It has been a super long day today, so I thought that, instead of writing a brand new post, I would do one of my Throwback Thursday posts. However, as I was searching through some old blog writings to pick out something to bring back I came upon this old but very timely review. In fact, I had even kind of forgotten about this product, but after finding it I thought what a great season to bring this back. I’m probably going to even rebuy this since my old copy was either a download that was lost many, many computers ago (that’s why I should back up everything) or it is in storage which I am thinking about calling the black whole because I will never find it again. Anyway, with all of us thinking about New Year’s goals and things like that, teaching our kids and ourselves about how to keep a clean and organized house is often at the top of our list. So, here it is. If I recall, this really worked for our family and I am hoping it will work again!
I know...I know...Clint Eastwood has been in the news lately. However, when I was thinking about a theme for this review, I happened to think about what I thought was just a phrase - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I guess maybe in the far reaches of my mind I knew that it was a movie, but that had been forgotten years ago. I was, remember, only five years old when it came out! And, since I didn't even remember that it was a movie, I didn't know that Clint Eastwood was involved in it.
All of that, however, doesn't matter because this blog post isn't about a movie and isn't about Clint Eastwood, it's about a great book called The Everyday Family Chore System - part of The Everyday Homemaking series. When I was thinking over The Everyday Family Chore System this phrase "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly came to mind. Only, it came to mind in a turned around way - The Ugly, The Bad and The Good - so that's how I'm going to write this review. Under each heading, I'm going to have a bullet point list on why I thought this saying was perfect for this post. You'll notice that "The Good" has many more bullet points than the rest because it talks about this really neat book. So, here goes:
The Ugly -
- Me before I've had my first cup of coffee in the morning, but we really don't want to go there.
- The way our house looks with two autistic children and a teen-age boy living in it. Not to mention two parents who absolutely hate to clean. But, don't we all?
- Me or Sarah when we get frustrated with our children because of the way the house looks.
The Bad -
- Autism and the way it effects two of our sons. You see, both of them, but especially our middle child Joshua, have a hard time processing information and following directions. It's a common thing with many autism spectrum kids. They tend to be very literal thinkers. They are also creatures of habit. They don't take change well. They are very smart, but they have a very difficult time thinking through things and thinking logically. You would think that a simple task like going and brushing their teeth would be easy, but it can actually be very difficult. They can't remember the steps to accomplish the task and they can't think logically and figure them out. To top it all off, Joshua gets frustrated easily and becomes very angry with himself which then tends to lead to him lashing out at those around him. Needless to say, if it's a chore to just brush his teeth, then how in the world can I teach him how to properly clean his room or perform other everyday tasks that are critical tasks so that he can someday live independently? Enter The Everyday Family Chore System which brings me to "The Good".
The Good -
- The Everyday Family Chore System!
- The Everyday Family Chore System is turning out to be a Godsend to our family. So, why do I say "turning out to be"? Well, remember, our two kids that are on the autism spectrum don't like change. Even the oldest one, John Allen, who is not on the autism spectrum, doesn't like change if it requires more work. This system is going to require change. It even has made me look at things in my life that I need to change. We have been able to slowly implement one part of this plan, but haven't even touched another part. I'll explain in a minute what the two parts are, but, I'm going to tell you now that I want you to read some of the other reviews for The Everyday Family Chore System, because some of them have been able to implement a lot more than we have been able to. I'm not going to give you the link to the other reviews yet, though, for selfish, reasons. I want you to read my review first!
- This book, written by a homeschooling mom who also had foster children is divided in to three sections. Part One: Laying the Foundation, Part Two: Implementing the Plan, and Part Three: The Actual Chore System. Let me briefly tell you about all three and then I'll tell you how it's worked with our family.
- Part One: Laying a Foundation. I really enjoy the author, Vicky Bently's, heart. The very first thing that she writes is The purpose for implementing a family chore system are (1) to train your children to be responsible members of a family and to diligently serve one another, and (2) to disciple or apprentice them in living skills. I very rarely quote from books or websites when writing my reviews, because they are supposed to be my reviews and not just a bunch of copies and pastes. I felt that this quote was important, though, because it really struck me as something that I wanted for my children. With our two asperger's syndrome kids, it's going to be a challenge for them to assimilate into society. Well, what is a family? It's a little society, and the family is a first step into a bigger society. If I can train them to be responsible members of the family, then it is going to be much easier to train them to be responsible members of the world. The author then lists four basic principles for doing this: (1) Have realistic and age-appropriate expectations. (2) Establish rules or standards. (3) Have a working knowledge of family discipline. (4) Tie strings to their hearts. And she goes on to explain each principle before venturing into part 2.
- Part Two: Implementing the Plan. OH MY! What a packed section! I am not going to be able to nearly get into everything that this section has to offer but let me give you the basics and a few other little tidbits. Before I do, though, let me tell you that this section is excellent and gives many ideas for putting the principles listed above into action. The first fantastic tidbit is the "Life Skills Checklist" where the author has a very comprehensive list of what life skills should be taught at different ages and when they should be mastered. For example, a three year old child could start being taught how to wipe up a spill but may not master it until the age of nine. Although comprehensive, this list is also flexible because no child is the same. There is then a section on how to decide what around your home needs to be done on a daily basis and what needs to be done on a weekly or even monthly basis. She then goes on to tell you how to make really cool charts and systems to help you accomplish those things. Don't worry, it all sounds complicated but it really isn't. It is step by step and easy to follow. We haven't moved to the chart making stage yet because we are still teaching our kids to follow the third section which, I think, is the neatest section which is...
- Part Three: The Actual Chore System. I think this is really neat because it contains step by step cards for about any chore that you can think of. From dusting to vacuuming to loading and unloading a dishwasher to setting the table to cleaning cupboards to...well, I could go on and on. Anyway, this is just what we needed. All I have to do is hand my kids a card and they just need to follow it step by step to be able to complete the task! For my aspies, who tend to get overwhelmed, I might just have them complete the first two steps and then we will take a breather before going back to complete the rest, but, I'm getting into the next part:
- How is it going with my family: Well, it has taken some getting used to - both on my part and on the part of my children - but it is beginning to work. We are still introducing how to use the cards at this point (remember I said that it is slow going with us) but we will, hopefully, soon begin to implement the whole plan soon and I will try to blog about it when we do. I can really see this working with my children. Again, I am so excited because this is the perfect plan for our family. And, if The Everyday Family Chore System can work with our family, I know it can work with yours!
Other members of the TOS Review Crew reviewed this product and other titles in The Everyday Homemaking series and, finally, here is the link. Happy Homeschooling and...err...Happy Cleaning!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew I was sent a free ebook version of "The Everyday Family Chore System" in order to use and give my honest review on this blog.