Through the history of the world, families have worked together to put food on the table and survive. Even in modern times, many families must combine their efforts to prosper in the world.
Our modern Western economy is one that has traded away “family togetherness” to obtain efficiency and wealth. Developed nations have generated a level of wealth such that the “poor” are better off than most of the developing world’s population. Family farms and family businesses have become uncommon. Children rarely need to perform hard labor for the well-being of their family.
Our current model of schooling does not allow as much time for families to work together. Children who attend school for most of the day come home tired and in need of some down-time and often with homework to do. If one or both parents work, then they may outsource some or much of the work, such as housecleaning and meal preparation.
When Mike and I were first considering home schooling our children, we read many of the writings of Oliver and Rachel DeMille. They taught that the most important thing for young children up to the age of 8 years to learn, is core values of what is right and wrong, good and bad, the value of relationships, fun and a foundation of family work. We can accomplish this by spending time with our children, playing together, working together, reading inspiring stories and modeling day-to-day examples of goodness.
This pattern should continue as our children grow older. As we show them our willingness to work, make good decisions and serve others, we can help them develop strong characters and integrity. If this is our desire, we have to be very purposeful to make it happen, no matter what education model we follow. And if we are purposeful, we can help it happen no matter what form of education we choose for our children.
I’ve been pondering on this theme as we’ve been trying to get more organized with our home work system. We divided the house into zones and have each child and the youngest two care for one zone, keeping it picked up and tidy. We switch zones each week. Here is the chart we created.
The children also need to have their rooms clean, music practiced, animals tended and dishes done before they are at “Level 2” and can have privileges. I confess. My friend told me about the system she bought and so I bought one too.
It has worked fairly well. The kids earn tickets and are supposed to be able to buy stuff from the family store each week, but I don’t keep up with it well, so I’m changing to a monthly “family store” event.
I also attended a women’s conference at my church and spoke to one of my friends about her garden system. She told me how easy it is, with little maintenance, and how much better it grows than her greenhouse. Once I heard that, I went straight to her house and bought a kit. Once home I proceeded to rally my children to work with me for several hours to help me get it set up (I was sore the next morning and it inspired me to write this post). You can read about this garden system HERE.
Let me be transparent now. We are NOT perfect at this by any stretch of the imagination. To be honest, it’s been hit or miss lately. We are going to be planning our school for next year soon. We will probably be doing at least some home school. We are looking forward to having more time and focus for working together as well as learning together.
What is your favorite memory of working with your family?