Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Five-Fingers Chores

A while back, I was asking some other homeschool moms for advice. I have long struggled with how to approach my kids' daily devotional times:  should I make them or just allow some time and hope they make a good choice? Should I tell them what to read and check up on them or let them read what they want? And the biggest conundrum - what time of day is all this supposed to happen?

In steps wisdom, in the form of my wonderful friend Donna, whose opinion I take very seriously - she has 9 kids worth of experience behind her. She introduced me to the Five-Fingers Chores:
Every morning, each child has four chores or responsibilities to take care of before they can eat breakfast - they must read their Bibles and pray, take care of their rooms, take care of their bodies, and then they may eat. Each step is marked or symbolized by a finger to make it easy for kids to remember. For instance, reading the Bible is the most important thing, so it's linked with your most important digit, the thumb. The index finger is prayer, followed by taking care of your body at the middle finger, the ring finger being caring for your room. By the time they've completed these four fingers, their whole hand is ready to pick up some food and eat!

The very next morning, I explained the concept to the kids, followed by having them each trace their hands on a sheet of paper and labeling each finger accordingly and hanging them up in strategic places around the house. It took a few days to catch on, but in less than 2 weeks even Ellie, who tends to wake up offended that her breakfast and juice isn't ready and waiting at 6.30am, needed no reminders to spend time looking at her picture Bible and getting dressed.

Honestly, it's totally changed the way our mornings run. Previously, everyone was turning up at different times and expecting to be waited on, plus I was trying to get my husband fed and out the door. Now, they know breakfast isn't happening until their five fingers are complete, which gives me extra time to get breakfast ready, and I'm not breathing down their necks to "get moving and spend some time with Jesus already!".

So, there you have it. Excellent principles, tried and tested for you. Anyone else out there have any helpful morning routines their families use? Any massive failures?  Everyone likes to hear about those...

Multitude Mondays, a day late

A house full of poorly children seem to have a way of dominating the time, don't they? But they also seem to have a knack for inspiring extra affection from even the grumpiest of souls (ahem), not to mention many reasons to recognize God's goodness and faithfulness in our lives.
  • The Sovereign Grace Pastor's Conference and the wonderful preaching we heard there
  • seeing old friends and meeting some new ones
  • a fearless grandma who kept all 5 kids alive!
  • even though the kids have been under the weather, they've all been in surprisingly good spirits
  • the ability to conveniently take children to the doctor, when much of the world has no such opportunity
  • such a nice doctor, too!
  • a very first blood draw for one of the kids was very easy and virtually pain-free
  • the ability to listen to a message online even when I can't be at church
  • my sweet husband leaving church early and doing fun Sunday-school activities with the kids
  • a new, and free, iPhone!
  • kids slowly beginning to feel better
  • lots of reading time
  • lots of knitting time
  • lots of down time, at home, where I belong