Household Chores Can be Fun School Projects – We Hope :-)

March 16, 2009

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It’s not homeschooling that is so hard, per se, it’s all the extra housework.  My house is being lived in, spilled in, colored in, eaten in, and on and on, all day long, when most other kids are in school.  This means more housework that the average family.

How is all this extra housework a plus?

  • Responsibility:  The kids are tortured blessed with many more opportunities to learn to clean up after themselves and take care of their things than their school-going friends.  Seriously, though, you have to work out a way to share the household responsibilities if you don’t want to dissappear under mountains of laundry.  I think this is valuable life training for the kids that teaches them accountability, how to self-start, and prepares them for that first college dorm or apartment of their own.

Here are some ideas to make it fun:


Don’t waste school time doing sorting worksheets in a math book when you have real life!  When you start looking you’ll be amazed how much of your housework is sorting!

  • Sorting groceries – When you come home from shopping make putting away the groceries a sorting game.  Throw in a timer and if everything is on it’s right shelf before time is up, share a treat or game together.  (Knowing where all the ingredients are comes in handy next time you send someone for a can of something while cooking dinner.)
  • Sorting laundry – Start when their young, and kids actually think playing the “Who’s shirt is this?” game is fun.  A bit of silliness pretending Daddy’s shirt belongs to the baby goes a long way with the 3-year-old crowd.
  • Sorting toys into containers of ‘sets’ like Legos, cars, outdoor toys, etc.
  • Sorting everything off the floor of their room into separate piles:  clothing, toys, trash, books, and bedding.

“I can do it myself.” 

Kid’s may stop saying this after age 2, but I don’t believe they stop thinking it.  I think kids of all ages long to feel appreciated for their work and have confidence that they can do a challenging task well.  Here are a few ideas to share the household work at the same time you help your children to learn:

  • Picking out clothes to wear – Get over your fashion sense and let your kids wear what they can pick out and put on themselves.  If there are some particularly horrendous choices, you may want to do a clothing class about plaids, patterns, and colors and which ones go together the best – but at a different time than when they are dressing.
  • Cooking, plus how to use the stove and a sharp knife – These are great skills and confidence builders for the ‘Tween’ crowd.  Plus, food preparation takes a huge chunk of a busy mom’s time.  Share the duties as soon as your kids are able.  Check out this article about the lessons kids learn in the kitchen.
  • Encourage older kids to help out younger siblings:  Reading stories, with their ‘chores’ like cleaning up toys, getting dressed, playing games with them, etc.  They develop confidence and responsibility, plus it helps develop close relationships between siblings.
  • Event planning:  Put the kids in charge of planning their own birthday party, a playdate, parts of a vacation.  It may be extra work teaching them how to do it the first few times, but it will pay off in less work later and again, more confidence building life skills for your kids.

Basically, homeschooling is life and life is homeschooling.  If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to get done, stop doing it by yourself.  Look at your kids, involve them in your life, your work, your chores.  You are a family making a home and learning about life together, not by yourself.  And, amazingly, you’ll find that common household tasks have a lot to teach your children.  Here are some from our house:


Making herbal ointment 


Picking garden veggies.


Pounding bread is a favorite at our house!  Check out the following video:

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Posted under Homeschool Activities, Parenting


7 Comments so far

  1. Olympia May 6, 2009 3:45 pm

    Great post! I find that once I get my daughter going on tasks, she’s waiting for the next thing on the list. Of course, that’s when she’s in that type of mood. But When she thinks we’re working together to get all the tasks done, she’s really motivated.

    I recently had surgery on my finger (I play pro-basketball and dislocated it during a game) so I told my daughter she graduated to full-time dish duty. Surprisingly she embraced the opportunity to help me out during my time of need.

  2. Tam April 9, 2009 3:55 am

    Here are two things we’ve been doing for a while that add fun to “chores.” I didn’t create these, but thought to share in case you hadn’t heard of them.

    All you need is an extra poofy sponge and water gun for each kid and the soap or shampoo you have on hand. Put the kiddo(s) in swim suit or clothes you don’t mind getting wet, then let them fill the tub an inch or two (make sure you have safety strips or mats in there!) and let them go to town. Use the poofy sponge to write on the walls and then scrub them down, use the water guns to clear the slate and start over. This is especially fun in middle of winter months when they can’t go swimming often and so my boys think of it as a real fun treat type of thing, not a chore. The soap/shampoo is already on hand, you don’t need a lot and it won’t hurt their skin. Not only is is “safer” it is also less expensive than buying tub cleaners! Let’s not forget that busy moms will have clean kids and a clean tub/shower, so it’s also a time saver.

    I do an adult version, by keeping an extra poofy in my shower. Each time I’m in there I take a minute or two to scrub down a section of the shower. I’m already getting wet anyway and a minute each day is easier than scrubbing my weekends away.

    Take that basket of unmatched socks, divide them up and play Go Socks (a socky version of Go Fish). We use our recycled grocery bags to “hide” our socks from other players and the extra socks are place in a case in middle of all of us and we have to reach in without looking. The winner (one who has the most matches) gets a small treat. It might be some bubble gum (my boys are into it now that they’ve learned how to make bubbles) or to play a video game/board game with the other players or to make a special treat for the family. I try to mix up the prize/treat so it’s a mix of for them and for the family (to teach them to share).

  3. Misty March 17, 2009 7:10 am

    I hope moving isn’t too much of a pain for you. I still shudder at the idea! Hey – if your kids are home and they’re learning something = homeschooling! We all do it. Yes, I think the elbows are too cute, too!

  4. Jill March 17, 2009 12:25 am

    Thanks for the ideas! Nathan is off-track for 3 weeks, so even though we don’t homeschool, it kind of feels like we do right now. I’ve been needing to get the kids more involved with cleaning- especially while we’re packing up to move, and showing our place to prospective renters.
    Tim is too cute. I love the pounding dough with his elbows! Makes me want to eat the bread:)

  5. Heather D March 16, 2009 1:52 pm

    You know, I never thought about how homeschooling means more housework. But I think you’re totally right. NOW I have a good excuse for always being behind! 😉

    On the topic of young kids helping out with kitchen stuff and chores, you might be interested in a couple of my posts:

    Then we can compare whose video of preschoolers in the kitchen is cuter. 😉

  6. Misty March 16, 2009 12:25 pm

    Thanks, Ann! No fair, you have to give me some of your good ideas! What system do you use, and does it work well? We still have regular chore skirmishes.

  7. Ann March 16, 2009 11:27 am

    LOVE this post, Misty! It’s soooo true! All the stuff they can learn by doing everyday things is great. We’ve got a system down with chores everyday and you named quite a few of them and also gave me ideas for more! Thank you!


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