Most mornings I wake up and do my own "basics". I drink my coffee, spend time with the Lord, pray with my husband. Then I make my bed and get dressed. I then take about 5 minutes to fill out note cards for my oldest children. I include a few simple chores and a few learning challenges for their day. These note cards must be completed if they want their 30 minutes in the afternoons for playing games on the iPad, the Wii, or computer.
When I was in the craft store AC Moore the other day, they were selling these small clipboards that are perfect for holding these note cards. I grabbed as many as I could! So I set up this little station for myself with everything that I need to fill them out in the mornings and keep it all organized.
Why do I enjoy this approach?
- It is intuitive and flexible. I can think through in the morning the most pressing chore-needs of the home and also what I think that particular child needs to do on that day to grow, to complete, to be challenged. This is a customized list. I am inspired to think about each child and what they need that day for baby steps in intellectual and character growth. These children are not living life on a conveyor belt of education...I am seeking to take into account their individual styles of learning, personalities and unique challenges. These simple note cards are a step away from cookie-cutter "systems" and help tailor my child's day specifically for them.
- It keeps me from nagging. I have the children's note cards sitting at their breakfast spots every morning. They know to eat their breakfast and to begin on their cards. It keeps me from "reminding" and checking up on them and chronically giving oral instructions as to what's next. I would *love* to find some small round stickers that have drawings of chores that I could simply stick on note cards for my non-reading younger children. A bed, a toothbrush, clothes, books, etc. (If you happen to know of any stickers like that out there somewhere, would you let me know?)
As with anything, do children lose their notecards? Yes. Do children still drag their feet and move slowly? Yes. Do I continue then to modify and make it work better? Yes. Nothing is perfect. This has worked effectively for me though even with our humanness and immaturity!