I have been wanting to make a chore chart like this for a long time. I first came across the idea for something like this (using chore cards) at the LEAH Homeschool Convention at a session by Accountable Kids. I loved the idea behind their product, just didn't want to spend the money and had no idea where to put their boards. Then so then this past spring I saw this idea at Confessions of a Homeschooler and was inspired. I already owned one of those pocket charts that I had gotten from a friend at a yard sale and I wasn't using it very effectively for school. On her blog the mom also has links to PDFs of her cards that she uses. I loved the idea.
Over this summer I have been thinking through what needs to be done around our house on a regular basis and trying to figure out how to get it all done and train the kids to help. I had been writing lists and re-arranging lists and thinking and going crazy. I asked Glenn if he would help me by looking over what I had written down and my ideas and give me any advice. He looked at it briefly then said, "You just need to make the cards." I think that was something that I needed to hear because I wasn't doing it on my own.
Yesterday I printed off the cards on my printer, cut them apart, tossed some (we don't have a dish washer or pets and who brings in the milk anyway??), and taped them together in sets that I'd need 4 of, sets I'd need 2 of, etc. I then made photocopies on card stock (on a side note our laser printer scanner copier that we bought on sale about 5 years ago was one of the best investments I've ever made - I print and copy all the time and don't have to worry about the cost because toner lasts so much longer than those inkjet cartridges!!). There are some jobs that are going to change on a regular basis so instead of having to figure out how to rotate job cards I just made a chart that I attached to the bottom of the pocket chart that is based loosely on a chart that I remember from the Cronks' fridge back when we lived in Houghton. My kids are color coded (going back to some old tupperware cups that we picked up at a yard sale eons ago) so I just put a strip of their color on the top of their cards and a strip of orange on some random cards that will be rotated in the mix on a weekly basis or so.
I have the cards separated out by the time of day that they should be done at. Here are the cards that we have at the moment (I've already told the kids that this is a system that is going to need tweeked over the next few weeks and months and I am open to suggestions.)
(Note: this list is mostly for my records but it might be helpful for readers as well.)
Breakfast (they are responsible for preparing their own breakfast and washing their own breakfast dishes)
School: (Since we homeschool I thought I'd make school cards so they can see when they are done)
Spanish (20 min on Rosetta Stone)
Xtra Math/ Khan Academy (20 min)
Lunch Clean up
Helping Hands (ask mom, "How can I help you?)
5 Minute Pick Up
10 Minute Zone (Flylady reference)
Tidy School Room (clear off desk!)
20 Minutes Reading
Put Laundry Away
Night: (After Supper)
Put Dirty Clothes in Laundry
Supper Clean up
5 Minute Pick up
Take out Trash
Take out Recycling
Bring in Trash can
Bring back recycling bin
There are probably cards that are going to be added and cards that will be taken away as we tweek this system but I think that it will help. There is a reward system that I am incorporating as well. There was a pdf of "tickets" and reward cards. I told the kids that if they get their cards done by the recommended time they will get 2 tickets. If they get them done but not by the recommended time they will get one ticket. When they have accumulated 8 tickets (which could be earned in 1 school day) they turn them in for a sticker on their reward card. When the reward card is filled up they get to turn in the reward card for a date with one of their parents (an idea that I stole from Accountable Kids that I think is great - what greater reward for one of four than spending one on one time with mom or dad?? and how priceless for us!)
I explained it to the kids while they were eating breakfast this morning and the girls jumped right in excited about it wondering when they could start. I told them that they could start moving their cards today to get practice in and they could start earning tickets today too for columns that they complete. All 3 girls got a ticket for their morning cards and are busy working through their afternoon cards as well (C has been lost in a book all day).
Here is a story to explain why I love it already. L&A had "Help Mom" for lunch prep. Most days we just have leftovers for lunch and today was no exception. Usually I am the one who takes the orders and preps the plates. I was busy working in the kitchen already putting chili in the crockpot (for our dinner when we finally get home tonight) and making a couple of lasagnas for the future (when browning ground beef why not make more than 1 meal??) L (7) was hungry and I told her that she and A(5) had "Help Mom" for lunch prep so they were responsible for figuring out what was available for lunch and figuring out who wanted what and helping get lunch on the table. They went to town making up plates, microwaving and getting stuff to the table. They were so proud of themselves. It was fun watching them get excited about serving their siblings. There were a couple of things that they wanted help/ needed advice on but pretty much lunch was their show. One thing that I realized this summer was that I do too much for our kids. I want them to learn how to be independent and I think that these cards are going to help them learn and help me let them.
So far, day one of our system is going pretty well and I am thankful for it. I think that we've all learned something from it (with the possible exception of Mr. Nose Stuck in a Book). Ask me about it in October ;)