Thursday, January 4, 2007

Sweeping Class

I have given this "class" twice in the last few days. With some of our chores, inspection has become the rule rather than the occasion. I remember trying to teach them in the same manner when they were younger, but it just didn't sink in as well and it took far too long.

I have learned that it is absolutely vital to make a chore "fun" for the littler ones. And to gradually increase the standard. For example, when my three-year-old washes the counter, I tend to overlook some of the crumbs and shower him with "Joshua, you washed the counter, all by yourself! You're a diligent worker!". But if my eight-year-old leaves the same crumbs, I must send him back to redo the work. Cheerfully :-) It is absolutely amazing to see the difference in the way the children respond. If I call an older child back to redo a chore, and I am irritated, he will respond unwillingly. But if I am cheerful, he is usually sweet about the redo.

Okay, sweeping class. Here is how it happens. I set the child in front of me and get the broom. I dramatically carve out a square with the broom, and begin to demonstrate sweeping the dirt in one direction (we are going in a circle in our house, around the island). Come to think of it, perhaps we should be "'rowing" around the island - this would be truly fun! Wow - writing inspires me :-) Anyway, by the third square or rectangle, the child is in front of me and I am reaching around them to help guide their strokes, and by the last shape, they are doing it themselves. They all know how to use the dustpan, and I have implemented the "zero-crumbs" technique with this class, which is taking a wet napkin and magically erasing all annoying crumbs which would stick to the foot in order to invade another room :-) Arrrgghh!

Right now we are taking a break from our normal routine to plan for homeschool. I have found that it is a wonderful opportunity to focus in on chores which have become sloppy. Hence, sweeping class!

I must get breakfast...

1 comment:

  1. I think the concept that the standards are raised as the children get older is key. I have an 11-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old who all clean as if they were 3, because somehow I never noticed the standard should have been raised. Towels are folded sloppily, beds are made poorly, crumbs are left on counters. I need to start doing some "redos".