THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF HOMESCHOOLING...

I submitted the following letter to the Happily Educating OuR Own email list and got many requests to share the information I received. What follows are the responses from various homeschoolers living across the Greater Phoenix Area.

WANTED:  FEEDBACK ABOUT CHORES
      [Submitted by Dawn ]

"I could use your help in emailing me the typical day's chores performed by your home schooling students. (If you put the age of the child with the chores they do that would be helpful.) All my kids struggle with accepting chores as a part of our daily life but my 16 year old is completely convinced that there is NO kid in Phoenix who has to do as many chores as he does. He actually said that if I could "prove" he's not the only one---he would stop complaining that his workload is unfair. (Yes, I'm the parent and he has to obey regardless; nothing has changed about his chores so far. But it might be helpful to diffuse the struggle if I make the effort to show him he has "company". Maybe I expect too much but I hardly doubt it.) Thanks."

Our 14 year old son is in charge of taking out the garbage (when needed), cleaning the bathroom sink (weekly), yard maintenance - grass, bush, and tree trimming (when needed, and sometimes with the help of his grandfather), vacuuming specified rooms (weekly), PC maintenance and troubleshooting, emptying and refilling the cat box (!), feeding and watering the cat, emptying the central vacuum canister, and picking up all  heavy or out-of-reach things for Mom and sisters.  Periodically he rotates with his sisters the following:  washing the family's laundry for a duration of one month and the nightly kitchen/dining room cleaning for a duration of one week.  Something I asked him to do when I was last pregnant but one that I've come to depend on is his help with the grocery shopping.  He pushes the cart, loads the groceries onto the conveyor belt (with the help of his sisters), puts everything into the van, and once home, carries it all to the kitchen.  It's gotten to the point where he just needs me to drive and pay.

Boy - 13 years old
vacuum downstairs every morning and upstairs M/W/F
clean downstairs bathroom (mirrors, sink, toilet, floor) every morning
brush dog T/TH (golden retriever)
feed and water dog daily
dump and sort laundry, Friday evening, start first load
dishes helper for supper (clear table, dry and put away hand washed dishes)

Girl - 11 years old
sweep all tile floor areas daily, mop M/W/F
clean upstairs bathroom (as above)
dump and sort laundry, Tuesday evening, start first load
dishes helper for lunch (as above)

Boy - 9 years old
take out kitchen trash after breakfast - daily
sweep walkways and stepping stones around the house - daily
pick up all dog doo - daily
dust one room each day
dishes helper for breakfast (as above but usually includes emptying
dishwasher)

Boy - 4 years old
take out trash from all other rooms - daily
clean out cat litter box - daily
put things in the recycle bins after meals

Saturday jobs are different and as follows:
vacuum stairs
clean windows and glass doors that get the dirtiest
scrub bathtubs (2)

The three older ones rotate through this list with each one doing one job on
Saturday.

That's it for now though I often feel that they are lounging around while I
work and work so I am considering adding cooking a breakfast for each of the
three older ones, putting the trash bins out and back and the recyle bins
out and back, and whatever else I can think of.

I also willingly pay them for additional jobs like cleaning out the Suburban
($2), cutting down oleander bushes in the spring and loading them in the
truck ($10), babysitting ($10 night), pulling weeds, picking up mesquite
beans, fixing river rock slides.

My oldest earns $5 week brushing a neighbor dog and Christer earns $1 per
visit for cleaning up dog pooh for various neighbors.  All my kids worked
spreading rock for another neighbor and my oldest made a lot of money
hanging Christmas Lights in the neighborhood.  So, when they do their jobs
well at home it does qualify them for work which pays.


I have 3 babies. 4yrs, 3yrs and an 11 month old. On a daily basis the 3 and 4 year olds have to make their bed, clean their room (includes pick up and organization. Basically all I have to do is vacuum!!), feed the dogs,
help dad take out trash every night, and when they do all that they must ask if I need any help with anything. Then they are allowed to do something fun!! My 11 month old so far can put her toys away (with help) and (try) to straighten her blanket on her bed. Chores are good for mom and kids. I'm way happier when things are done and the kids like knowing that our house is theirs too!!

I HAVE A 9 AND A 10 YEAR OLD AND THEY ALTERNATE MONTHLY: VACUUM, STAIRS, UP AND DOWNSTAIRS, LAUNDRY, WASHING, DRYING, FOLDING AND PUTTING AWAY, KEEPING ROOM CLEAN, PICKING UP DOGGIE MESSES, HELPING WITH DINNER. KITCHEN: DISHES, WASHING AND PUTTING AWAY COUNTERS AND KEEPING IT IN ORDER THROUGHOUT THE DAY, TRASH, SWEEPING AND MOPPING AND ARCADIA DOOR, BATHROOMS, TOILETS SINK MIRRORS FLOORS IN ALL THREE BATHROOMS MY SIX AND THREE YEAR OLD ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DUSTING,COLLECTING THE ROOMS AND BATHROOM TRASH, CLEAN UP OF THE LIVING ROOM AND TV ROOM, DOOR JAMS THAT HAVE FINGER MARKS AND THEIR ROOMS, LAUNDRY, AND AREAS THAT THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE MESS. WE HAVE DAILY WEEKLY AND MONTHLY CHORES: YARD, GARAGE, VAN, ARE ALSO AREAS THEY CLEAN.

Son Age 13: vacuuming the living room and Arizona room once a week, unloading the dishwasher when asked, setting or clearing the table each night, taking out the trash when asked.

Son Age 15: cleaning the boy's bathroom once a week (everything except the floor: the tub, vanity, mirror, toilet), unloading the dishwasher when asked, setting or clearing the table when asked. He is handy so also helps his dad change the oil, build things, and do those sort of projects.

Son Age 16: Our 16 year old has had a job for almost a year. He works a total of about 17-20 hours a week. He purchased his own used (older model) car, buys his own gas, fast food if he wants it, movie tickets, clothes, etc. and is now saving for his own computer which he will buy this summer. We don't make him do a lot of chores around here anymore because he is pretty busy w/ school and working, but he does help out around dinner time. The three of them take turns feeding the dog and also do yard work, although we have Xeriscape in the front and small yard in the back, not a lot of mowing.

Chores have always been part of our routine my boys are 14 and 17. They do their own laundry (washing, folding, putting away) anything they don't fold and put away gets donated to a local charity (our thought is they don't want it someone else can use it). They clean their rooms, bathroom, load and unload the dishwasher, take out the garbage and put it out to the street for pick up and bring it back up?they have been doing chores forever?. We pay them to wash the cars and this summer they are earning extra money by repairing our roof (resealing the flat part). This gives them the money they want for things. When they want to save for a large purchase (bass guitar) we will pay half?  

My 13 year old son averages at least 1 hour of chores a day. Some days it is more--like yesterday, we mowed our 1/2 acre of all grass and did other outside chores that took 4 hours. I pick and choose what chores need to be done that day. Here is a list of typical chores that he does: dishes (hand wash and dishwasher), laundry (he does his own), clean HIS bathroom, rake leaves, trim trees, water garden, water flowers, sweep porch/patio, trash, recyclables, clean dog bowls/beds/pick up yard, vacuum floors and mop tile, clean eaves and windows, and dust furniture. Some of these chores are done daily and some weekly.  

17-male DAILY kitchen counters picked up, mop the floors (It's a huge heavy job), pick up family room once a day, twice weekly garbage, during the summer will usually mow one yard, once a week, some days dishes, does own laundry once a week. 16-female Daily pick up kids bathroom, feed and water the cats, help with younger sisters, help with cooking, dishes once a week, in charge of putting food away, own laundry 15-male Daily sweep floor, pick up dog poop, take out trash, clean out van, help with lawn mowing and sweeping outside, own laundry 14-male Daily feed and water dogs, dishes once a week, lawn mowing a yard, own laundry, helping with younger siblings.

Our 12 year old son mows/trims grass, maintains our pool cleaning/chems etc, keeps room clean (always, unless sick), laundry (usually daily), makes the bread,  prepares meals (simple or leftovers),  oversees his younger sisters as they work/clean etc (continually),  babysits siblings (incl changing diapers and feeding the baby), repairs in the home as needed (just switched light switches from dimmers/fixed potty from running 3 times/changed air filter/changed light bulbs/taking doors of and on that wouldn't close)-daily, vacuums, does dishes, helped dad put up a block wall, then was responsible to finish small section on his own, walks the dog 3x's a day/gives him baths,self directed on all homeschool to start and finish what he is responsible for, other jobs as needed, but a chore time every morning

These are just a few of his normal duties that he is expected to complete well, with a good attitude and do with out being asked.  For his reward, he is allow to have freedoms the younger ones don't get and staying up later with mom and dad or getting other perks, but the biggest reward will come later when he will have mastered all of these things in preperation for being a GOOD husband and father.  He knows that is the vision we are to impart upon him and our duty from the Lord.  He is turning 13 this month and is away with his father to Wash DC to attend Vision Forums "Mens Titanic Society" where they will share how men were men on the Titanic and men work hard!  We are celebrating his "Coming of age" into manhood with a big party as the Jews do and he is excited even though he knows it also means MORE responsibilities and yes chores, because that is being a MAN!  Tell your son to stand up tall and proud and say, bring it on mom, I can do anything you ask me too!!!   Someday his wife will be proud to have a husband that is able to take care of all her needs!!

My kids are 5 (girl) and 6 (boy) years old. They set the table for every meal, clean it after every meal, unload and reload the dishwasher, wipe the table and chairs and vacuum the floor under the table as needed.
They clean the dog poop once a week.
They feed and water all the animals (4 animals) every day.
They know how to make their own breakfast and do so several times a week (nothing complex) and occasionally make their own sandwiches for lunch.  Obviously, the handle all their own personal hygiene issues, including making sure all the clothes make it into the laundry basket and helping sort the dirty laundry and fold and put away the clean laundry.
They are responsible for wiping down their bathroom sink after brushing teeth, washing,etc. . .
All their toys (indoor and outdoor) are their responsibility and they make their own beds. 
They are responsible for cleaning up their school materials when done (glue wiped up from table, papers put away, etc) and are learning to help cook, do cleaning around the house, etc.
If they break something being careless (son was using sunglasses as a weapon when playing) that is a necessity (sunglasses for our family are, as we have eye problems) they are responsible for paying for it out of their money. They receive a dollar a week, which they put 10 cents into tithe, 10 cents into long term goals and 10 cents into short term goals.
They can earn more money doing optional things (pulling weeds, etc) and I will occasionally give them money when they do something helpful without being asked (son helped father wash and clean his truck today just because, so I gave him money just because). . .
They are docked allowance if I have to ask for something to get done that they should do on their own (wipe table) or if they do something with a bad attitude. Also, we have a jar that money goes into if they are giving me an attitude, fighting, etc and that is just "go get a dime (whatever) and put it in the jar."

I have 3 kids(17, 14, 12) and so we have 3 zones/or chore lists.  Each child has a zone and we rotate zones every month.  It's too hard on me to keep track of "who's on what" if we rotate any more frequently.

 Since our son turned 15 he has been responsible for:

1. Getting up at 6am and either milking the 8 goats or feeding and
watering the goats, cows, chickens, and at one time rabbits but they are
gone now. He also collects the eggs. He and his brother alternate each day
as to who milks and who feeds and waters.

2. Washing or drying all the milking dishes, sweep the barn floor, and
wipe down barn counter.

3. Rotate milk, filter milk, clean goat rags, feed baby goats.

4. Make bed

5. Restock the toilet paper in the hall bathroom.

6. Fix breakfast every other day

7. Helps with breakfast dishes or cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast,
for example: sweeping floor, washing countertops, putting food away, load
dishwasher. We divide the kitchen up amongst 4 kids and they rotate
different chores each day

8. change diapers and help get little ones dressed. He and his sister work
on this together each morning as well as helping to potty train 1 of the
younger kids.

9. He is gone most of the day now at college so he doesn't help out as
much during the day as he did at 16. When he was 15-18 he was fixing lunch
every 4th day and helping to clean up afterwards. He also helped with
diapers throughout the day and getting younger kids down for naps.

10. He prepares dinner 1 day a week, until college he did it 2-3 times a
week.

11. He cleans up after dinner every night.

12. He milks the goats or feeds and waters animals 5 nights a week.

13. He again cleans up the barn and milking dishes after milking is done.
Also collecting eggs again and rotating milk.

14. He and his brother and sister change diapers and help all of the
younger kids get ready for bed. This includes helping one of his younger
siblings get their teeth brushed that is not old enough to do it himself.
We have 3 kids that each take a younger one in the evening to get them
ready for bed.

15. He leads family devotions 2 times a week in the morning.

16. He is responsible for filling all of our water jugs at water 'n' ice
when they empty. Usually twice a week. This chore did not begin when he
was 15 but when he was 16.5 after he got his driver license.

17. On Saturday's we all pitch in to clean the house together. He usually
cleans the bathrooms and then helps out with whatever needs to be done. He
and his brother always wash the kitchen floor to wrap up our cleaning day.

18. He folds all of his own clothes and typically helps everyone else when
he is done. He is also responsible for putting them away when he is done.

19. He runs errands for me or stops on his way home to pick something up
when I need something.

20. We have many monthly chores which rotate amongst the kids such as
scrubbing the chicken waters, scrubbing out the goat waters, cleaning the
light fixtures, etc. Everyone, no matter what their age gets at least two
of these every month.

21. He is also responsible for helping with our weekend projects.
Saturday is a work day around here and when the house is clean we head
outside. The last couple of weekends have been working on fencing all day,
before that we tore down some buildings all day, The weekend before that
we helped a friend paint their house, and the weekend before that we tore
old fencing down, before that we insulated the attic, emptied,cleaned out,
and organized the shed, digging out chicken coops etc., etc. We rarely
have a Saturday that we don't work all day. We have been doing this since
he was much younger than 16, probably started when he was about 12.

22. Our  son is also our babysitter. He watches the kids at least one evening
a week and sometimes two. He has done this since he was 14.

23. He and 3 of his siblings straighten the house before going to bed
every night, including picking up the mounds of toys that the younger ones
don't always get picked up. Sometimes this is a 5 minute job and sometimes
it takes them a good half hour.

24. He does not do this anymore as I have moved this chore on to a younger
child but when he was 14-17 he was also responsible for weed whacking all
the trim work around the yard.

25. He did not begin this until he was 17 but he is now responsible for
irrigation every other month.

I know it's not very many chores to help your case but we have 9 kids to
divide all the chores up amongst, which leaves fewer chores per kid. One
of the lucky things for kids of large families. My kids thank me for
having many kids just for this reason at times.

Even the 2 year old throws out his diapers, makes his bed, takes care of
his clothes, puts the silverware away from the dishwasher, moves the
clothes from the dryer to the basket to bring inside, and helps fold the
rags. With a little assitance from a sibling he restocks the diaper and
wipe supply as well. On Saturdays he washes the kitchen chairs with his 4
year old brother. He helps set the table for dinner and loads the
silverware into the dishwasher. He throws away the junk mail, newspapers,
etc. and helps pick up toys before lunch. He also helps with dinner if
there is something he can do such as stirring or peeling potatoes.

We have seven children, and a very large 4000 square foot home.  My children do most of the housework!  And they rarely complain.  Here are examples of their daily work:
 
Daughter age 13 - Wipe down 3 bathrooms
                          Scrub one bathroom (We rotate, scrubbing one bathroom
                          out of four daily.)
                          Dust girls rooms
                          Deep dust one room, either schoolroom, den, or playroom.
                          Wipe down washer, dryer, and freezer weekly
                          Polish kitchen cabinets weekly
                          Help with preparing meals
                          Help Mom to wash wood floors after dinner
                          Weekly, helps Mom wash and put sheets back on our 8
                          beds.
                          Vacumns Upstairs Daily.
                          Bakes 12 dozen cookies weekly for the family.
                          Helps with our two babies all day.
                          Does much more cleaning without me even asking daily!
 
Son age 12 -   Empties dishwasher each morning, sets table and fixes
                        drinks.
                        Cleans schoolroom each day after school.
                        Takes out trash morning and evening.
                        He is also responsible for all outdoor work.  He daily works at
                       least 1 1/2 hours taking care of the yard, garage, pool, and
                       keeping our van clean, vacummed, and washed.  He also
                       takes care of our two outdoor dogs, bathing, feeding, cleaning
                       up poop, etc.  In addition, Trey cleans up dog poop and
                       takes out trash cans for our neighbors for $1.00 per week.
                        Trey also maintains his own room, makes his bed, and keeps
                       it organized, and dusted.
 
Son age 8-  Daily, vacumns kitchen wood floor and laundry room
                             after all meals.
                             Washes baseboards weekly.
                             Makes own bed, cleans room daily.
                             Cleans playroom daily.
                             Brings down all laundry from all bathrooms in PM
                             Gathers up all trash cans and empties each AM
                             (Note:  Jonathan does not do as much as he is mildly
                              mentally retarded, and has autism.  He is  developmentally
                              about 4 years old, so he does a 4-year old amount of  work.)

 Daughter age 7 -     Dusts and polishes all downstairs furniture daily.

                              Sets table for lunch and dinner
                              Maintains own room, makes bed.
                              Dusts stairwell and ledges weekly.
                              Washes stair railing weekly.
                              Washes school tables daily.
                              Washes big tv screen and dusts daily.
                              Vacumns downstairs daily. 
                              Cleans nursery daily. 
                               Sorts last load of laundry from dryer in AM
                              Gives  (22 mos. ) bath every night and
                              dresses her in pj's. 
 
Son age 5 -        Makes bed, cleans own room.
                              Cleans playroom daily.
                               Vacumns furniture daily.
                               Vacumns stairs daily.
                               Washes sliding glass door daily.
                               Brings down all laundry from bathroom hampers in AM
                               Gathers all trash from trash cans around house in PM
 
    
   All of our children collect their own laundry bins, with their clean laundry from the laundry room each morning, folds it and puts it away.  Missie puts away the babies laundry.  Missie also puts away the girls bathroom towels, and Trey does the same for the boys bathroom.  I do my husband and I's laundry.
 
     We also have a monthly, deep-cleaning rotation that everyone helps with.
 
   Our other two girls are babies, 22months, and 4 months, so they aren't helping yet.  

I can't offer a rigid set of chores or schedule, just food for thought.  We practice consensual living - an outgrowth of attachment parenting.  We do not assign chores to our almost 10 yo dd and our 7 yo, ds nor do we set aside a specific time each day to do chores. 
 
We have only two house rules - and honestly, they are the only two you will ever need if you follow them consistently.  The two rules are as follows:
 
1) Do not disturb another person while they are at work or play.
 
2) If it is out, it must go back.
 
The first rule is the golden rule and the second most important commandment, a new commandment given by Christ during the Sermon on the Mount.  That commandment is "Love one another."  We rephrased that commandment in a way that our young children can understand - do not disturb...  It means:  do not annoy, bother, pester, touch, etc. another person.  Once they understand this, they begin to work their way out of their egocentric child-led view.  They become compassionate and respectful of the space(s) of others in our home, and while out in the community.  As this rule came to be a natural part of their lives, it's easy to move onto the second rule - that the house should not be "disturbed" either.
 
The second rule covers keeping the house, personal belongings, and self neat.  The cliche, "everything has a place, everything in it's place" was too vague.  We re-worded the phrase to: "If it is out, it must go back."   We found we had to change to the word to "must" from "need".  Must is a much stronger word and it does not leave room for negotiation. 
 
Examples (make your reasoning "fun" too): 
  • If _____  (toys, books, dishes, clothes, etc.) are out, they must go back. 
  • If a bed is undone, it must be made up.
  • If dust is on the baseboard moulding, it must be returned to the earth via the garbage dump.
  • If the toilet gets a ring, it must be returned (resurrected) to a less hazardous (pure) state.
  • If a child is "out" after their bedtime, they must be "put away" (this one brings giggles).
For an older child, you can reinforce this through the use scriptures or values that talk of:
  • A house of order.
  • Preparation.
  • Body as a temple.
  • Standing in holy places.
  • Resurrection - bringing things to a state of pureness and perfection.
We have found that EVERY situation can fit under one of these rules - hence the need for only two house rules.  Post them for a while until they are committed to memory.  Instead of a fight, I'll hear the kids say to each other, "Number 1" or "Do number 2".  They both know what those numbers entail - and they heed the admonishment with little to no fuss.
 
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I must add, that we do have an occasional time when we see things need a little extra attention - the kids are still learning, and it's hard to live in a constant state of perfection for everything.  For these times, we will assign a goofy job title to menial tasks that need a little extra help.  You can customize these to suit your own needs:
  • equipment manager - sorts and neatens up bikes, balls, nets, pool toys, and other equipment
  • business manager - sorts through office drawers
  • AV equipment manager - sorts DVDs, CDs, and dusts off all computer/TV/DVD equipment and checks to make sure there are extra batteries for portable CD players, etc.
  • health department inspector - cleans out and wipes out kitchen drawers and cupboards
  • store shelf stocker - sorts linen closets, makes sure there is enough tp under each sink, arranges cleaning supplies, arranges under sink cabinets
  • greenskeeper - miscellaneous outdoor work
  • detective - looks for and wipes down fingerprints from walls, lightswitches, mirrors and cabinet fronts
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Bedrooms are personal spaces.  I do not harp too much on the rules when it comes to keeping the kids personal space neat as a pin 24/7.  The kids know that their rooms MUST be cleaned when we/they are expecting guests.  My son never lets his room get out of control - he doesn't like the end result of laboring for hours to bring up the standard.  My daughter however, prefers the pigsty effect - and ends up punishing herself bi-weekly (approx.) when she really has to have a presentable room.  They both operate under a different set of intrinsic rewards.  My son likes constants, my daughter likes a life of leisure AND the feeling that comes after accomplishing a large task. 
 
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DH hates dusting.  I detest unloading the dishwasher but love to load it up to have a clean kitchen. 
So... I do all the dusting and all the filling of the dishwasher.  DH does all the unloading (each morning) and takes care of the garbage cans on garbage days.
A final note.  I realize that my kids will not respond to my asking them to pitch in if those requests are random, and can happen any time.  That behavior puts anyone on edge.  To help "prepare" the kids for cleaning,  I have specific days for house duties.  As they see me first, attending to these duties, they won't offer to help, but they won't complain when I ask them to help out or do another related duty because they already see me pitching in.
 
M - floors and surfaces
T - cars, books/study materials and library day
W - clean out refrigerator, freezers and pantry
Th - closets
F - wash/dry/fold clothes and clean out laundry room and entry areas
S (am) - floors and surfaces

Almost 16 yr old son: Mows lawn, edges, trims, blows, does whatever yard work needed, takes care of pets, does dishes, folds and puts away laundry, takes out the trash, vacuums, helps pick up the house, Keeps room clean, does yard and other home fix it and home improvement projects with dad, Helps fix the cars, helps with cooking, cleaning, etc.  Also in charge of all graphic arts (making thank you cards, invitations, etc.).  Also helps with home decorating.

12 yr old son:  Mows lawn when not grass allergy season, trims, blows, does whatever yard work needed.  Takes care of pets, takes out trash, does dishes, sets table, helps with meals, and clean up.  Also folds laundry, and sometimes puts it away.  Tries to keep room clean--not always successful, takes out trash, does projects around the house with Dad, dusts, helps pick up the house, resident writer.

9 yr old son:  Thinks "work" is a four letter word, but also takes care of pets, helps with yardwork, sweeps front walk, helps with cooking, sets table, does dishes with some help, helps to fix things, picks up room when threatened, folds and puts away laundry, helps pick up house, cleans out fish filters, washes windows. 
 
Our kids have daily chores and weekly chores. The daily chores are alternated as such:
Mon-Wed---Daughter has dishes
                  Son has pick up, trash and recycle
Thurs-Sat---Son has dishes
                    Daughter has trash/recycle/pick-up
Sunday--is a day of rest for them so Dad does usually does it all.
 
Weekly chores were offered on an alternate schedule but the kids have chosen to not alternate and do the same chores each week.
                    Daughter- cleans the hall bathroom including the bath tub and the floor, vacuums the bedrooms (we only have carpet in the bedrooms), and cleans her bedroom thoroughly. She also does her own laundry and washes her own sheets.
                   Son - dusts the living room and foyer, sweeps the house and picks up doggie doo-doo. We realized the sweeping in this house takes a long time so now he usually just sweeps the living room.
 
The kids are now 16 and 13 but these have been their chores for several years. We eased up a little this school year because their academics have gotten more challenging and they're involved in other important things (and no, they're not playing video games instead, there's no video or computer games during the school week) so we changed it to one weekly chore on top of cleaning their bedrooms. We have always looked at each season and assessed what changes need to be made in the family trying to keep God and his kingdom first. Although we feel this is their season to be kids and should not take on all the responsibilities of adulthood, Mom should not be carrying the full load of "chores" when kids are fully capable of helping. Our kids can be asked to help fold laundry, mop, make dinner or anything else we need at any given time. They do get allowance so that they can learn to budget and tithe. Allowance has increased in value as they've gotten older and more capable of helping but I know it's not nearly as much as some kids. Sharee gets $20 every two weeks plus a cell phone and Michael gets $15/2wks. I have to say that my daughter is definitely more thorough in her work and always has been:-] She just has a tendency to see what needs to be done and do it (my way)!

 My son is 11 and has daily chores, some are not daily, but are at least twice a week.  The following are chores he must do.  Oh and on Sunday's it's chores on demand, these are above and beyond normal chores.  Could be yard work, dusting, vacuuming or anything else.

Regular Chores:

Picking up doggie doo  4 times a week.
Make bed daily
Clean bedroom twice a week, includes vacuuming
Empty the dishwasher daily
Empty trash cans around house twice a week,
Take out kitchen trash as needed
Take out recycling daily and take can to street once a week
Clean the main bathroom twice a week, this includes tub, toilet and floor.
Give the dog his daily pill
Feed the dog
Water the lawn

I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old.  They both do more chores than any other kids that age that I know.  My 5 y.o. is expected to make his bed, get the paper, feed and water the cat, wipe down the dining table, wipe down the floor under the table, put away all toys in the whole house, put away his own laundry, sort laundry, etc., every day.  My 3 y.o. (and a just turned 3 at that) makes her own bed, clears her spot from the table after meals, clean up toys, etc.

We use Accountable Kids' peg board system to hang the chore cards on so that
the kids are responsible and I don't have to nag at them.)

My 12 year old son has many chores. His daily routine looks like this;

MORNING: Get dressed, make bed, eat breakfast, clear dishes, take vitamins,
brush teeth, feed & water animals (2 guinea pigs, hermit crab, turtle, fish,
dog.), start school work.

AFTERNOON: Eat lunch, clear table, practice piano, finish school work.

LATE AFTERNOON: Read, pick up personal items around the house, scoop dog
poop, feed animals (dog, guinea pigs, turtle, 2 Sugar gliders), take out
trash and recycles (put cans out and bring in on appropriate days.)

EARLY EVENING: set table, eat dinner,  help clear table, unload dishwasher &
put clean dishes away.

EVENING: Take a shower, brush teeth, clean up bedroom, read, go to bed.

EVERY THURSDAY: Clean out guinea pig's cage and sugar glider's cage.

WEEKENDS:  My husband does all our lawn work on Saturdays and our oldest son
has to help.  He is now in charge of using the blower to gather all the
leaves, pick up any fallen oranges and branches that get cut down.

MISC.: He has chosen baseball as his hobby/extra curricula  and my husband
makes him take it seriously in that he has to practice/train for it at home
and not just "with the team." He does this as a teaching tool for learning
good work habits not to make him the "best" player out there.  He has him do
his "home training" 3 days a week, (M,W,F) where he works out on a tred mill
and does some weight training.  He also has to do hitting off a "t" and has
to practice pitching a 5 gal bucket of balls.  Before a game they practice
catching and fielding.  My husband believes in working hard for whatever is
your passion and not just relying on natural talent.  So he does this all on
top of his regular daily chores/routine. He also has to take care of all of
his equipment (keeping it clean and in good working order) as well as carry
his own bat bag and water to games.  (This sounds pretty tough when I am
writing it but really my husband is not anal or a tirant.  He was raised on
a farm his whole life and learned many life lessons from hard work.)

My son also has a lot of responsibilities when it comes to helping me with
his little brothers.  He watches them (2 and 6) for me all the time so I can
shower, rest, cook, whatever.

When he does complain, I remind him, "With much responsibility comes much
more privledges."  This usually is all he needs to remember why he shouldn't
complain. HA

My 6 year old has many chores too like make bed, helping feed guinea pigs
and fish, picking up and organizing toys, clearing dishes, etc.  My 2 year
old can put many toys back into their appropriate bins, put his dirty
clothes into the hamper and throw away his wet diapers.   When they see
brother doing stuff and they see their chore cards on the wall...they just
figure it's the law. ha ha

Son - age 16 (in June)

Everyday
Personal grooming
Make bed, straighten and clean room
Unload dishwasher (usually twice a day) and put away all leftovers and food preparation items for all meals (pantry and frig items)
Prepare lunch for everyone
Before bed pick up and put away all items personally used today.  For example personal belongings or the encyclopedia he used for school, etc.
Monday
Vacuum main house, hall
Dust living room and the left section of the kitchen shelves (our cabinets are open so need regular dusting)
Tuesday
Pull all items away from back of kitchen counters and dust and wipe
Clean outside of all small appliances sitting on kitchen counters
Clean inside of microwave
Dust middle section of the kitchen shelves
Vacuum bedrooms
Wednesday
Dust family room
Clean fronts and tops of all large kitchen appliances
vacuum main house and hall
Thursday
Dust master bedroom
Vacuum bedrooms
Friday
Dust Dining room
Dust right section of kitchen shelves
Clean under the kitchen sink
vacuum main house and hall
Saturday
Dad jobs (as they come up) which includes landscape maintenance (mowing, etc.)
Washing car(s)
Bathing dogs
Cleaning off patio(s), etc.

I have four kids and four daily jobs which are dishes, kitchen wiper, food assistant and trash. These rotate weekly. Each person must also tidy up house and clean their room daily.  They each do a couple of hours of yard work a month.  About once a week or sometimes every other week, we all take about 4 hours on a Friday morning and clean (dust, vacuum, mop, bathrooms) the rest of the house.  I try to just ignore dust the rest of the time, so that we have a life. I am a very clean person, so this could easily rule our lives if I let it.

As for your son, you can let him know that my 15 and 13 year old daughters worked on a very dirty, 5500 square foot remodel house on Saturday from 7am to 10pm.  They literally worked the entire day.  We have a family business and this house came back to us.  The work needed done and they were more than capable of contributing.  No, we did not pay them, but we did FEED them. Occasionally I pay my kids, but I sure don?t want them thinking I owe them a living. 

Keeping in mind that we are in an unusual situation, we own and operate a
motel in Mesa. Our 4 kids are responsible for ALL of the outside daily
maintenance on the property. Typically we have it broken down as such: 1)
Pool- vacuuming, skimming, backflush when neccesary, testing and maintaining
the chemical balance, emptying the garbage in this area, clearing out dirty
and replacing with clean towels, wiping down any tables and generally
tidying it up. 2)Trash pick up- a bit more staight forward, but is
responsible for covering the entire property to pick up all accumulated
stuff in parking area, along walls and fences and near the buildings and
walkways. 3) Parking lot- this is wher on gets to play with gas poweres
help! with a blower, the driveway(being that it is old and in need of
resurfacing) is down daily in sections, everything in a given area is
blownto one spot and the swept up and put in dumpster. this will include
rochs, tree dropping, cigarette buts and other very small stuff.4) trash
cans- this child is responsible for emptying every garbage on the property
evry day, I believe the are 13 outside, and 3 in the lobby/our area in back.
this one aslo has the extra fun of occationally getting to wash them all out
with hose and water.
These lists do not include anywatering of landscaping that needs to be done
( lees so now as all plants are matured and fairly self sustaining), they
also wipe down all of the outside a/c units for each room...60 in all. ALL
OF THIS IS UNPAID!!!!!!

They then have money earning potential with extra trimming of trees with
dad, stripping rooms of all linen and garbage ahead of housekeepers on busy
days, and countless other small things.

They are often called upon for small maintenance issues in the
rooms.....again, not paid. all said and told they have 1/2-1 hour of work
per day at a minimum. And that doesn't even count their chores around the
house

I have great kids who know how to work well, a skill that will carry them
very well into life! Oh, by the way, our girls are 14, 12, and 8 and our son
is 10. Just to give you son an idea. They all rotate which chores they are
doing, so they have each done then all.

Our 14 yo is lookin forward to buying a pickup at 16 and starting her own
pool maintenance business, and with all she's done with toilets and other
plumbing is stongly considering that as a job choice from there...good
money!

My children are nearly all grown now. They are 20, 18, 17 and 10. My husband absolutely insisted that they have chores to help out, that we were a family and we were a team. Everyone helps out, period.

Chores began in our children's lives around the age of 5. A 5 year old was expected to help with setting the table, clearing the table, emptying the smaller garbage cans throughout the house, etc.

As the children got a bit older they were expected to do more. I made a chore chart listing these chores:
Dusting
Vacuuming
Mopping
Kid's Bathroom
Garbages/Recyclables
Dishes
Feeding the pets
Setting/Clearing the table
Pick up living room

Every day (except Sunday) the chores were listed and the names were listed. It ended up with each child doing 2-3 chores each day. I tried to stagger the names so someone wouldn't end up with the same chore two days in a row or dishes more times than someone else, etc. It wasn't perfect, but it worked. Those who still are at home are expected to help with chores. We also kept a list of "money jobs" that were additional chores we would pay them to do. These are things like cleaning out the bathroom or kitchen cupboards, wiping down baseboards or windowsills, cleaning windows & screens, lemon oiling wood furniture, etc. Those "occasional" type jobs that are nice to have done.

Our homeschoolers are 4 and 5 year old young ladies. Every day they have to clean up their own dishes from the table after every meal, set the table for dinner, feed the cats, exercise the hamsters, and clean up the school area when we are finished. In addition, if they want to do anything during free play hours, they must first have cleaned their room and made their bed. They also help to put their clothes away when it is laundry time.

My 10 year old son's chores are; 

Take out the trash
Unload the dishwasher
Feed and Water the dogs
Clean his room
Clean up the dog mess in the backyard

He also helps with other things when needed.

I have 5 children ~ my oldest sons, 14 1/2 and 11 1/2, are required to help a lot.  They help with yard work: trimming, raking, mowing, picking up dog mess, etc.  They help with pool work, taking out recycling & trash, vacuuming the entire house, cleaning their own bathroom, putting their laundry away, cleaning out the garage if needed, bathing the dog, change diapers, help with preparing lunch, and babysitting the little ones (although I am now paying my oldest $2 per hour since he is so great with them and I appreciate his time with them). 

All the children ( 14, 11, 7 and 5) have to make their own beds and keep their rooms clean! 
 
My 7 year old daughter helps fold the laundry, unload the dishwasher (except for the plates that are heavy and go in the high cabinet), dust, clean the mirrors and sweep the porch. 
 
My soon to be 5 year old son, helps match up the socks fresh from the dryer, feeds the dog, waters the flowers, and cleans the lower part of the sliding glass door :-).  He also helps put the baby's toys away.
 
All four of the older children help feed my baby daughter, which is actually fun for them,  
 
My oldest pumps the gas for me when he is in the car.  My oldest boys also bring in all the groceries while my 7 year old daughter and I put them away.  My 5 year old is in charge of the grocery bags and putting the cereal away.
 
Each summer, the three oldest are responsible to go through their drawers and closets to see which clothes fit and which ones need to be pasted on to someone else.
 
We are a busy sport family and are Saturdays are booked with games.  The kids know that helping out actually makes it easier for them since they want us at the games on Saturday, not at home doing chores all day.  I always tell them that since I'm not the only one living in the house and making the mess, I won't be the only one cleaning it!!!! 

One way to show your kids the benefit of "pitching in" is to only clean up your things, only wash your clothes, and only fix your meals.  They will get a "taste of their own medicine"!

Daughter who is fourteen
Monday - clean glass doors that open onto the patio. Clean inside and outside of microwave. Vacuum all of the upstairs (3 bedrooms and hallway)
Tuesday - off...she has a class all afternoon
Wednesday - Vacuum the stairs and downstairs (large living room and den)
Thursday - clean her own bathroom completely
Friday - dust all the blinds upstairs and downstairs. They are wood and there are 13 of them. Dust and clean her own room.
Saturday - vacuum stairs and downstairs again, and there is a weekly chore she has to do such as mop the kitchen floor, help me clean the tops of the cabinets, change bed sheets
She is also responsible for doing all the fa