Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

Living on Stewardship Street

on March 13, 2015

IMG_0128.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

..

.

.

.

How can I teach my children to be more helpful around the house?………

Should I be spending more time on habits, and less time on school work?……..

Should my children be paid to help or simply help to be helpful?……..

How would my children benefit from being paid to work?………

.

Our theme in March is “I am Helpful,” and hardworking, responsible, useful, and productive too! As Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord…,” we are practicing helping out around our home with daily chores and spring cleaning, while also working on maintaining enthusiastic attitudes. The children are fledgling spring cleaners, but nevertheless we are attempting to tackle dirty, unorganized, and out of control things such as toy bins, panty shelves, sliding door tracks, school bins, and outdoor weeding. As if the daily chores at home aren’t demanding enough on both our time and our attitudes! Spring cleaning adds a whole new challenging dimension to “working heartily as unto the Lord.” Its our daily chore system however, that has been the biggest “habits” formation component of our kindergarten since implemented 8 months ago. I don’t have all the answers as we are still struggling to make headway in habits, but I would love to share our personal experience thus far in training kids to be helpers at home.

Prior to kindergarten, during the preschool years, my main goal is to have the children simply learn to take care of themselves–like get dressed and wash their own plate–without prompting or prodding. It sounds simple enough, but moms of preschoolers know that this is no small task. They can also help around the house as preschoolers are often eager to do.

Once personal care jobs were successfully accomplished with some regularity by my eldest child, Noah, he moved into lots more “serving the family” type jobs by helping with actual housework, which we decided can be paid work starting in kindergarten. Job training for these “Service Jobs” occured in part during the preschool years, and then the rest, the summer before kindergarten so we would be ready to get started. Its was a gradual progression of acquiring the skills necessary to perform the jobs listed on our board, definitely not an overnight endeavor. Thanks to job training we now spend a considerable amount of time each morning practicing these skills while refining attitudes, and cooperatively getting the house out of chaos before school. I can’t believe school continues to commence at 10:30 in the morning by the time we are done with our “jobs”! However, I am glad that we are putting the time in to work on habits now at this age when school is light, rather than later.

Our Service board show kids what their daily assignments are. Noah is the green markers and Faith is the red markers (clay shaped into hearts).

Our Service Jobs Board helps kids to know with a glance how to help everyday. Noah is the green markers, and Faith the red. Markers are colored clay I make into shapes.

To begin with, I struggled to find the “right answer” as to whether a child should be paid to help, or whether it should be the duty of every family member to serve without expecting to receive any reward. I don’t know that there is one right answer, but we decided that paying our children would provide incredible hands on money learning opportunities (like tithing, saving, and budgeting) that we couldn’t pass up. The Biblical principles in Doorposts’ blog post, Learning Early to Budget, resonated with us, and Doorposts little Stewardship Street book was the product that helped make our decision come to life. We live on Stewardship Street now!

Noah, our 6 year old, now has a “stewardship street” of coin banks, hand painted with love by mommy, one for each category of savings suggested by Doorposts. The Stewardship Street book suggests making milk carton banks and dressing them up as buildings with the patterns the book provides. However, painted birdhouses also work well as coin banks, and are sturdier than milk cartons. I think Noah’s set turned out really cute! Noah’s Stewardship Street has proved to be a wonderful learning experience this year. At Christmas time, Noah was able to use his hard earned money from his gift store coin bank (short term savings) to buy a few friends and siblings Christmas gifts from the dollar store. From saving and counting up his own money, to shopping and paying for his own gifts, to wrapping and delivering his own gifts–it was quite a learning experience in so many ways for our then 5 year old boy! He was so enthusiastic and I have never seen his heart so into giving.

We are learning memory verses that teach our children the Biblical reasons to save in each of the 7 categories. This month for example, we are learning the verse for our Living Expenses bank (clothing store) : “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10. By the end of the school year we will have memorized a verse that teaches about each coin bank, which helps give meaning and understanding to each one.

IMG_0054

Short Term Savings–a gift store
Dowry–a cozy home
Long Term Savings–a rocket (future dreams)
Living Expenses–a clothing store
Charity and Missions–a lighthouse
Tithing–a church
Spending–a toy store

Right now we pay just a dime per job well done, and double pay for a job well done without any complaining ($.20). This usually adds up to about 6 dimes per day total, and Noah drops 1 dime each into 6 different coin banks every morning (until he can use math to figure percentages, we are keeping allocations to each coin bank equal so that it is easy). We figured that paying dimes is affordable and helps a kindergartener learn to count by 10’s. At this rate, Noah will have $3 each month to buy a toy from his “Spending Bank” savings, or save up all year for a bigger toy, like an inexpensive lego set, for example. It pricks my heart a little bit that he has to work so hard for seemingly so little. However, all 7 savings categories are important, and being faithful to each area teaches better financial stewardship than say, letting our child put 50% of his earnings towards buying things he wants for himself. Its a rude awakening when we have to grow up one day and realize that often the reality is we can/should only spend a little bit on ourselves, which is especially difficult if we are used to spending so much of our earnings all on ourselves throughout childhood.

But what if paying my children prevents them from truly serving? What if they only want to help around the house because there is pay in it?  Should there be times that they simply help to be helpful? Yes, that is the answer my heart settled on–there must still be times for them to exercise selfless serving with no expectation of monetary reward. For one thing, we have chosen not to pay on weekends. Mommy may also ask anytime for help with anything besides what is assigned on the Service Job Board, and the kids lend a hand without being paid. We also have designated times to simply practice serving from our heart. We set the timer for 30 minutes and call it “Observe and Serve Time.” (see below). Also, I encourage the kids to do a “Secret Serve,” which is doing something helpful for someone in secret.

This “Job” hierarchy below details my thoughts on the progression of learning to serve. Success in one level may indicate greater readiness for operating in the next level. :

“Jobs”

Taking care of oneself everyday. Unpaid.

(washing and dressing, pick up own toys, wash own dishes,

clean own room, put away own laundry)

“Service Jobs”

Assigned jobs that help the family everyday. Paid.

(vacuuming the living room, wiping the table, dusting,

helping cooking a meal, sorting laundry, etc.)

“Observe and Serve Time”

Time set aside on select days to practice using our powers of observation

to look around and see what needs to be done, and then do it for each other.

No assigned jobs, work comes from the heart and of one’s own volition. Unpaid.

“True Serving”

Child/Teen finds needs all day long and meets them without being told what to do.

Training in the 3 previous levels is no longer needed once he/she is a true servant.

Consistently shows a true servants heart. Periodically rewarded in some way.

.

 What is your chore system? How do you encourage the habit of helpfulness at home?

IMG_0035

    Sewing up his heart for Doris

IMG_0050

    D is for Doris

IMG_0065

Swan babies love Daddy swan

IMG_0127

Faith decides to write a note

IMG_0018

Noah starts trying to read his Bible. “A dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

IMG_0042

Daniel enjoying some nut butter

IMG_0053

Helper Noah

IMG_0121

My girl building at Home Depot

IMG_0058

Helpers Faith and Daniel Team Up

IMG_0109

Brothers Reading

IMG_0007

Our helper theme board. “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: