Tag Archives: chores

Around the House – Chores For Preschoolers

Since we’re doing an Around the House theme this week for Noah’s homeschool preschool, I thought this would be a great time to focus on chores that preschoolers can and should be doing around the house.

Often in the public school system, children with Down syndrome have a great academic experience from grades K-8 or so, and then the academics are dropped and an emphasis on life skills begins.  I think life skills are important, so important that I think we should start focusing on life skills before we start focusing on academics.  Learning and functioning is about so much more than we can measure on a worksheet.  How can our children function in a group setting, what skills can they perform for themselves, how can they be of service to those around them, can they participate in a give and take environment or are they confined to the sidelines?  True inclusion is about more than just whether a person with special needs is tolerated or not.  True inclusion allows a person not only to receive but also to give as much as the next person without exception. 

I think as parents we often focus on inclusion being something that institutions and our society should provide to our children simply by virtue that our child is a living, breathing, human being.  Certainly, a society that welcomes all members and gives accommodation whenever needed would be a step in the right direction, but there’s another dimension to this that begs the question:

Are we equipping our children with special needs to function to their highest ability when they ARE included?

Have you ever watched a person with Down syndrome, or any other disability for that matter, when they are out in public?  When do they look the happiest?

They look the happiest, they are the happiest, not when they are being “included” or “accommodated”, but when they are contributing to what is going on around them, whether it’s the cooking, the cleaning, or even the conversation.  No inclusion policy or requirement is ever going to equip a person with special needs to contribute; it will only give them an environment in which they can use their equipping. 

So how do we equip our children to become children and then adults who can make the most out of every situation that provides inclusion?  We teach them how to work alongside others, play alongside others, talk appropriately, listen appropriately. 

Don’t wait for kindergarten, start now. 

When there is work to be done, do you include your child with special needs, or do you excuse him because letting him go off and play requires less work on your part than providing the supervision helping would require?  Inclusion, like so many other things, starts in the home.

In the coming days I’ll be sharing some ideas we’re using this week to make sure we are a full-inclusion home.  These chores are things any preschooler can learn to do, often starting at age 2 or 3.  Our children with special needs may need longer to learn them, but most will be fully capable of doing these things by the time they enter kindergarten.  I feel like I’ll just be scratching the surface, so I’d love to hear what works in  your house or classroom when it comes to little ones and chores.  

And remember, these chores aren’t just about what gets accomplished by the end of the day, they’re about what is being accomplished in the life of a child.

Saturday Solitude

I ran away from home yesterday . . .

Aww, don’t worry.  I do it every Saturday, and I’m always back by 4:00.

And in a better frame of mind.

Before I started blogging, I spent my Saturdays searching for STUFF at the thrift store, fabric store, teacher supply store, Goodwill, Costco and the local HEB.  I always seemed to come home with way more than I left with (I try to bring things to the thrift store every Saturday), and a guilty conscience for spending money on more stuff.

But then I learned how to make PECs, and THEN I started blogging.

And I realized if I spent my Saturdays at the library, I could have a good 3-4 hours of totally uninterrupted on-line time.  Delicious.

So, blogging is actually saving us a decent amount of money.

Except my lovely step-daughter told me about a Goodwill outlet store in Austin.  $1.39 a pound.  I think that takes having a stuff problem to a whole new level when you’re wanting to buy it by the pound.  And how is it I have lived in the Austin area for 14 years and never heard of the Goodwill outlet, and my step-daughter who has been here less than a year has already discovered it?

Oh, yeah, I don’t get out much.

Except on Saturdays.

The Goodwill outlet works like this:  They have aisles of shallow bins about 4 feet long.  There’s a section for clothing, a section for housewares/toys, a section for electronics and a section for books.  The problem is none of it is sorted by size or type.  So it’s just massive stuff.  As one aisle gets picked through and the bins start looking sparse, the workers rope off the aisle and take away the old bins and bring in new ones.  No one is allowed in the aisle as they change out the bins, and there’s a security guard there just in case.  When the new bins are all in place (and a line has formed at the “starting gate,” the security guard nods his head, and the race is on.  It’s like Black Friday over and over again.  Crazy.

Here’s what I scored.  (I stayed away from the aisles as they were getting reloaded, and I was happy to pick through the leftovers.)

I’m not going to admit how much I spent.

Okay, $53.00.  Too much – I think it’s only profitable to pay by the pound if you’re buying clothes.  And I just was not in the mood to dig through the mounds and mounds of clothes.  I did find some great items for the alphabet boxes I’m making for Noah.

But the real deals of the day came at our local thrift store.  I stopped by there, and my husband and son also happened to be there.  Andrew showed me two dressers he had seen and liked, so we bit the bullet and bought them.  They are huge, so once we got them home, our house turned into total chaos as we emptied the kids’ current dilapidated dressers to make way for our new beauties.  Seth’s crib seemed like a good place to dump the books that we had to take off of the bookshelf so we could move it.  Noah liked that idea, his idea of paradise.

It’s amazing how a couple new dressers can turn a house into mass organizational chaos, or was that due to all the other stuff I bought?

Look what else I found:

About 30 brand new Steck-Vaughn workbooks, all subjects, mostly first and second grade – look out Eden and Andres!!!!  Not that I needed that many, but I might be able to use them all. . . someday.  The lady behind the counter looked at me funny, and said disapprovingly, “You know these are gonna cost you a quarter a piece, right?”  I said, “Oh, that’s fiiiiiine.”  As she’s packing them up, she said, how much would you pay for these anyway?  When I told her $10-$20 each, she changed her tune quite a bit.

Another great find – “I Did It Chore Kits.”  I saw these last year at a homeschool convention but didn’t want to spend my curriculum budget on these at $25 a pop.  And the thrift store just so happened to have three of them.

And yes, I am losing the “stuff wars.”  Again.  Sigh.

But at least I have new-to-me dressers for the kids.

Breaking Down Chores with PEC Boards

Ever have one of those children who no matter how many times you show them the correct way to do something, each time they do it, they act like it’s the first time ever?  I’m that way.  I can drive one of the children’s friends home several times, listening to their directions as I drive.  But if you want me to get there without any help, even after I’ve been there two or three times, forget it.  Give me written directions (not a map), and I’ll be able to get there every time.  Same thing with the computer.  I can figure a lot out, but if I don’t write out the steps I’ve taken, tomorrow when I want to do the same exact thing, it will be like starting from scratch.  I’ll have no idea how to get to point C from point A.

Using that principle, I’ve come up with a Sweeping Dining Room Floor – PECs Board for the Middles, since that seems to be the job that never seems to get done properly around here.  Since most of us have dining tables and floors underneath them, I thought this would be a good board to share.

Your Turn:

Anyone else struggling out there with children’s chores?  In your house, what works, what doesn’t?  Have you found chore charts to be helpful or has something else worked better?