The Sweetness of Leisure

leisure is the reward of virtue

I am attempting to have an “office day” today. I have some work and planning I need to catch up on, the toddler slept badly last night, and spring allergies are kicking my butt! As long as the children can play nicely they can have a holiday from lessons this morning.

Since it’s summer I’ve been trying to implement a few changes to chores and projects around the house. I find it easier to do that when we aren’t doing full on school and school year activities and by fall the routines should be established.

A few months ago Lynna Sutherland over at Homeschooling Without Training Wheels??mentioned a chore app she was using with her family?. I messaged back and forth with her about it and it sounded like a great thing for teaching the kids to be self- motivated about getting their routine work done.

I downloaded it and set it up for the three big kids. They did really like it and were motivated to do their jobs without my having to tell them, but with only one Kindle I found that interacting with the app was tricky (they can’t access the Kindle unless I log them in). Plus I was experimenting to see if I could use it help with some behavior modification (having kids check off as a “job” whether or not they had made a smooth transition from one part of the day to another- a place where we often have difficulties) and that wasn’t working at all.

But the kids really liked it and kept begging to use it.

After thinking about it for some time, I decided that the thing to do was to simplify and only use Chore Monster?for ?daily jobs for each child. ?At the same time I updated our daily job roster since Jack is now five and has regular chores rather than being an assistant to me or an older child or playing during job time.

I decided to give each child a number of daily jobs corresponding to their age:


  1. load dishwasher
  2. unload dishwasher
  3. clear/wipe counters
  4. set out breakfast (I list on the whiteboard what he is to put out)
  5. clear away breakfast and get out the stuff for Morning Time
  6. sweep bathrooms
  7. make bed
  8. tidy room
  9. take out recycling
  10. wash 3 big dishes/6 smaller ones/ or all the silverware (basically the stuff that doesn’t fit in the dishwasher)


  1. clean the living room
  2. clear table from lessons
  3. set out lunch (and often choose what we’re having, I’m planning to work with her on meal planning this summer)
  4. tidy/sweep the shoe closet
  5. set-up and put away the chairs, songbooks and papers from Morning Prayer
  6. make bed
  7. tidy bedroom
  8. wipe the bathroom sinks
  9. clear the supper table (the big three clear their own places plus one other so she just has to get what’s left)


  1. laundry- collect/run/bring up for me to fold
  2. sweep the two sets of stairs in the house
  3. make bed
  4. tidy room
  5. clear/wipe lunch table
  6. pick up outside toys and bikes
  7. tidy the “library” ( a section of the basement where we keep the children’s books)


  1. clean up the shoes/boots/rollerblades etc.
  2. take out the compost
  3. take out the bathroom trash and any other full cans
  4. set the table for supper (an important job for pre-reading skills)
  5. tidy his room after nap time

These jobs are all assigned points in the app and the children can check them off for me to inspect and approve. They receive points for jobs well done and jobs that don’t pass go back into their queue. Points can be used to redeem rewards like staying up until 8 pm etc.

In order to get around the “only one device” problem, I’ve made little lists for each child to use for reference if the app isn’t available.

I try not to say much beyond a casual “Have you done your chores?” hoping that the lesson of doing good work resulting in leisure time will develop naturally.

There is a great deal of learning to be done in this area. The children don’t easily see the connection between doing their lessons and chores well and having time to read, or follow their own pursuits. It’s normal to miss that connection (I miss it frequently myself) but I want them to see it and to pursue the rewards of diligence and application. We are raising adults here and the skills and habits of character I want them to have as adults are being built now. Self-discipline is hard but the fruits are sweet.

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