Welcome to our New Year Homeschool Restart Series! If you are just joining us, here’s what you’ve missed so far:
- HOMESCHOOLING GOT DERAILED BY THE HOLIDAYS? Let’s get Back On Track together!
- Overcoming the AFTER-CHRISTMAS-COMA before the Homeschool Restart!
- Printable FILL-IN-THE-BLANK, COLOR-ME THANK YOU NOTES!
- ~KIDS’ CALENDAR of Verses to Navigate a Volatile World~
- The Homeschool Morning Makeover Part 1: First, LET’S END THE PAJAMA WAR!
The holidays can really wreak some havoc on the Homeschool day . . . and mornings may fare worst of all. Just like those extra holiday pounds, we may have also allowed some sticky holiday habits to really settle in and seep into our Homeschool routine this New Year. Join us this week as we continue to uncover four major morning trouble spots that are bound and determined to unravel the entire Homeschool day!
For our second morning trouble spot . . .
Let’s free Cinderella (hint . . . she’s probably you) !
Yes. You and I are probably Cinderella (or Cinderfella for those of you who are rocking the Homeschool dad thing).
If our kids aren’t helping us with daily household tasks and chores, or at least not consistently so, then we mamas and papas are missing out on one of the major perks of Homeschooling! And we aren’t the only ones who miss out! Our kids also miss out on the opportunity to learn all kinds of “adulting” skills and the privileged possibility of becoming positive, productive members of society. Wow, imagine that.
So, if any of us Homeschool mamas or papas out there are working ourselves to a frazzle each and every morning before “school” —preparing breakfast, tidying up, putting in a load of laundry, setting everything up for the Homeschool day, Cinderelly-Cinderelly-night-and-day-it-Cinderelly— then it’s time to bust out that magic wand and solicit a little support from the . . . little residents of the house.
Freeing Cinderella in Three Shakes
Bibbidi-Bobbidi . . .
BOOKS! ~Our I’m a Helper Reading List~
If I have learned one thing as a mama so far, it would be to never underestimate the power of bibliotherapy. Seriously, books can (basically) conquer all! Want your kids to eat their fruits and veggies? Read them books about gardening and cooking with vibrant illustrations of produce fresh from the farm. Want your kids to get along better? Read them books about kindness and friendship and conflict resolution (by the way, we need a lot more of these titles at our house . . . spoiler alert: our kids are far from perfect in the bickering department). Want your kids to follow God and learn to love Him with all their hearts? Read them the Bible. Want your kids to be helpful around the house? Read them books about happy helpers.
What you read about you think about, and what you think about you bring about. Just skip the lesson/application/lecture portion, in my opinion. In other words, don’t say “see how helpful this little boy is being? He wants to help his mama! Don’t you want to be like him?” I recommend just reading the book without comment and allowing it’s own merit to work some magic.
Here are some of our favorite Helpful Books by age:
~TIDY TOTS (under four)~
- Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
There is no other place in the world that celebrates working together quite like a kitchen!
- We Help Mommy, Little Golden Book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin (included in the Eloise Wilkin Treasury)
Just pure vintage loveliness and charm.
- We Help Daddy, Little Golden Book Illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
Not to leave dad out, this book is every bit as lovely as the mommy version above.
~HAPPY HELPERS (ages 4-6)~
- The Little Red Hen, by Paul Galdone
I don’t think there is any other story that so well illustrates the Biblical principal that “he who does not work, neither shall he eat.”
- The Three Little Pigs (Little Golden Book or Paul Galdone versions are our favorites)
Teach your little ones to go the extra mile and build their house of bricks.
~CLEANING MACHINES (ages 6-8)~
- The Boxcar Children (first book) by Gertrude Chandler Warner
There is nothing quite like having to fend for yourself to inspire a strong work ethic.
- The Little House on the Prairie Series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I can’t think of anyone who makes good, old fashioned work sound so enchanting and thrilling as Laura Ingalls Wilder. And then, of course, Garth Williams makes it LOOK even better still.
~SWEAT SQUAD (ages 8 and up)~
- Where The Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls
This classic treasure celebrates a strong, relentless work ethic and honors the transition from childhood to adulthood in a way that no other book can. That’s at least my take on things. If I had my way, every single child would have this book read to them before they grow up.
Bibbidi-Bobbidi . . .
BUNTING! ~Our Vintage Chore Card System~
We recently gave our chore chart an upgrade with this vintage chore card bunting system I created, and I’m so excited to share it with you! Ok, yes . . . I admit it . . . I’m sort of obsessed with bunting as you may recall from my back-to-school-bunting post last September. In my defense though, bunting is just so stinkin’ cute! And it suggests celebration, which can’t possibly hurt in the whole getting our kids to do their chores thing. Besides being . . . bunting . . . my favorite feature of this chore card system is just how simple and visual it is for our kids. Enjoy!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PUTTING TOGETHER:
1.) Print included pdf file onto white or ivory cardstock (woven linen is our personal favorite)
2.) Choose from the chore card options included as to which chores to assign to your child and add or switch out whenever needed!
3.) Cut out chosen chore cards
4.) Organize chore cards: we ordered our chore cards throughout the day, bookended with a sun and moon to indicate the transition from morning chores, to midday chores, to evening chores. You may decide to break your lines up for different times of day, or include a separate strand for chores to be completed weekly or bi-weekly.
5.) Color your bunting illustrations (optional)
6.) Back your bunting (optional): use included backing template/stencil to trace and cut out cute backings for your bunting and adhere your cards using double sided tape, tape runner, or glue stick.
7.) Hang your bunting line(s): cut a line/yarn that allows enough room for your chosen number of chore cards and has enough leftover to tie off or loop on both ends. Use nails or tacks to hang.
*Suns and moons are optional for designating morning and evening chores
8.) Hang your bunting: you may choose to hang your bunting by punching two holes into the tops of each card and stringing, or you may opt to hang your cards with mini clothespins like we did.
LOTS OF OPTIONS FOR HOW TO USE THESE BUNTING CARDS:
At the start of the day or designated “chore time” window, your child can “mark” chores as “done” several different ways. Choose from below which option you like best, which your child will most enjoy, or whatever sounds easiest:
1.) HANG IT: you may set out the chore cards on a tray or small table each morning or evening, and your child may hang each card when completed. At the end of the day, you or your child can take all of the cards down again in preparation for the next day.
2.) FLIP IT: hang all the bunting by mini clothespins. Each day, when your child completes a task/chore, the card can be flipped and re-pinned blank side up. At the end of the day, you or your child can return all the cards to their “start” or morning position.
3.) STAR IT: cut out stars that your child can pin up as each chore is completed.
4.) PIN IT: if you choose to string your bunting in the traditional way, you could use mini clothespins to be clipped on to the base of each bunting card when completed and then simply remove at the end of the day.
5.) MARK IT: use anything you may already have on hand for your child to move down the row to mark his or her chore progress. Pictured here is a large felt “O” I happened to have.
6.) TAG IT (what we chose to do): use the included backing template/stencil to trace and cut out an “overlay tag”. Punch a hole and make a string loop that can simply be hung or draped over each mini clothespin as your child completes each chore. I put a gold star on ours just because I knew our son would think that was really fun.
*Weekly chores can follow any of the options above as well, and returned to “start” position at the end/beginning of each new week.
Here’s the PDF!
Bibbidi-Bobbidi . . .
BEATS! ~Our Classic Clean-Up Playlist~
Listen . . . Walt Disney was really on to something. Whistling while you work or singing a happy little working song really does make the medicine go down in the most delightful way! But unfortunately, the clean-up playlists out there are far from . . . ummm . . . delightful. Truth be told, I’ve yet to find a kid’s clean-up playlist that doesn’t make me lose my mind. I will never understand why people who make music for kids think that everything needs to sound like chipmunks on Prozac singing along to a synthesized harpsichord. Bleh.
So . . . I made my own! And I’m happy to share it with you!
Here was my criteria in creating this playlist (in case you are curious):
- Only includes songs that I myself actually enjoy listening to!
- Only includes songs of good musical quality (in other words . . . not synthesized crap)!
- Only includes songs that encourages our kids to pick up and inspires a happy attitude.
Here it is! 30 minutes of CLASSIC CLEAN-UP SONGS that won’t make you lose your mind!
Happy whistling while you work!
Thanks for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~