Monday, June 18, 2012

A popsicle Summer

We have a great method that I've been using for a couple years now that works really well for my disorganized self.  I write down different chores or other things that are necessary on popsicle sticks and have the kids draw from the jar instead of simply assigning chores.  I just went through last year's popsicle stick chore chart and made a few more and took out some of them (like dusting, which they really shouldn't do, unfortunately, due to their dust allergies, which all 3 kids have), and I created new ones for school subjects.  This year, I also put school subjects on colored popsicle sticks and they're going to pull probably 3 of those every day, maybe 4. School's not out yet, so I haven't yet decided!  For chores and subjects already done that week, I'll reserve the popsicle sticks and put back in the next week.  Some school subjects and chores I'll put back in every day.  This is a fun way for them to do chores and I'm hoping it works for our summer school program as well.  Plus I add in things like jumping jacks, go down both slides, sing a song, call grandma, etc to make it fun!  And I have fun school subjects in there too- knitting school, cooking school, science experiments, etc.  I'm using one color for all the school subjects so that they can tell them apart from chores, but not remember their favorite subjects and always go for those colors!

I'm actually revising as I'm writing this blog post.  I'm putting weekly subjects on red popsicle sticks, and multiple times a week on yellow.  They'll draw 3 yellows and 1 red each day.

Yellows- 2 workbook pages, do a math worksheet, story of the world lesson, First Language Lessons, Brainquest time!, Read to Mom, and Listen to read alouds (these are educational read alouds, such as The Golden Goblet, and not the books I read to them at bedtime).

Reds- music appreciation, knitting lessons, arts & crafts, cooking class, science experiment

We're going to have pretty strict TV rules as well- no TV unless all chores, music practice and school work is done, and no TV at all on "T" days.   This keeps a good balance in the home during the summer. I'm considering being even more strict than I usually am- I'm thinking about TV hours (maybe just for a few hours in the afternoons) or having a totally TV-free summer (which my husband suggested).  If we decide to do that, in order to keep them motivated to do their chores, we won't be allowed to go to the pool to go swimming unless all chores, music and school work is completed.  Since the pool is 2 blocks away, it's really convenient to go and we can go many times in a week, possibly every day.  It's not a backyard pool, but it's still handy, and as long as I have my dinners planned well in advance, I might just take them every day.  It's too soon to tell- summer vacation begins on Friday, so we may still adjust all this to suit our needs as the summer progresses.

Back to the popsicle sticks- I first started using this method when Lacy was a new violin player 2 years ago. It was hard to get her to do everything she needed to do to practice, so I started writing down all of them on popsicle sticks.  We no longer do that now that she's in the minuets, but Rose will be starting violin lessons this fall or late summer so we'll start that up again for her.  It worked really, really well, so I decided to incorporate it into summer chores.  And now I'm expanding it even further!  I  noticed last summer that other people were using similar methods, but I didn't get my idea from those blogs.  I don't do any fancy printouts to glue to craft sticks, I just write on them with pen and stick them in a jar.  That way I can add and subtract at will.

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