Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On Chores & Motivation

Welcome back to day two of Tips For Homeschooling Parents. Did you have a read through some of the tips from the other bloggers yesterday? You can find their links at the end of this post. I hope you will continue to join us every day this week for more great Tips For Homeschooling Parents.

Build Chores Into Your Home School Schedule

Homemaking or housework can be incredibly difficult to maintain whilst raising children, add homeschooling into the mix and if you are anything like me it can be downright overwhelming.

Not only do we need to cook, clean, meal plan and all of the other gamut of must do's that keeping a home requires but we also need to research curriculum, plan lessons, physically take an active part in the children's education every day, and ensure we have enough social and extra curricular activities organised for them. So basically us homeschool mums are working the equivalent to a full time job on top of the regular keeping of the home.

This isn't new, women have been keeping full time jobs and raising families for decades.  The big stand out difference here for me though is those homes for the most part, generally stand empty most days of the week. No one is there pulling out toys, running dirt in and out of the house every few minutes. Experimenting in the kitchen, and making messes every where you turn.

With staying home and having a houseful it means that the house really does get lived in and it needs constant attention. So much so that there is no way I can keep on top of it all on my own. Quite frankly now that my children are 14, 11 and 7 they are all more than capable of taking on their fair share of the housework.

So we build this into our daily schedule as much as we can. Along with their list of educational tasks they need to complete for the day they will also have, as a part of that very same list (we don't do extra chore charts) the things they need to do around the home. This varies depending on what we've got going on and how much of a disarray the house might be in. 

My older two are well and truly capable of doing pretty much anything I do around the home, from cleaning bathrooms, to washing clothes and mowing the backyard. My 7 year old is still in training, I don't expect much of anything from one that age. They are still babies after all. He will sort washing, clean some windows, sweep the floor, unpack the dishwasher, pick up toys etc. As he matures so will his level of jobs around the house.

We've never done any huge chore chart systems, oh we've tried them in the past but they never work for us. So I simply show the kids how to do various chores until they can do them proficiently and then I know I can add them into their daily tasks list. No need to make things harder than what they need to be.

This doesn't mean that we have a spotless home, far from it actually! It simply means that I do not need to carry the burden on my own. It also means that I am teaching the children valuable life skills. Ones I know that that they will thank me for as the years progress.

Homeschool Tip #3

Tip number 3 is to include daily household chores in with your regular school day. It can also help to break up the monotony of the day.

Finding Your Child's Motivation

Are you finding the days dragging out? Kids dragging their feet and taking 3 times as long as they probably should to complete their school work? My older two are generally pretty good and I feel that for the most part this is simply maturity. When they were younger they always dragged the chain but as they gained more skills and the work becomes much more manageable to complete independently they have both flourished and have become quite reliable independent kids.

My 7 year old on the other hand, well he's 7. Don't get me wrong I never expect more than what I feel they can deliver. You all know that we are a 'better late then early' family and we are also very relaxed with our homeschooling.

At such a young age our primary focus is getting reading happening, along with some basic arithmetic. Young children really can and do learn all of the extra's (such as science, geogrpahy, social studies etc) simply by living a full and varied life. They don't need a curriculum to take care of those things. Although he does get small amounts from our micro school and co-op days. For his work at home with me though he can do what he needs to do in as little as 30 - 40 minutes of structured time, roughly 3 times a week.

He can however, make that 30 minutes drag out to 90 minutes on days where he simply isn't feeling it! That was until I found his motivation. By that I don't mean bribes or punishment in any way. Those are not things I wish to bring into our homeschool. Although I do believe at times we need to assist the kids with their motivation, by adding in something (and this will be different for each child) that invigorates them and assists them in their perseverance for a job well done.

For my 7 year old that is one of racing his mum. At least for now it is anyway. The thing with these simpler motivational tools is they can be fickle things, they don't work forever and often you only find them by chance. Which is what occurred with us one morning.

He was at the dining table, where he and I generally sit together for this part of the day. His work was all laid out in front of him, ready for him to choose what he would work on first. We are in the early stages of fostering independence and are pretty much at stage 1, but that is a whole other blog post. He was dragging his feet. Doing everything other than what we needed to do.

I looked behind and noticed that the kitchen was still a mess from breakfast. I was starting to get a little panicky, I had a kitchen that needed cleaning, and three kids that needed attention from me, plus the million and one other things I had on my list for the day. Please, just get started already!

So I gave him an opportunity to race me. He needed to pick one thing from the choices in front of him. Complete that one thing whilst I was behind him cleaning in the kitchen. So for example, he chose his math sheet. I said to him, let's see if you can beat mummy in unloading the dishwasher.

He was off like a shot, and of course he beat me every single time! This worked like a charm and on days he is eager to have races he powers through and his small amount of work is wrapped up in no time at all. Plus my kitchen gets cleaned up at lightning pace!

The other surprise with adding this element into to his routine is one of fostering independence. I always make sure he understands what he needs to do before I head into the kitchen (which is literally 3 steps from the table he is sitting at). He has surprised both me and himself with what he can actually do. Often when I am sitting right there next to him he doesn't seem as capable as what he really is. Finding a simple motivational tool, such as racing mum, has shown both of us just how capable he really is.

Homeschool Tip #4

My fourth tip of the week is to find your child's motivation. This may take a bit of trial and error but it's well worth pursuing if you have children that drag their feet.

More Tips For Homeschool Parents

Each day this week I am sharing links right here to the other bloggers that are joining in with the Tips For Homeschool Parents blog hop.

The blogs I link to will also be different each day so you will find heaps of variety and you never know, you may just find your new favourite blog!

Dawn @ Double O Farms  ~ Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool  ~ Debbie @ Debbie's Homeschool Corner  ~ Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook  ~ Diana @ Busy Homeschool Days  ~ Diana @ Homeschool Review  ~ Elyse @ Oiralinde: Eternal Song  ~ Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness ~ Erin @ For Him and My Family  ~ Jen @ Chestnut Grove Academy
5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents

Happy Homeschooling Friends,

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