Planning a new school year

Apparently I got the griping out of my system the other day, because I’m feeling more cheerful about the start of school. I’ve organized my existing books, and ordered more, including handwriting and a 3rd copy of Saxon 7/6 math — the latter on– hooray!

Last night I got a new chore chart made.   I like to leave kids assigned to a job for long enough that they get excellent at it.   But I also like them to be competent at multiple jobs.   So at the start of each school year everyone gets a new job list.

Erika heads off to college on Friday, and our 17 year old will be juggling a job and a busy senior year of high school, so I’m basically assigning jobs to only the 7 youngest.  My 15 year old also has a busy high school load — his only job besides yard work is cleaning the kitchen after lunch every day.

Next in the lineup we have our 14 year old daughter, then three 11 year olds.  The four of them will be doing breakfast and dinner dishes, 3 meals per week per child, either M-W-F or T-Th-S. This summer I trialed having pairs of kids doing dishes together, but ended up deciding that kids were more industrious when they knew the entire task was their own to complete.  This fall they’ll be working alone, but doing dishes a bit less often.

Kids in this age group also feed animals, sweep kitchen, clean living room and family room, and tidy both kids’ bathrooms each day.  These jobs get done in the afternoon once school is done, for a total work time of about an hour per kid per day,  maybe a little longer if they are moving slowly.

I am working on phasing our 7 year old daughter into more ‘serious’ housework.  She will be washing out the laundry room sink every day and spot-mopping the kitchen floor with a damp rag. (Our kitchen floor can always use some wiping, it seems.)

The four year old will be sorting clean silverware, sweeping the hearth and windexing the front glass door.  Neither job will get done perfectly, but I can live with 4 year old effort in both those areas.

Now that we have the job list figured out, next on my list is actual school planning.  Maybe this week.  Along with picking a few pictures to bring to the fair, canning tomatoes, freezing corn, and begging people to take my cucumbers.

Because I do NOT need more pickles.


  1. Wow. you are more organized then I am. I am going to have to work on a chore chart for my crew. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. One a side note, if you can find a way to ship some of them cukes to Tucson, I’d love to try my hand at making bread and butter pickles. = )

  2. oh, I’ll take the pickles ; ) I need to get my homeschooling plan in in the next few weeks too. Thanks for inspiring me to get a move on.

  3. I don’t know why I plant so many cucumbers. I have an entire basket full no one wants and I don’t want. Sigh.

  4. Haha! I am picturing what my glass back door would look like if my four year old cleaned it! I think the bottom three feet would be sparkling (albeit, streaky). I guess that is the grimiest part but still, funny thinking of the top/bottom clean/ grubby division line. 🙂

  5. incidentally, I may just have her do it today for the fun of it. After all, it can’t get any dirtier!

  6. HI Melissa,
    Yes, that’s my theory–she can’t make it worse, and if she does it every day, it may actually improve. I do give her the step stool to extend her reach. But it helps that I have low standards when it comes to window cleanliness! 🙂

  7. Mrs. Pear says:

    Thanks for sharing ideas for school and chores!

    I would love some cucumbers! 🙂

    Might I recommend making some relish? I have an excellent and easy recipe here:

  8. I too would love some cucumbers. Mine looked like little mutant things and I think we could only eat one or two. I thought I did something horribly wrong (it’s our first garden at a newly built house) but the farm market guy up the street had the same type of issues!

  9. We’ll take some pickles! I can’t seem to make enough for my kids, and my mutant tomatoes blocked out all the sun from my cukes. Good ideas with chores – very inspiring. My kids are 3, 4, and 7, and right now they sort laundry, fold socks, underwear, & napkins, wipe down kitchen and bathroom floors, and make their beds. It’s good to know what other people’s kids can do!

  10. I can not seem to get it together! We start school next week and I’m more lost this year than ever before. Maybe turning 40 this year had something to do with it.

  11. I need to get a chore chart up and running soon. With the older kids being 3 & 5, there won’t be a ton that they can do, but any little bit will help me!

  12. Spot cleaning the kitchen floor – brilliant! My whole main level is hardwood and that is the perfect job for my 5, 4, and 2 year olds. They certainly can’t make it any worse : ). “Sink job” (wiping counter/sink and changing towel) and emptying garbage are also jobs the littler ones can do quite well.

    Now, back to homeschool planning . . .

  13. Love your plans! We’re working on a new system of weekly responsibilities for this year. It’s a lot of work to get it organized, but it’s also kind of fun to imagine all the industrious little children. 🙂

  14. Mary,
    Inspiring as usual! I’ve just ordered your new book from amazon and it said only 4 copies left in stock! Way to go!! We start school in 2 weeks and I’ve still got to get my orders in!

  15. On our way home from vacation today there was a basket of cukes at the gas station-free for the taking. My son loved the one we picked up.

  16. How sad – we’re about to hand over exorbitant amounts of money for cucumbers to pickle. I should really try growing some next year…