Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chores & Schedules

Quite a few months ago I purchased and read the book, Managers Of Their Homes (aka MOTH) after hearing some rave reviews about it. I'd felt the need, and we'd been trying to implement one for some time, to use a family schedule. Remember, I have warned you in the past that I'm a bit Monkish.. The book has a lot of great information in it, and it was interesting to see how so many different people manage their days. It was also equally interesting to see how each family chooses or plans to prioritize the day. For us, that's what it came down to, was figuring out which things were more important and shifting things around. I'm also going to state right from the start that we do NOT use this schedule every day. We are NOT rigid and bound to it. However, on school days we like to try and keep within the lines as much as we can. It's not only helpful for the adults, but super duper helpful for the kids.

The book comes with the schedule grid (that's the white thing my colored paper is on) and I trimmed mine to fit on the bulletin board. Thankfully, I can print one off their website if I mess it up so I wan't too panicked about that aspect of it. I had considered laminating it. Okay, I wanted really badly to laminate it, but it was too wide for my laminating machine. I still consider, quite often, taking it to my favorite store in town (aka the laminating shop) to have it encrusted forever in plastic, but there are far more important things to deal with.

The scheduled grid is actually set up so that a family of many (as in 8, but you can actually obtain more for a larger family) can use one grid. Because our family is half that size I opted to make our colored slips of paper wider. Thus, there were no empty white spaces driving me nuts, and we had a bigger rainbow effect. Is that weird? It's okay, you can say it is.. The result was also that I had more space to jot down the tasks in.

In the book, MOTH, the Maxwells tend to be very detail oriented when it comes to their schedule, seriously it's amazing. For our family, we are detailed in some areas and less in others. It simply depends on the area and how we might all ready handle it. For instance, in the book many people wrote on their schedules exactly what they were doing in each or their school blocks. I didn't. We decided on what chunk of our day was going to be school oriented and we wrote "school" there. Why?

Many reasons.. My biggest being that we still use our workboxes. Thus the boys all ready know and see what's expected of them. We school together as a family and very rarely is there work that they must take away, at this stage of our schooling, to do on their own. When there is they see it in their workboxes and know to dutifully deal with it. So, I didn't feel the need to write down every detail of our school day, but rather mark off a chunk of time for it.

The same is true of our chore time. All though you may notice that Mr Scarecrow has vacuum written on one day of the week. Other then that you'll notice that it really just mentions Chore Time. Again, this is because we have a chore system that is working for us and our chores change daily. I didn't feel the need to write all that out in the small rectangles of paper.

Did you notice the flip charts hanging from the base of our bulletin board? Those are the kids Chore Charts. Yes, we use to use something different and yes, I blogged about it. The problem was that we found the x's everywhere and the laminate peeling off. These were inspired by Mr Scarecrow and they work amazingly well for us. Each child has two. One is their daily chores (to the right) the other is their weekly chores (to the left). Generally they'll find only 1 weekly chore per day (Saturday has 2 each..) Their daily chores are broken down into Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. The morning chores are the heavy stuff; later it's just tidying up what we've gotten out. Truth be told, if later chores are done properly there's not much for them to do in the morning slots.

An inspiration my children have for not dawdling is extra free time. This is a huge inspiration to them, as they know if they work quickly they will gain extra free time in the morning. They also know that dawdling may end up costing them free time. We also tend to work with timers around here. I know, kinda geeky, but it works for us. Plus, may I just say it's an excellent living math experience and has really helped the kids gain a full understanding of time.

Now, a few side notes.. The book is sold directly through the Maxwell's website. While you can pick it up used you need to know if the scheduling papers and such have been used. Plus, if you're interested in registering your book to give you access to their message boards and other goodies (something I've yet to do) You need a book with the registration form in tact still. They will not reregister a book simply because it's changed hands. This is clearly stated on their website. Would one benefit from their website? I've honestly no idea. While I've poked around it a tiny bit, I've not registered to see what else is available. When we follow our schedule (weeks we school, which means 3 out of 4 in a month) I don't have as much time to fiddle on the computer, and I'd rather spend it doing other things that I feel have higher priority.

Does this schedule work? The schedule is just a silly piece of paper with brightly colored paper stuck to it. That's all it is. It sits there and looks really colorful on your wall. In short, it's just a tool. How well it works is up to you. Our schedule works beautifully for us if I'm up early like I'm suppose to be. That way I can get others up and moving when they need to be.

Are we rigid with the schedule? No way! That'd stress me out and I'd get a migraine. We use it as a guide. There are days when we stick with it more then other times and all those days are fine with us. There are also days when in the evening we may change plans and play a game longer or watch a longer movie starting earlier. Life goes on. I promise, the schedule won't blow up!

Does your Husband like it? My husband helped make the schedule. He likes that his work hours (because he works from home) are set on the schedule. It means no interruptions from the "home office" and that he can give his undivided attention to clients. He was 100% for it as long as it wasn't going to be one of those "we absolutely must do it this way or else it will blow up!" things. In short, it works for us and we like it.


Tristan said...

Hooray for you! It is a beautiful schedule and I love the chore cards hanging below it. I like how you use it on your school weeks and don't worry about it on your free week.

Also, having hubby input is so important! I know mine needed to be on board for the schedule to work as he is home some of our school days too. :)

Having our schedule has given us a rut to run in, which makes life smoother.

Andrea said...

Looks great! I love the color-coded charts. :D Your chore rings and so cute! hmmmm....wondering how I can steal...I mean borrow... those and make them work around here.

Kendra said...

Tristan, yeah, we really enjoy ours :)

Andrea, the chore cards are awesome! lol I seriously had my doubts when dh suggested something they could carry around and flip over, but they work!

Amy in Peru said...

I think we may be kindred spirits when it comes to this schedule thing! Though I do insanely fill in all the boxes to the 15-30 min intervals, that is because I have so many at different ages that I lose my mind not knowing who has done what or needs to do such. Not that we stress over the schedule. Just to know that when I do follow the schedule, I can get at least most of everything done. The days when we follow it are our best school days. But I also have a list of things that need to get done each day in case we get off course as far as time factor goes. My husband also works from home or is in and out and having his work hours scheduled in was a big help to him because the kids know when they can have his attention and when he is busy.

Amy in Peru

Stephanie said...

I'm coming to this post a little late but I love the chore cards. Did you make them yourself or did you find them somewhere? They are brilliant!

Andrea said...


I came across your site while looking for chore charts for my family. I absolutely love the chore cards you made. I had been trying to come up with a way to make and laminate pictures of the daily tasks/chores, but am not savy with clip art etc. You mentioned, that you used a scrapping program. Would you mind sharing which one. I would very easily print out your but of course I want to taylor the cards to fit our needs....The last of our piggies pasted 2 years ago and we now have tortoises....etc. Thanks so much for the creative ideas. Andrea