Saturday, December 26, 2009

Money Math

So far this year, we've been cruising along with our Math U See books. Both boys have finished with lesson 7, so I decided to start some 'other' math. I have MOTL and one of the things I wanted to start working on with them is counting money. Pooh, although 12, still has a terrible time with money. I just don't think he's especially motivated with it. So, we're going to be working on it for a little while, then I'll drop it, then we'll work on it again. That's how we do things with Pooh that are difficult for him. He needs breaks in between to process what he's learned. It seems to help when we get to his edge of understanding/ability, leave the subject, then come back to push it again later. It has worked with shoe tying, bike riding, speech and reading. I figure it should work with math too.

The first thing I did (a suggestion in MOTL) was about two months ago when I set up a box for each boy for their money. In it we have envelopes for them to put their money into. The envelopes are labeled as follows: Spending, Bank Savings, Donations, Gift Giving. I thought that was sufficient for my boys' ages and the amount of money they receive ($10 per month). If your children are older and/or receive more money, you may wish to add more envelopes. Some make an envelope for different expenses such as the care of a pet.

Their allowance isn't based on chores, it's just for being part of the family. (It saves me having to say no when they ask for things--they learn some money management--they can learn to buy gifts for others, etc, etc) However, they started to realize how long it was taking for them to earn money for things so we instituted some 'Work' they could do for extra pay. They can earn $1 for each wheelbarrow of pine needles they rake, pick up and take to a designated spot. The King paid them $5 each (a little much for my taste) to spend the afternoon helping shovel snow off the the driveway. A cool thing the King did with that was treat them as employees. Pooh, especially, have I been trying to make understand that certain behaviors and attitudes aren't acceptable for people in the real world. You can get fired. He ended up with two warnings while working with Dad and almost got fired. He stuck with it though and I guess it worked out between them because no one came in with an attitude problem. Some other chores we've worked out prices for are:

Vacuum van-$1
Pulling weeds-$2 for each wheelbarrow full
Poop patrol-.50 each bag full
Window cleaning-.25 for two windows

I'm sure we'll be adding to these over time. I'm trying to be careful that they don't expect to get paid for everything they do. I may still ask them to help me paint gates in the summer or whatever and that's just going to be part of the family chores. However, if they are ready to earn some extra money and are willing to do the job I assign, they will get paid.

Both of them tend to want to buy something on every field trip we participate in. I'm trying to teach them that they can wait and save up for the bigger items they like as opposed to the gratification of getting little things on a regular basis, but right now it's an uphill battle.

This week we've been actually working with change. I borrowed a book from the library called The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Williams. She very gradually takes them through the value of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, dollar coins and a one dollar bill. Through the photos and the actual coins I had (yes, I did have a half-dollar and dollar coins) we made change in various ways. We practiced counting by 5's and 10's. We counted to 100 with pennies. I think we took about 4 days to go through all the pages of the book. You could go slower, but we went through about 4-6 pages a day depending and I think it was an ok pace. It's interesting that Tigger is able to understand the value of money even at his age, so I have some hope that Pooh will pick up more on it this time. One of the things I tested was whether they could understand that 25 pennies and one quarter were the same. I asked them which was more by holding them in each hand. They both got confused so we counted it all out with a couple of different situations to try to make them understand better that you are trading coins as opposed to getting more/less money. We hopefully understand a bit more about working with change. LOL Tomorrow I'm hoping to put all that into practice by setting up a little store. The boys thought that was a cool idea! I hope it goes well.

Update: We tried the store thing and Pooh was freaking out trying to count the change all together. Sooooo, we've backed up and each day we've been just taking some change and practicing counting it up all together. I do some too that involves adding enough money that I have two or three dollars plus change. I think he's finally got the .25, .50, .75, 1.00 down! Whew!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Autumn Nature Sights

Some type of nest as of yet unidentified...
The towhee I only see once or twice per year. And, yes, despite the snow it is autumn in this photo.
The Great Blue Heron that I used my new camera with---big time zoom needed he was so far away!
We saw a little group of Hooded Merganser at that same pond.
My guys on a family walk.

A walking stick battle ensues!!!

A protected marsh area with the city stores you can see in the background. I haven't seen much wildlife over here the last couple of visits. I'm hoping the beaver is still around and that the ducks still visit.
A strange fungi.

Checkout a close up of it--very different. Can't identify it yet. Is it considered a mushroom???

I love this one! It looks like you could pluck it off the tree and use it as a fancy ladies hat. LOL

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Thousand Words

Trouble shooting having to vacuum. Pooh thinks it's a little too noisy so he finds some ear muffs. LOL

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You Just Have to Laugh

I mentioned van issues the last time. Well. I'll start by saying that the original problem is probably no big deal. A hose needs replacing--it's old, expanded and doesn't grip like it should. The King discovered this when he came home that day. He's planning on a tune up for both vehicles now.

In the process we managed to create a comedy skit. Hub works on van in the dark when home from work--tells wife to take van for a test drive---wife begins backing out of the driveway---hub watches wife back into his truck---truck is ok---bike rack on back of van puts enough pressure on back window to make it implode.

You just have to laugh.

I got the window fixed-$100 later. The glass man scared me so bad about all the things I couldn't do with the van for about 72 hours that I just drove the King's truck around for the next two days. After which we ended up caught in the Snowstorm of 2009 with 6 inches of snow! I was traipsing around town in hub's loud (needs a muffler and some other part to make the squeaking stop) truck hunting down sleds. I could only find snowboards in my first go round so I got two of those for the boys and then did end up finding a plastic sled and circle sled. Which was great for them. Not so great for the mom who decides she'll try snowboarding.

Sigh. I fell HARD on my butt and ended up with my hip out of place. The next morning I got my period and was sick coughing hard enough to make my muscles hurt each and every time. Plus you know what happens to female bladder control after two kids, right? Coughing!?! Not fun!

You just have to laugh.

We were seriously thrilled we got the snow. It is rare to get a good snow in these parts, especially in December. Here are some photos of our Excellent Snow Adventure!

Tigger's Snow Canoe

Pooh and The King

My littlest snowboarder. He did great!

Pooh tried this more than once!!! Even though he fell down halfway down the hill he tried it about 4-5 times. Excellent, Dude!!!

Laying out in the snow.

No, there are no photos of me falling on my butt. Sorry to disappoint. LOL

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Homeschool Day at Biltmore

We took this trip the beginning of October. You get a FABULOUS deal when you go on homeschool day! I had a dinky camera the day we went but I don't think there's any way to show in just pictures just how immense, beautiful and cool this place is anyway. I will definitely be heading back there some day--if nothing else than to just enjoy the gardens.

Creating a coat of arms. (part of the special homeschool activities of the day)

Trying on period hats.

Having fun sitting on an old tractor at the farm (where they made some ice cream and had samples!)

The Kitchen Gardens--an area I'd love to return to in 'season'.

Can't remember if this was bocce or cricket. Anyway, they had some nice outside activities as well.

At the ponds. Mom is praying that Tigger doesn't fall in.

A side view of the house. Also, you can see the little tents set up with different activities for the kids. There were table etiquette rules, writing skills demonstrated, period toys, etc.

Holding his first baby chick at the farm.

Tigger running with some of the chickens. They had so many different kinds that were very funny looking.

Wanna go now? I thought so. :D

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crazy Day and Field Trip Photos

Well, today was eventful. It started out pretty normal. The boys got their morning routines and chores done while I took care of family finances and some other computer business. We had scheduled to meet with some homeschoolers for a Board Game day (we all bring board games and the kids just play the ones they want). A friend showed up early to my house and we were getting things together for me to take off with my boys and one of hers, when my van decided to stop working. RPM is not holding like it should. So we all piled into her vehicle so she could drop us off at the meeting location. I couldn't get a hold of the King because they had rerouted his phone calls to some weird new voice mail. I finally just dialed a similar number that I knew would reach someone in the company and asked the nice lady to find my husband for me so I could talk to him. LOL Then I get there and have a 'discussion' with another mom who insisted she knew which way was North (she was wrong). ;D Her "internal compass" must have checked out for the day. Hee Hee Thank you Charlotte Mason! I'm observant of direction because I'm teaching it to the children. A Formidable List of Attainments for a child of six?!?

Anyhoo, I'm home now. I managed to avoid a Pooh meltdown too. I thought he would have a cow because he couldn't look at books at the library today (we were waiting to be picked up by the friend whose son I was watching) but he handled it. He showed appropriate disappointment and that was it. Now I need to get in gear for dinner and kitchen duty for me.

Here are a few photos of a field trip we did this fall at a local military park and education center.

All the boys preparing for their own battle.

Finding cannons in the woods.

After that we did a walk/bike ride for a few miles up and down some great hills (if you had a bike anyway).

Preparing for another battle with little men.

A little bit of nature thrown in. It was a beautiful autumn day. These swans were munching away in a pond along the walkway.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm still alive...

We're all still alive and kicking. I tend to go on a hiatus every once in a while. I guess it's my way of recooping from a busy life.

We're coming down off of Pooh being a 'bear' and not in the cute and cuddly way. I did some looking for nutritional supplements, etc and am trying some new things. Phosphytidlserine is one new one and a liquid Behavior Balance is another (B6 & DMG). I've gotten them their oils again because we had run out. Pooh is taking lithium orotate to see if that will help as well. In addition to that, he is on a new homeopathic. He's been better the last couple of weeks, so maybe these things are helping. One can hope.

Truth to tell, I haven't even kept up with reading blogs I normally read. Life is busy and I am less motivated to read and write about stuff. I did get a new camera and got a fabulous deal on it, so when I'm able to get a post in I'll be able to include photos. Yeah! LOL In fact, let's just include one for the hay of it.

There were also about two weeks the beginning of this month that I was dealing with extreme fatigue myself. That put a big damper on what I got done around here, which wasn't much. I'm not sure of the cause, but I'm trying to watch my diet better.

School is plugging along despite everything. The boys have plenty of activities to participate in (drama, atheletics, field trips, art, etc). We have a wrinkle coming that we'll be getting used to. The King will be working from home some as part of a pilot program to see if that will work for the company he's with. Having Dad home could be a big distraction and since it's starting this Thursday be prepared for some screaming on my part. On the other hand, it can be handy to have Dad around too. It'll definitely be one of those adventures that you just have to experience to see how it's going to go.

Well, that's my update for now. I'll try to post some photos of the boys' activities soon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Productive Day

7am--Eyes pop open after repeated slaps at my snooze button. Get the King up and make hot tea. Check email quickly, then start waking the munchkins.

7:45--Boys are busy doing morning routines. Finally start eating breakfast at 8:20. I instruct them to do only 1 of their chore cards and then head downstairs to start school.

9:20--Boys start Tote work and I'm doing laundry down there with them. Mozart playing in the background. Checking and helping with math. Working on AVKO spelling, copywork and phonics. After Tote work, Tigger gets in his narration while Pooh does another chore card or two. Then they switch places.

11:10--We are taking a 20 minute break. I check email again, cook up bacon for our dinner soup, make a veggie dip and cut up broccoli for lunch. (we don't eat lunch quite yet)

11:30--Do our Together work which consists of bible study/reading, daily text, recitation, reading of Pinnochio, reading Woods Walk (doing the autumn in the east part) and poetry.

12:30--lunch time. I finish putting together a potato soup. Start loaf of bread in my bread machine but it starts making a huge clunking sound so I take it out and finish kneading, then set it to rise. Head outside to plant pansies and cut back my poor French Lavender bush (maybe too much rain this year?? It's dying back in parts. It looks awful now that I've cut it back so much but will hopefully look better soon.)

2:30--Back inside. Boys had played 30 minutes of video games and when I came in, they were sneaking a show. I made them turn it off. Pooh had a meltdown. Got Penalty chores. Had another meltdown. By 3:30 we talked and got it all sorted out. I punched down the bread and set to rise again. Blended the potato soup with my immersion blender, seasoned it well (added the bacon) then turned it off.

4:15--Off to Art for Pooh. He's got to finish his pastel of Napoleon on a horse. Listen to WT on the way there. (40 minute drive) Drop Pooh off. Tigger and I go to our nature walk place and got rained out by an afternoon thunderstorm. We did see two rainbows though! Head to Sears to check on their cameras. Messed around with a couple and got the 'feel' for them.

6:00--Pick up Pooh and talk with Art teacher a bit. Head to Target to see their camera prices--same as Sears. Boys got distracted when they saw the Star Trek Enterprise ships. Got out of the store quick. Listened to Anderson Fairy Tale on the way home (The Sweethearts and The Ugly Duckling.)

7:00--Got home. Bread rose beautifully. Told the King that this is my most beautiful loaf of bread ever and I can't take a picture of it. Heated up soup. Did some dishes pre-dinner.

8:15--Bread is done. Eat dinner. Boys pick up basement. I do some research. Then we have family study. Boys practice two tunes I've taught them on our keyboard. (I can't believe they remembered them! It's been two weeks since they last practiced!!!)

9:45--Basement pick up. I check email and blogs. Hub is in bed now I think. I need to finish kitchen and get to bed.

I wish every day would go this well.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Boo Hoo

(Edited to add: I just heard a crash in the kitchen. Guess who is helping with the dishes? The King just broke a ceramic spoon. Tigger feels so much better about himself now. LOL)

I'm in mourning. My wonderful digital camera through which you may have enjoyed many a blog post (I know I enjoyed blogging them.) hit a rock and ended up in a stream yesterday. Can I just say, "Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh"? I bought it on Amazon in the spring for $110. I looked last night and another seller (not Amazon itself) is selling them for $277!!! The same camera! Another "Waaaaahhhh".

How did it happen? Well, it was ultimately my fault. I made the choice to allow my little Tigger to take a picture with it. Most of the time when he asks to take a picture I tell him 'No'. This time I thought 'I'm right here. He's wearing the wrist strap. What could go wrong?' Frankly, I don't know how he did it. One minute he had it in his hand, the next it was sailing right by me into the stream. I should have known better.

The boy is like his father, poor thing. When The King and I were engaged, his friends warned me what a klutz he was. I thought they were exaggerating. Hah! They weren't. Two sets of glasses, plates and a couple of souvenirs from France later and I knew they were right. And that's just what I remember! (I love you, Honey! ;D)

Tigger was very upset himself. He even said later when we saw some pretty berries on a bush, "Too bad we can't take a picture of them." He was also horribly offended when I told him I just couldn't let him use my cameras anymore. I explained that this is something he inherited from Dad (Genes are wonderful things aren't they? Heavy sarcasm!) and that until he had better control over himself and his movements, he wouldn't be able to touch them again. (From experience, I'm thinking he won't be ready till he's like, ya know, 35.) I told him that I wasn't really upset with him, I was upset about his camera. He did feel really bad!

I had some wonderful nature things to share too! We had left Pooh at Art and went to a local Bog Garden to look for mushrooms. It's been wet here in the Southeast lately and I thought it would be a good time to see them. We found lots! I was even taking pictures of different bushes with some gorgeous berries on them. I wanted to label them if I could. We found TWO snakeskins in the stream! Tigger was so excited. We fished them out and he was taking a picture of me holding the second one (on a stick) when the fateful event occurred. (Another "Waaaaahhhh". Every time I think about it I want to cry!)

The camera lens wouldn't retract. All the windows were fogged up. The King opened it all up last night and is letting it dry. We'll see what happens. I'm not even sure if I managed to salvage the little card thingy with the pictures on it. I took it out right away hoping it would dry and be ok.

Here is the one I'm looking at if I have to buy a new one. Here is my old one. Opinions are welcomed. I'm a novice photographer, but I've found that I love it. I love snapping photos and hoping for that one that really captures joy and/or beauty. I love the zoom features so I can catch the details of the flowers and plants that I photo. What I really want? That one on the commercials with Ashton Kutcher (spelling?). I know, I'm a sucker for advertising, but MAN! that camera is awesome!

Tigger and I moved on in our walk after the event. We had fun when we found some Touch-Me-Nots beside the path. Some of the seed pods were ready. We touched, they popped and I screamed. Every time. LOL We found some pieces of bread that another lady had left and fed them to the ducks. We saw a chipmunk. By the time we got home, he (at least) was over it. I, on the other hand, am wearing black today.


(Photos in this post are from ones already loaded into my computer.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Carrot Cake Math

I had some carrots that were past prime so I decided to make carrot cake today. I printed out the Carrot Cake III recipe from (It's ok. I didn't fine it cakey enough though. Plus it cooked waaaay faster than what was indicated.)

First I had the boys help with the grating of the carrots. They are a little timid with the grater as it can 'get' you if you're not careful. However, they managed pretty well. We ended up with 6 cups of shredded carrots. The recipe only called for 3 cups. Sooooo, we worked on doubling the recipe.
Pooh really hasn't paid all that much attention when I've done baking with him before as to 1/2 cups, teaspoons, etc. Frankly, he was only barely paying attention today. What made him work for it was the doubling. He didn't know how to think out the problems so I did a lot of scaffolding. I had him read the recipe and we kept going over how "We need 4 eggs for one cake, but we're doing 2 cakes, so how many do we need?" Same thing with teaspoons of cinnamon. "It says 2 tsps. That's for one cake, but we're doing 2 cakes." Lots of long pauses to see if he'll figure it out. When he needed help I'd say, "This cake has 2 tsps. The second cake needs 2 tsps. How many tsps is that?" Pooh needed all of this to be slow and deliberate. There were a couple of times when frustration started to get the best of him, but we quickly worked it out and managed to keep him in his 'zone'.

The other thing we tried was working on what 1/2 is. How many 1/2 cups do we need to make 1 cup? We took the 1/2 cup and filled it twice to show how it is equal to 1 cup. We went over it several times. With the shredded carrots, with the flour, with the oil, with the salt (using the teaspoon).
Did he really get it? Probably not. We'll have to be doing a lot more baking for that to happen. Sometimes he got sidetracked by Tigger yelling out wrong answers. LOL Then sometimes Tigger would actually remember how to do it and he'd get it right. I have a few pictures that I'll add into this post. However, I was too busy trying to get two rowdy boys to focus and not make a huge mess to take many photos.

P.S. Uh, the Icehouse is mine. Product of a long day baking with two young boys. ;D

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anniversay 2009

Our anniversary was last week. 14 years we've been married. Pretty cool. Fabulous, even! I decided that this year I wanted to introduce the boys to 'how to celebrate your parent's anniversary'. They never really had a clue before last year. Pooh has taken a while to even notice or question what it meant. Lately, however, he's been reading the calendar and commenting on the anniversaries I write on there. This year they got a lesson in gift giving, money, shopping and fancy dinners.

First off, I explained what we were going to do. They each got their money and money pouches ready for the shopping excursion. Tigger knew from the start that he wanted to get me a ring. I took them to Walmart. LOL We looked at the jewelry, talked about prices, tried on rings and discussed how they would have to have some money for Dad's gift too. Tigger and I agreed on a ring (one of his choices was a seriously huge monstrosity that I would never have worn. Ok, well maybe a couple of times if he'd picked it by himself and given it to me.) Then it was Pooh's turn. I did have to direct him to looking at things *I* would like, not him. Finally, he chose a necklace with 'MOM' on it.

We had quite a time finding Dad's gift. Men are really hard to shop for. We ended up at Lowe's where they found an organizer for nails and whatnot. Dad also received some new work gloves and a ring with 'DAD' on it. That was Pooh's suggestion.

Here are some photos of our evening:

We went shopping one day for the gifts and the next for the dinner supplies. We bought flowers. I made pork chops, black beans, rice, tomato & avocado salad, tostones and maduros. It was nummy. We also purchased wine and new wine glasses.

The boys were happy to use the wine glasses with GRAPE juice in them.

The King bought the lovely yellow lilies.

And here are the gifts from the boys. There were so proud of themselves. :D I bought cards so they could give those. They each did their own card writing though. Very sweet!

14 years later...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Reading Lesson

I haven't worked much on reading with Tigger. I've read several things on not pushing reading (like some schools tend to do) due to brain/visual maturity, especially for boys. Charlotte Mason also did not recommend formal lessons before a child was six. Although I still find her reading instructions a bit vague, I am trying to do gentle instruction and have taken some suggestions from others who've used her method a lot longer than I have. Here is one of the clearest explanations I've found.

We have been doing some pre-reading exercises though. He loves to rhyme words now. It took a little for him to understand the concept. He kept trying to give me words that started with the same letter. LOL Now, for the most part, he will rhyme correctly. Tigger is not a memorizer so still will forget the names of letters or forget what sound they make. I think his little brain is too busy. When he is trying to remember something, he sits and says the same thing over and over again trying to keep it in his head. Don't distract him during this time!

Lately he has been really upset when we have family study time or during meeting preparation about the fact that he can't read yet. He said yesterday that "When I learn to read, then I can read the whole bible and can learn about God all by myself."

It's time to teach the boy some formal lessons. So today we started with a very simple 5-10 minute lesson. I used the white board and presented 'at'. Then I simply stated "This is the word 'at'. Now watch what I'm going to do." I then wrote the word 'cat'. Well, once he saw how it worked, he LOVED it! We did 'at' words and then we did 'in' words. He's very ready for his next reading lesson tomorrow.

It will be a review of 'at' and 'in' and then I'll start on 'en' and 'un'.

How exciting! He gave me a hug and said "Thank you Mommy for teaching me how to read!". So Sweet! When Dad came home he had me write words on the board again so he could read them for Dad. I then wrote on the board (just for fun) 'The cat sat on a mat.' (Yes, I know, a very twaddly sentence.) He loved that too. I just told him the three words he didn't know. Then we changed it to 'The cat sat on a hat.' LOL

I guess the phonics tiles will be doing double duty for a while. I have those famous LeapFrog videos to review with him too. He'll be soooo excited!

Working On A Smoother Day

I've been experimenting with our system of doing school to try to make it a little more organized and streamlined. It's still a work in progress, but I thought I'd share what we're doing so far.

I had considered doing a form of the workbox system with Sterilite drawers I had purchased. But I let them sit there in the school room and kept thinking and thinking, finally discussing my whole dilemma with the King. I want to have a sorta, kinda workbox system. However, I am sooo not going to be filling workboxes each day. My goal was to come up with a system that I take care of once per week and then spend the rest of the days doing the work and having fun with other things.

I looked at different ways other moms have set up their systems. One thing that really caught my eye was Ginger's Setup for her Schedule Cards. I don't have the schedule cards set up AT ALL yet. First I wanted to try my plan and see how it all works.

Here is my bookshelf with a basic idea of my plan. There is a shelf for each boy. I have combined two different set-up systems. First you can see that each of the boys has a tote. This is for work they do every day such as: Math, Explode the Code, Copywork, Spelling, etc. Next you will notice that I have a couple of magazine holders on each shelf. I'm trying out using these for weekly work. I'll be getting some more magazine holders from Amazon and they each will have a set of 5 holders labeled Monday through Friday. In the holders is where I'll put their narration books for each day and any other activity that they need to complete. That includes their extras like music, art, handiwork, etc. I also have different games and manipulatives (and other things) that will be used more with this system.

I tried turning cereal boxes into holders but they are making the boxes differently now and the books just don't fit, although they are useful for smaller items. If something is too big for the holder, I'll just put a card or something in there with instructions on what to do. Then at some point, I'll have their schedule cards set up so they will have their 'Tote Work' their 'Weekly Work' and their 'Work with Mom" work interspersed with other things such as little exercises, snack time, etc.

It sounds sort of complicated explaining it, but it's very easy to implement so far. Their totes are almost always the same. Not usually much I have to change right now. Their weekly holders are easy to fill and they just put it on their desk, do the work and move on to working with me. I'm moving slowly on this because I want to be sure I like the setup. Too many times I've been really excited at an idea and been stumped along the way with unexpected obstacles that make the idea difficult to implement. I have to move slowly to allow myself to process what is working and what isn't.

Here is Pooh working with his Tote. Each assignment is divided with hanging folders. I found some hanging folders that are like bucket folders and I use that for his math. He's using Math U See and keeps his DVD in there for when it's time for the next lesson. No more hunting it down.

Tigger and his tote. He's got an old school desk someone gave me. In the storage area underneath he keeps his boxes of pencils, color pencils and scissors, etc. When he uses his tote he slides the lid under the chair out of the way.

The sit down work really doesn't last long. Weekly work usually is with me for narration and then we work on whatever extra for the day (nature study, art, etc.) The Work with Mom work is bible reading, recitation, poetry and any other spiritual study and reading we have assigned.

We are still a bit bumpy with our schedule but at least now I have a basic road laid down. The more we travel that road the more the bumps will get smoothed out I'm sure. When I ever finish the set up with holders and labels, I'll take pictures and post those too.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chore Organization--Part 2 The COAR System

We have a split level house with a half basement. The stairs going from the kitchen to the basement have some nice large walls that were doing nothing so I turned them into a Scheduling Station.

This is the Notes side. Each of the boys has their own white board. This is NOT for them to write on. This is for Dad and I to leave them comments and write down any penalty chores they've earned. We always hope for them to have only the 'inspirational' notes, but there are days when extras must be thrown up there. I always make the positive comments in black because it's a bolder color that stands out. The penalty chores are written in their corresponding color (blue or green) because it's lighter and the idea is that it is less noticeable. I want them to focus on the positive as opposed to the negative. There's also a purple board that Dad and I can leave notes/memos to each other on.

A close-up of Pooh's board. Notice my "resilience sentence" that I leave for him. He's washing a few walls today.

This is my arena. I have my Flylady calendar on a peg board. I also pegged a little basket to it to hold my pen/pencil and some white board wipes. I can also use the peg board to hold invitations, lists, etc if I choose.

Underneath my peg board are these hangers again. These hold the Chore Cards. These aren't as easily flipped because I put them on a key holder (can't remember the name of those things). This way the boys can take their cards with them as they travel from one chore to the next. They attach them to their belt loops. They don't have pictures so Tigger comes and checks in with me to make sure of what to do next.

The chore cards are broken up into areas: kitchen duty, laundry duty, bathroom duty, 2 different bedroom duty cards, animal duty, basement duty, livingroom duty. Each area is broken down into daily chores and weekly chores. They do the weekly chores with me on an as needed/as we get to them basis. My goal is to train them in doing different things around the house and putting weekly chores on the cards tells me who to focus on for a particular job when I'm ready. The cards are grouped into two so they each get 4 areas each week. The next week they switch.

Here's a sample of what is on a card. (once again, 3x5 index cards covered with contact paper)

Bathroom Duty

Daily Chores—Do as needed all day.

  • Clean toilet.
  • Clean sink.
  • Pick up towels & clothes.
  • Sweep floor.

Weekly Chores—Do once per week or as instructed by Mom and Dad.

  • Mop floor.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Scrub bathtub.
  • Dust ceilings/walls.
Throw rugs in hamper

I hope to one day figure out the file sharing thing and get some of my documents available to you. I just have to pick a file sharing site that I can trust.

One thing I haven't quite decided yet, is if I'm going to continue having them work on chores before school or what. I only require the daily ones before school but at this time, they goof around so much that it's taking too long. My first goal is to get us consistently started earlier in the day and then I'll be better able to tell what to do with timing of the chores.

It's interesting to see which chores that each excels at. Pooh always remembers his laundry duty and does really well at it. Tigger has kept the bathroom sink very neat this week! Once Tigger got over screaming about the bees, he's been fine with animal duty. It was quite hairy there for a while though! They are both lax lately with their bedroom duties. I feel a weekend cleanup coming on!

Hope these posts give you all some ideas. I know that I found other bloggers' posts invaluable in deciding what I was going to do.