are regular chores that they need to do for themselves. The second set are household chores that they can be paid to do. Here’s how you can divide the chores up and ensure that your homeschool students does both kinds.
Weekly Chore Divide
It would help if the chores were divided into those that need to be done daily, the regular chores, and those that could be done once a week, the paid chores. This way the homeschool student learns and practices life skills all through the week without getting into a repetitive rut. Now we need to define what chores are regular and which ones can the homeschool student be paid to perform.
What are the Regular Chores?
Regular chores like making their bed, cleaning up the room, brushing their teeth morning and evening. Pick up the clothes on the bed or furniture and put them away in the closet or for wash as required. Pick up shoes, hang up outdoor jackets, set the table for meals, and even ensure that they say grace. Bedtime prayers may also be added to the regular chore list.
What can be on the Paid Chore List?
Paid chores could include taking out the trash, vacuuming the house, folding the laundry, washing the windows, dusting the rooms, sweeping the floor, watering the potted plants as well as the lawn, and weeding the garden. The list is indicative and can be added to or subtracted from. Just ensure that the tasks are age appropriate and that your child can easily master them.
Incentives and Rewards
While the payment may be incentive enough for your homeschool students to perform the paid chores, there needs to be a way to reward them for doing their regular chores as well. Most parents figure out perks that can be offered to the children if they are performing all their chores properly for the entire week. Special rewards may be offered for month long streaks and so on. This keeps them motivated to stay with the program and get all their chores done in time.
Getting your preschooler into the habit of helping around the house and doing their own chores is actually a great way to get them to learn skills even before you formally start schooling them. Many parents get stuck at the thought of what they should be adding to the chore chart for these young kids. Here we take a look at possible chores that you little one can probably handle on his or her own after you teach them how to go about it once or twice.
Make the Bed
While it may not be exactly possible to teach your little one to make hospital corners, you can teach the child to fold the cover sheet and fluff up the pillows. A well made bed in the parent’s room is often all the encouragement the little one needs to make their own bed.
Pick Up Their Toys
One of the most tiresome jobs for a parent is picking up after the child has played with and distributed their toys to all corners of the house. By making it clear that the child needs to tidy up after play, you are teaching them a valuable lesson for life. They will always know where they have kept their things when they grow up.
Putting Clothes Away After Laundry
Have the child put away washed clothes into their closet. Organize the clothes in a simple manner and at a height where they can reach easily. You can even have them take the folded laundry from the wash room and leave it in the room of every family member on the beds.
Setting the Table for Meals
Children all ages can set the table with plates and flatware. Just show them where the stuff goes once in a place setting. Of course you will have to hand them the utensils so that they can get started on the table when they are really young. And they can easily open the fridge and set out the cold water. The older they get the more help they can offer in the kitchen as long as you encourage it.
Doing chores around the house helps teach your homeschool students multiple life skills. It is an important part of growing up to know how to make your bed, arrange your closet neatly, have your play things put away, and take out the trash. In order to keep track of who is doing what, as well as how often and when a chore chart is a good addition to the homeschool classroom. Here are some tips on developing a good chore chart.
Divide it by Time of Day
Make the chore chart in three sections of Mornings, Afternoons and Evenings. This allows you to segregate the chores that are specific to a time. After all we want the homeschool student to make their beds in the morning and not in the evening just before getting into bed again! By keeping the chores time specific you can ensure that they have a built in deadline as well.
Separate the Paid and Regular Chores
Some chores around the house are individual specific and must be performed by the students themselves. These are the regular chores such as making their own beds, tidying up toys after play time, doing their own closet organization, etc. Other chores are common to all those who live in the house. This can be a paid chore for the homeschool student to earn some pocket money. The chores could include loading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, carrying out the trash, and watering the lawn.
Have a Tracking System
It’s no use putting up a chore list like a to-do list and having your homeschool students forget to do half of what they have been asked to. You need to have a day to day reckoning system where you get a clear visual of the number of times the chore has been successfully performed in the month, on what dates it was performed and so forth. This can be done with a monthly calendar crossed with the list of chores. Add stars or stickers for each date that a chore is successfully completed. Also have incentives for doing the chores regularly.
The primary monetary concern of homeschooling families arises from the fact that one parent needs to stay at home with the children. This means that the family must make do on a single income. The good news is that there are now many options for the homeschool parent to generate a secondary income at home. Here are some ideas that can work.
Start a Homeschooling Blog
As you chronicle your own family’s adventures through the academic year you will be able to eventually monetize the blog with affiliate products that you have actually used. You will be able to sell worksheets that you created for your homeschools students in each grade to other parents looking for similar material. You will be able to give advice on all matters related to homeschool to parents new to the concept and make friends online.
Create and Sell Your Own Digital Products
A digital product is something that is not found in physical form. It could be an ebook, a course conducted online, an app that helps solve a need people have, or anything else that is possible to be delivered digitally. You could create audios for children to revise nursery rhymes, or the periodic table. It doesn’t matter what the product is, as long as you create it from scratch. You will have to be aware of copyright issues, but as long as everything you add to the product has been generated by you, there would not be any problems.
Teach a Subject Online
There must be a higher grade subject that you are comfortable teaching, which another homeschool parent may not be. Hang out in homeschool forums and find a few students like this. Then offer the parent the choice of having their child learn that subject from you online. You can tutor them for a specific subject in lieu of money or exchange classes for your own homeschooling brood. The idea is to add value to your life by either bringing in more money, or using less money to school your own children. This reduces expenses and helps in the family finances.
Travelling is always an educational activity. Even the same journey between the same two towns can be a different experience each time your homeschool family undertakes it. Planning regular travelling is a great way to teach a number of life skills to homeschool students.
Plan Ahead and Schedule Homeschool Trips
Since most traditional school families have to wait for school to let out for the summer before planning a trip, the homeschoolers have an advantage. They can take off anytime during the year that they feel like as long as they plan for the break and pencil it into the homeschool schedule. This gives them access to discounts in off season which they may not have had access to otherwise. Plus going off to a tourist destination at such a time means that they will have to deal with crowds and have a more enjoyable experience.
Explore and Grow Together
Tie up with other homeschool families who enjoy travelling. That way you will have additional company on your trips. Plus getting group discounts becomes easier when you have at least a dozen people going together. It makes life easier when jobs get delegated to different people. Also the children can get in lessons with one parent while the others can take care of other sightseeing details. The group travel can be easier to organize and allow the homeschoolers a whole lot more in terms of opportunities to learn life skills, including socialization.
Take Road Trips Regularly
The first time you set out with your family for a road trip is most likely to give you more than a couple of memories. There may even be some that can be called disasters. However the more often you get back on the road, the faster the homeschool students will learn how everything goes. The plan will become easier to follow the second time round and by the third trip you will be feeling like a pro at executing successful road trips. Ensure that you visit places where the children can soak up the local culture as well as history for a more educational purpose.
A human being is set apart from animals on the basis of his ability to reason and think. Most children develop the ability to reason out the best course of action to take even before they begin to speak. These are survival instincts and everyone will have the same end result in mind- to survive and thrive.
Life is more than living day to day
Survive is necessary, but it is not the same as being creative. Being creative is the desire to do something different from the norm. The ability to express what you feel, and do something extraordinary. The ability to think out of the box does not develop on its own. It needs to be kick started and then nurtured.
What does being creative have to do with the homeschool classroom?
A creative child will have an active imagination. The homeschool student who has an active imagination is likely to learn better and faster. Spoon feeding a child everything will not allow them to think for themselves. However giving them a problem and asking them to solve it on their own will force them to think of more than one solution till they find something that works. This is the beginning of creative thinking.
Creative is not isolated
If your homeschool student gets stuck, they should not be afraid to ask for help. The more inputs that they get, the easier it will be for them to find a viable solution. Set up yourself and a bunch of other resources for them to refer to. This takes away the fear of failure and encourages them to keep trying till they find a solution that works and pleases them.
Let them own their failures
As parents we have a tendency to rush in and help when we feel that the child is headed in the wrong direction. That’s not going to foster creativity. Let the homeschool student make mistakes. Failure is often a much better teacher than success. Allow them an introduction to this teacher in a controlled environment where you are available to guide and supervise their actions.
For all the lessons that need to be taught related to the grade syllabus, the homeschool student also needs to learn an equal number of life lessons that will come in handy for the future. These are some qualities that the homeschool parent must encourage the growth of in their wards.
They must build resilience
There is not a single person in the world who has no problems. At every stage a human being faces challenges and often difficult odds. It is important for the homeschool student and parent to understand that difficult times are bound to come and that they need to learn how to deal with it. Learn how to bounce back and recover so well from the past that the future is better and brighter.
They should develop tenacity
Ever so often in our world today people get distracted. The flood of screens and the information that they are constantly sharing with us can become a detriment to making actual progress. The homeschool student needs to learn tenacity when it comes to setting and achieving goals. Their determination and ability to persevere in the face of distractions is what will help them succeed.
They need to overcome their fears
Facing personal demons is a problem even for grown adults. For children to do it quickly will help improve the quality of their lives. The homeschool parent needs to help their homeschool students identify and then face their biggest fears so that they can overcome the limitations set by these fears. Break the process into smaller manageable steps so that gradually the big bad boogie just disappears one fine day.
They must face their inhibitions and insecurities
There may be a number of factors that make your homeschool student self conscious. This makes them unable to act in a natural manner when the inhibition rears it’s head. Allow your child to identify and eliminate such insecurities. I find logic works well on fears that may mostly be imaginary. Ask them what is the worst that can possibly happen and then give them ways to deal with that possible fallout.
Uncollege is the brainchild of Dale Stephens, a homeschooled student who went on to become a regular college student. He never felt that he learned anything in college that he could not have learnt himself. That got him thinking about creating an experience for other college students who were going through the same process.
An experience where they could take a year off from college and get uncolleged. This was the term he used to mean helping students find their areas of interest, speed up their learning and staying happy as they moved on to the next stage of their lives. Going from students to productive citizens.
The typical student who enrolls with the organization for an uncollege gap year is between 18 to 26 years of age. They could be yet to start college, some where in between the four years of college or have just finished the college experience. The stage they are at does not matter.
During their year with uncollege they go through three successive phases. These are termed the Voyage, the Launch and the Internship. The Voyage stage allows the students to travel to different countries and immerse in the local culture. They work in the local community doing anything from teaching students English, to helping with construction of homes.
During the Launch they return to the Uncollege HQ in San Francisco for a period of ten weeks. Each week they meet a specialist or an expert who teaches them more about the field that interests them. This is followed by an Internship. Based on the interest of the student this could be paid or unpaid. They will also have coaches and mentors guiding them throughout the year.
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea to enroll for this year long process, it would be a good idea for homeschool students to try to do something similar on their own steam. Travelling to Europe was a coming of age ritual for a reason for the older generation. There are so many skills that the students develop as they backpack through the old world. It may be a good idea to customize a gap year for your homeschool student as well.
A number of homeschool students prepare to join regular colleges after they finish K-12 in the homeschool classroom. The parents are usually helping them to find a college and courses that will best suit their interests and needs. Most colleges are happy to take in homeschool students as they are self motivated learners who genuinely want to know more about whatever class they are taking. Some even have special counselors who help them through the admission process. This makes it easy for homeschool students with updated transcripts to get into colleges of their choice.
However there is a growing trend where homeschooled students in regular colleges feel unsatisfied. Having become used to learning at their own pace and in as much depth as they wish to, they don’t feel that college is helping them learn things that they couldn’t have picked up on their own. The joy of learning is lost for these students as they are forced to follow a stricter pattern of assignments and submissions. Not to mention the additional financial expenses that their parents have to undertake to ensure that the students get admission to a good college.
More homeschool students are looking at options besides regular college in order to gain their undergraduate degrees. They take up online courses from colleges offering credits on them. This allows them to stay at home and work on their studies while pursuing something else on the side. They could take up a part time job or even work on getting enough credits to graduate early. This work is supplemented with regular homeschool college sessions with the homeschool teacher.
Another option is taking courses at a local community college. Again this works out less expensive and if the course is not interesting enough, the students are not enrolled in a year long process. They can quit any time that they want to. Switching to another course that they feel that they would enjoy better. This affords them greater flexibility while not becoming a huge financial drain on their parents resources. No wonder the number of homeschool college graduates is on the rise.
It can be tough tying to move through a fixed schedule day after day in the homeschool classroom. What makes it worse is the fact that as you begin to fall behind with things that were supposed to be done on previous days, the rest of the days get even more crammed with things that need to be done.
Things start piling up and you never seem to have enough time to catch up. Eventually there is a feeling of total overwhelm that the homeschool parent begins to suffer from. How then, do you recover from this space?
The Timer is an Invaluable Tool
On a regular day you may have the luxury of stopping and smelling the flowers, but when you are on a mission to make up stuff from seven previous days, this may not be possible. Don’t expect to make the recovery all at once in a single day. That is just not going to happen.
Do begin working on the stuff that is due in an organized manner. Try to follow the current day’s schedule as best as you can so as not to fall behind on more stuff, but in between that find ten minutes to work on the other pending stuff. Just use a timer to work exactly ten minutes on this.
Sleep is not a Luxury, it is a necessity
One of the biggest mistakes a homeschool parent can make is trying to finish doing extra work in the hours when they should be getting a good night’s sleep. You may feel that missing a couple of hours of your nightly sleep is a good idea, so that you can make up on pending stuff. Trust me, it is not a good idea.
I would go so far as to call it a terrible idea, specially when you consider the rather gruesome effects that lack of rest can have on your system. As of now you are only backed up in your work and chores. If you start missing sleep you are also going to be cranky and irritable. Do you really want to subject your children to that?