Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chores for All and All for Chores

Last week I talked about Managers of Their Homes and how it assists our family with our day to day activities. Today I want to discuss Managers of Their Chores (MOTC). Both books are written by Terri Maxwell, a veteran homeschooling mom of 8.

I have used a variation of MOTC for several years. Mrs. Maxwell does a much better job explaining the process and she uses her program to complete everything from tooth brushing to getting ready for Christmas. I only use the program for our morning routine.  I use something different {which I'll explain in a bit} for everything else.

Getting 8 people {Daddy handles himself ;-) } up and going each morning is a difficult task. There are things that must be accomplished before we can really begin our day. These are the tasks that I place in chore packs.  Every child, except Liberty, has a morning chore pack. The older children don't need them, but the youngers are much more likely to use their pack if big brother/sister are using one as well. The majority of our morning "chores" are personal hygiene items. Each child has the following: Make Bed, Get Dressed, Dirty Clothes in Laundry, Pick Up Room, Brush Teeth, and Brush Hair. Then, I have assigned tasks like: Empty Dishwasher, Take Laundry Baskets to Laundry Room, Take Dirty Kitchen Towels to Laundry Room, Straighten Bathroom (one for Boys' and Girls' bathrooms), Feed Chickens, Start Laundry, and Empty Silverware Basket.

My chore packs look differently from Mrs. Maxwell's but they function very similarly. My first chore packs were in ID badge holder and attached to the children's clothing. I love the idea of this. The packs are handy and hands are free. However, every morning I had someone upset because they dropped their cards or they sat one down and it got wet. As they completed the chore, the cards didn't get put back in order. So every night I had to remember to put the cards back in the correct order {the goal is to develop the habit of taking care of things in the morning}, which I frequently forgot. So I set out trying to solve my problems with the system. It took me a few tries but I determined that creating the cards on business card paper prevented me from spending time cutting them out and never getting them straight. Business cards also allowed me to use Microsoft programs {I have used Word and Publisher} to create the words and graphics. I use the free clipart in the Microsoft gallery. Since the cards were now a standard size, I could place them in laminating pouches and run them through our home laminator. I had solved the problem of wet and torn cards but I still needed to keep them in order. Then I saw our book rings in the drawer. I punched a hole in the end of the cards and placed them on the book ring. I have mentioned my obsession with color coding so adding a piece of ribbon in each child's color seemed like the perfect final step.  I had the portable, wearable pack like Mrs. Maxwell suggests, but I made it "Witcher Style".

The chore packs help our mornings to run a little smoother and get the bare minimum chores done. A load of laundry started is a great beginning but it does nothing to stay on top of Mount Washmore. Motivated Moms to the rescue! At least 9 years ago, I purchased the Motivated Moms ebook. It worked great until I forgot about it and got out of my newly developed habit. Around 3 years ago, a friend shared that an iPhone app had been developed and she loved it. As an Android user, I coveted that app. LOL Finally last year, the Android version was released and I LOVE it! I mentioned the Motivated Mom app in my post on apps. 

I'll try not to repeat information I've already shared. :-) This app covers all the daily tasks like start the dishwasher, make the bed, wipe bathroom sink, etc. and adds in things like dust the living room ceiling fan or clean the dishwasher filter. The app is customizable so I can delete all the tasks for cleaning a guest room and add in things like wash the car seat covers {about once a quarter} or run washing machine cleaner {monthly}. We take care of the Motivated Moms chores between lunch and nap. The kids and I work together to check things off the list. These chores are assigned based on who is capable and available at the moment. I do attempt to assign chores to the youngest child that is able because I don't want everything to fall on the oldest. So if you visit our home, you won't find neatly folded towels or sheets. They are clean and put away somewhat orderly and that will have to be good enough for now.

At this time in our lives, this is the system that works for us. It has taken me quite some time and lots of errors to figure out what is sustainable long term.


  1. I was just getting ready to start chore packs. Maybe I missed it, but how do the kids keep track of what chore they have done? I love how you changed it up a bit. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The cards turn on the ring. When they finish one, they flip it to the back. The next chore is then waiting on top. HTH!

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