Thursday, August 01, 2013

No Chores In This House

My children do not have chores. {gasp} I know, I know. What kind of mother doesn’t give her children a list of chores? And she calls herself a homeschooler?!

I believe God has placed these children in my care so that I can prepare them to go into the world and live successful lives that are pleasing to our Lord. As a homeowner I am responsible for the upkeep of my home. I am also responsible for caring for myself, my children and our possessions. And I don’t receive any reward for doing these things in a timely manner or a job well done. This is the attitude Brad and I are preparing our children to have in the future. So why not start it now?

Laundry is a big deal in our home. With seven family members, linens and cloth diapers, I wash at least one load a day. But I know a lot of large families wash everything on one day and fold another day. Other homes set up a weekly schedule where each member of their family has one day for all of their wash. Those plans do not work for me and my personal quirks. Also, I don’t take care of all the laundry on my own. 

Around Bookworm’s second birthday she started helping with the laundry. Cruel and unusual punishment? No. She wanted to help! Children love helping and I am under the impression that somewhere along the way our forcing them into the submission of chores squashes that God-given desire to help.

At the age of two I taught her how to match and fold Brad’s socks. That was her tiny responsibility perfect for her tiny self. There were days she didn’t want to help or the pile was bigger than her attention span. I would finish for her on those days. I wanted to keep her time helping a positive experience. When she was three I had her fold washcloths. When she was only folding Brad’s socks I didn’t mind if they were messy. I would stuff them in his drawer and I wouldn’t see them again. That didn’t bother the perfectionist in me. The washcloths were a different story. I had to restrain myself from “fixing” her work. I know that her taking ownership of folding those washcloths and the sense of accomplishment she had were important. After a few months her folding skills improved tremendously. She was proud of herself and her work. And I was proud of the work ethic she was building at this young age.   

Little by little I added more laundry to her requirements and by age four Bookworm was folding her own laundry. She was contributing to the family work that keeps our home running smoothly. She has been helping me sort laundry for years now and loves when I let her add the soap and push all the buttons to start a load of laundry all on her own. Days have come more times than I care to remember when she fights us to fold her laundry. The whining and complaining is enough to make me start thinking it would be easier to fold the laundry myself. But I know the end result is worth the fight. When she leaves our home to live on her own she will know how to sort, wash and fold laundry. We will not have a last minute scramble to teach her these basic skills on her way out our front door.

Practically Speaking

Is there housework in your home that you and your family resent? Take a step back. Can you redesign that chore? Stop working for your chores;make them work for you. What expectations do you have in your family to keep your home in order? 

Andi and Brad have been married since 2002. They have five squishers who keep them on their toes. She is a second generation home educator. In her spare time Andi creates and sells handmade goodies in her shop, Andi Gould Designs.


  1. Because I was a single mom I needed my children's help. They often wanted to serve and so it worked for all of us. There were times I made them do things like fold laundry and help pick up. I think there needs to be a balance and forcing any issue can deter us away from wanting to help our family. We've discovered chores that each child is good at and likes to do and then we let them take over. Sometimes we switch it up so we all understand what it takes to run our home.

    I think each family is unique and the expectations must be taken into account for your goals and desires of how you want your household to operate!

  2. I agree switching chores around is a great way to teach everyone all the workings of running a home!

  3. My son will be 2 at the end of this year. He doesn't have "chores" but I do have a few expectations of him. He puts his dishes in the sink when he's done eating. He cleans up his toys before we start our bedtime routine. He doesn't always want to do it but I'm always there to help.

    Last week I gave him my duster and showed him how to dust by base boards =) Was it perfect? Nope! Or when he wants to put away his folded laundry- he just gathers them up and stuffs them in his drawers. They don't stay folded or organized. But he loves to help and contribute and that's what I'll always encourage.

  4. Those dusty base boards and messy drawers will work themselves out because you are giving him the opportunity to learn. Keep nurturing his desire to help! You are doing an awesome job!!!


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