When your kids are home all day every day, they create a lot more work than they would if they were off to school. Those additional eight hours at home are the busiest of the day, in many cases. Their school supplies get scattered all over the house; their materials end up piled on every available surface; and of course, there’s the endless pile of dishes that sooner or later must be washed. It only makes sense, therefore, that your children would be expected to do chores in with their homeschooling—perhaps even chores that they would not necessarily be expected to do if they were enrolled in a public school.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. A child who is attempting to avoid having to do a chore is capable of taking a fifteen-minute assignment and stretching it out for hours. A child who really doesn’t want to do chores can make that kind of procrastination last all day—and that’s if they don’t throw a fit or flat-out refuse to do it.
Luckily, there are ways that you can work chores into your homeschooling day. For example:
Do chores when they are reasonable. Clean up the kitchen immediately after breakfast and lunch, not when the schoolwork is all done for the day and you’re in the kitchen trying to get dinner ready. Scoop up a load of laundry and get it started first thing in the morning. Insist that beds be made before they leave their rooms for the morning. Make them timely and convenient, and they will be at least more likely to actually get done.
Distribute chores in between school activities. Most chores require children to actually be up and moving. This provides a welcome break from the rigors of staring at a book or computer screen without breaking the “flow” of work.
Offer rewards or incentives. Do you offer an allowance for chore completion, or feel that chores are part of family life and should therefore be completed regardless? However you do it, make sure that there are rewards for getting done with everything that is expected to be finished in a day: chores and schoolwork alike. You might allow your child to go outside, or permit a certain amount of extra television or game time, or you might prefer a monetary reward.
Accept that there will be days when the chores don’t get done. Just like with schoolwork, chores are often considered a “burden” by children who would rather be doing anything else–and sometimes, they will be a burden for you, too. Take a deep breath. The dishes will still be there tomorrow.