Tuesday, March 13, 2007


My kids love to "help." The amount of water outside of the sink during dishwashing is the main reason that I try to talk the kids out of "helping" me wash them. I struggle with this as I know that encouraging them to help is so important but getting frusterated with them is not. Bennett has had his chores that he is in charge of since he could walk. He unloads the dryer, puts away his clothes, helps put away his clean dishes, keeps his room clean, fills water cups for himself and Rachel, and the new addition is clearing the table after dinner. It is so amazing what he is capable of. I started teaching him to wash the floor with a rag, but he wasn't very close to being able to do it himself, so we'll hold off on that one.

Rachel likes to do everything Bennett does, so we have modified chores for her as well. She picks up her own toys, pushes the wet laundry into the dryer (I put it on the door for her), throws away the dirty napkins and trash from the table after meals. It may seem like we have a forced labor camp going on here, but the great thing is that the kids WANT to do these things. They like to be with me and doing the things I am doing. They also like to feel productive and proud of the good jobs they are doing that help the family. I want my kids to feel like an important, integral part of our family. It isn't because I am lazy and want someone else to do my chores, I want them to value our family as a unit and see that we all rely on one another to keep it functioning well. I think parents often lose the hearts of their children because the children simply don't feel needed, so they drift to their peer group for somewhere to belong.

What does this have to do with homeschooling you are wondering? I consider myself a homeschooling mom. Me teaching and my children learning is what fills our entire day. From reciting the alphabet to reading the Bible to learning a new chore, we are home and we are learning. To coin a phrase that I have heard before, we are homelearning. Life is integrated with learning and that is my biggest "homeschooling" philosophy. Learning isn't something that has to be separated from life. It is life, or at least it should be. People ask Bennett all the time if he has started school yet, and he says, "Yes, I homeschool!" I smile and people usually just walk away at that point, but it is the truth. We are homeschooling!


Kristen Borland said...

Awesome post. We homelearn as well. Funny you mention Rachel helping with the laundry because that's one of Zeb's things. I also put the wet clothes on the dryer door for him to push in. Then he grabs a fabric softener sheet from the low shelf (usually a fistful of them, actually) and tosses it in. He's always so proud of himself. He's learning how to pick up toys, and he knows how to put his books away. It's great how much they want to help and learn. I think I need to encourage that more than I do.

Samantha said...

Thanks, Kristen. For those of us that support homeschooling, thinking outside of Mr. Dewey's school box is helpful. I don't want to recreate school in my home. I want to teach my children to love to learn and how to be proficient at seeking it out themselves. Learning to think is what it is all about. That is not something I learned too much of in school. How to get good grades, yes, how to learn and think for myself, no.

Mike and Rachel said...

What a neat post. It's nice to think about the big help my girls will be in the years ahead! I'm currently in the help is more of a headache phase too.