Posted by: angiefm | April 12, 2010

Civics and Moral Ed & Family Work

Civics and Moral Education

I was catching up with blog posts from a friend’s blog last night (the posts had been sent to a folder and I only discovered the lot last night!).  Last month she blogged about how her daughter’s Secondary One Civics and Moral Education teacher gave the students an assignment – to perform five different household chores during the week-long school holidays.  Her daughter’s list was:

1. Hang laundry
2. Fold clothes
3. Sweep floor
4. Dust furniture
5. Make breakfast for brother

Oh man!  We are working on Civics and Moral Ed assignments all day every day here!  LOL!  In fact, our children have an even longer list!

Famiily Work

I read a post on a Charlotte Mason chat group a couple of months ago.  They post a QOTW, Question of The Week, every week and everyone is free to post their thoughts on it.  Well the question of that week was:

What chores do your children do and how do you make sure they keep up with their chores?

One mother responded saying that in her family they don’t do chores.  They do “family work”.

BAH!  I thought.  Surely the difference was simply in semantics?

But she continued with a thought-provoking and beautiful summary of how they do things in their home.  She used to have chore charts and checklists.  These she found tedious to track, and did not like the bribing, nagging and manipulating that went with them.  Then 7 years ago, with 2 sons married and 5 children (aged 5 to 20) still at home, she talked to some older women, read Deuteronomy 6:7, thought about how things used to be on family farms, and then instituted “family work” in their home.

Basically it is this.  Mother has things to do around the house, and the children help.  They don’t have a separate list of things to do.  Everyone works together to complete the tasks which running the household entail. 

She explained that it has helped her build relationships with each of the children as they work together, and she has had time to talk to them, train them, use teaching moments as they present themselves, and develop good habits in her children.  There is no isolation which happens as each child is sent off to some room or corner to do his/her own thing, no one is done before everyone else so the one who finishs later and has less playtime does not feel disgruntled.  Even when a child has mastered an area of work and can do it independently, she stays around to talk and just be there as she herself works on something else.  At the end of her post, she writes that her children are able to work both independently and as a team as needed.


I was floored!  THIS, I thought, was certainly the way to go!  So many mothers have told me that they have so much difficulty getting their children to complete their chores and with a good attitude.

So in the last 2 weeks  (16 days to be exact, but who’s counting?  :D), this is what we have been trying to do.  Family Work.  When I do the laundry – loading the machine, hanging out the wet clothes, folding, putting away, I have one or all the children with me and we do it together.  When we pack up so that the house is what we call “iRobot friendly”, ie nothing on the floors, we do it together.  When we make the beds in the morning, we do it together.  When I cut fruits for our mid-afternoon snack and juice, we do it together.  When we clean up at the end of the day (Daddy TC calls it zapping the Dust Zombies!), we do it together.  When we clear, wash, dry the dishes after meals, we do it together. 

Not everyone is doing something all the time of course.  Sometimes they are just THERE beside me, talking or being my messenger or getting things from cupboards.  Of course there will always be someone who has to have a bath, or go to the toilet, or who has something else to do, but that person isn’t off doing another piece of unrelated work in another part of the house.  And there usually is someone who is on “baby duty”, but that person knows that he or she is in another room looking after Daniel so that the rest of us can do things without them being rapidly undone.  🙂

So far … so great!  Our children have been happy helpers.  VERY happy helpers.  Work gets cleared really quickly and I have been very pleased with the way things are working out here.

To all those who have been very concerened about our going maidless (or maid-FREE as my cousin calls it), especially to the older folk, I have been saying that this is a one-year experiment.  Well if it is, we are 2 weeks down, 50 to go!

Happy Homemaking!


  1. Can I borrow your kids? 😛

    • I don’t think you’ll want to. Put Timothy and Daniel (yours, not mine) together, and they won’t get anything done! Ha ha ha!

  2. inspiring! could you post the link to that blogpost or chat pls? i’d like to read it and hopefully find some more inspiration tt will lift me out of my rut wrt chores aka family work.

    ee lin

    • Hi there Ee Lin,

      I belong to the cmason yahoogroup. They are fabulous! Very inspiring and thought provoking. If you join the group and search the posts for “family work”, you will get two by DonnaG and a couple of responses to her post.


  3. inspired and amazed as always. God bless you and multiply your efforts as you continue maidless …. i like the idea of family work ! will try it out !!!

  4. Nice to read as we have unconsciously been doing that. After breakfast is when we are all working – mopping fixing lunch, etc… once its time for school and other stuff we all settle down to do it. After dinner, we just all automatically busy ourselves with clothes, washing etc… Always felt that I should implement some chore system… well maybe I don’t need to after all!

  5. We didn’t call it family work per se but I have happy memories of helping with dinner preparations in the kitchen and then setting the table as I chatted with my mom about life and school and all sorts of things. I never thought of that daily two hours as a chore, it was something I looked forward to every evening. Your post reminded me of that. 🙂

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