Everyone has after school jobs. Tyler empties trash M, W, F, S, Su and takes it to the curb M & Th. Jasmine does it on Tu and Th so she can get used to doing an after school job. Jessica vacuums. She also helps a lot with transportation and errands since she has her license and is quite responsible. Adam cleans the bathroom. He actually does it before school since he leaves an hour later than the others and then he just tidies it up after school.
I do the wash and unload the dryer if the kids are at school but the kids take turns unloading the dryer after school. It rotates by month. If you don't want to take a turn, you have the option to wash and dry your own clothes on the weekend. Adam is the only one who does that. That is why he has on his swimsuit and a long sleeve shirt last post. We don't have certain wash days, just whenever the basket is full.
The way jobs are assigned is in order of behavior and cooperation. When it's time to choose new jobs, usually at the beginning of the school year, the best behaved child chooses first and so on. I wouldn't do this for younger children. When mine were younger (and we had up to 7 children at a time) we would rotate by week and teach each child each job. Now that three of them are teens they don't want to rotate jobs but Ty & Jessica have agreed to trade jobs mid year. Dusting the house, cleaning the fridge and sweeping and organizing the utility room are paid jobs for anyone who needs a couple extra dollars.
Jasmine is the first one home from school and we work on homework and reading until the high school kids get home. She does whatever jobs she has and sometimes we bake cookies or cupcakes and have them ready when the older kids come home.
Everyone is required to do one hour of homework or studying each day. When they do it depends on what else they have that day.
Everyone is allowed 30 minutes of media time a day--computer, Wii, Game Cube. You have to be done with jobs and homework.
Everyone has a supper job and they are assigned the same way. Tyler sets out plates, cups and silverware, puts away left overs and wipes down. Jessica sweeps and mops the floor and Adam has dishes. Jasmine doesn't have a supper job yet. She is capable but there aren't that many jobs. I may give her wiping down the cupboards soon or counting out silverware. Each child cooks once a month. They pick the recipes and write out the shopping list. The older two also cook Mondays and Jessica often chooses to cook other times. She likes to grill. (She is a lot like her Aunt Lou!)
Life is a bit confusing on weeknights.
On Monday Jasmine has ballet at 3:30 and soccer at 6:00. Plenty of time in between. Either Tyler or Jessica starts supper that night--something easy like tuna helper or hotdogs.
On Tuesdays Jessica has marching band and doesn't get home until 5. Tyler has karate at 4:00. He rides his bike. It's been good for him in more than one way. He used to come home and procrastinate on everything. Now he comes home, does his job quickly and is back out the door. Jasmine has gymnastics at 5:30. So we have people coming and going all afternoon.
On Wednesdays Jasmine has tap/jazz at 3:30 followed by hip hop at 4:30. This is the first year she's had more than one dance class and she loves it. Jessica and Tyler drive to the public library on Wed afternoon to get books, then they come by and get Jasmine. Jessica drops Ty off at his new church and then the girls go to our church. They pick Ty up afterwards and all come home.
It sounds confusing, but it works.
Just a note on Ty's new church for those of you who have been following that story. The youth pastor and assistant came to visit Monday night and said that Ty has been a real blessing to them in the two weeks he's been attending. They said that Wed nights are always quiet, no one answers the questions or interacts and one boy actually fell asleep but that Ty had jumped right in answering questions and talking and really brought some life to the group. Ty is in web design with the boy who was sleeping so he woke him up! I thought it was good that Ty jumped right in and participated because his aspergers affects his muscle tone including in his mouth so his speech isn't really clear.
Thursday is Jasmine's totally down day. Nothing. And she can't add anything because everyone needs down time. Ty has karate again and Jessica has marching band. Then Ty has police explorers. It's a good program the police department has for kids 8th grade and up. They learn police procedures, help patrol the mall, help at parades and even have a buddy at a poor school for Christmas. You don't have to be planning to go into police work to be in it. Ty plans to go into computer graphics but he enjoys Explorers and it's been really good for him. It increases civic awareness and such too.
Friday used to be a down day for Jasmine but her soccer coach added an extra practice. That's only for a few more weeks though. Jessica sometimes marches at football games but that is almost over too.
If you notice that Adam does not have after school activities that is because we are working on some issues in counseling and he has to earn some trust to be able to participate in outside activities. For now he is under parental control at all times. We hope that will change but he is the one who has to do the work to make it change. He has been in soccer in the past and loves it so I hope that will be a motivator. So far it is not.
With everyone heading all different directions, we try to keep somewhat organized. Luches are packed the night before--one sandwhich or other main course, one chips, one dessert and two healthy items--fruit, veggie, yogurt etc. They don't have to take the chips or dessert if they don't want.
We have shelves right inside the back door in the utility hall where the kids come in and two people share a shelf. Backpacks and shoes are suppose to go on the shelves. Sometimes they actually do. Coats hang on a bar in the utility hall and dirty clothes baskets are there too. Everyone has a basket in their room but each morning they bring it out and divide their clothes into the light, dark or wet basket (towels, swimsuits, wash cloths etc). When a basket is full, we wash. Everyone has their own color hanger. If you want your clothes hung, you have to bring your hangers out. Since it's by color we know who is and isn't bringing hangers out.
The kids have their own bathroom and each person has their own door, drawer, and basket that sits by the sink.
If things get dropped through out the house or people haven't claimed their clothes from the laundry area we have a "walk through." That means that everyone goes to the utility hall and walks through the whole house (we have an 80x28 double wide with four bedrooms so this isn't a major thing)picking up anything that's out of place. Clutter bugs me but if it's working clutter (homework projects, craft projects for my books, baking in progress etc), I can ignore it. The walk through is really simple but it works for us.
So that's how life works here!