Even a House Full of Adults Needs A Chore System! {Review}

Five years ago I had the opportunity to review Everyday Cooking from Everyday Homemaking.  This time, as a Crew Leader, I received an updated digital version of Everyday Cooking as well as a digital copy of Everyday Family Chore System.

Like the Ninth Edition (revised in 2011), the new 12th Edition of Everyday Cooking,revised just this past July 2017,  is full of recipes and tips.  This new edition has 203 pages and more recipes!

I know I said this 5 years ago but I must say it again. Vicki Bently cooks like me and I think that is one of the reasons I love this cookbook!  When I think of old fashioned home cooking, I think of things like Mom's Roast, Chicken and Dumplings, or Hamburger Gravy.  Yes, those are all recipes included in this book.  When I think of everyday food or meals, I think of hamburger stroganoff, sloppy joes, and "unstuffed" chicken breasts.

One of the new recipes is for an Asian Sweet and Sour Sauce.  I also spotted new Skillet Chicken recipes and a Low-Carb Biscuit recipe. These are all on my to-try list.

During the review period we adapted the Banana Muffin recipe to be Banana Chocolate Chip.   When Boobear was lamenting that she hadn't had baked oatmeal in a long time I pulled out the Baked Oatmeal recipe.  It was as good as we remembered.

But what I really want to share with you is the Everyday Family Chore System. In 2012 when the Crew reviewed Everyday Homemaking last, I only had the opportunity to use the Everyday Cooking eBook.  I needed to see the Everyday Family Chore System to perform my duties as a Crew Leader but I didn't think I would actually use it.  I was wrong.

My family is in a new season of life.  We started transitioning a year ago when Turtlegirl went away to college.  Now we have to find another new normal for us as Boobear is an adult living at home.  Tailorbear started classes at a local technical college.  It will be just Supergirl and I home alone many days.

We are all busy.  We all live here.  Chores still need to happen.  We still need a system.  We may not be in the season of chore training but just because the girls grew up doesn't mean the need to do chores has stopped.

I don't know about your house but at my house I frequently hear the lament "I don't want to be the only one doing chores."  Everyone feels like they are the only one who does it so they don't do it.  That means nobody is doing chores.  Things are just not getting done.

I needed inspiration.  I needed a jump start.  I think I've found it with th Everyday Family Chore System.  This book is divided into three parts plus the introduction.  The three parts are:

  • Laying a Foundation
  • Implementing a Plan
  • The Actual Chore System

Laying a Foundation:

In this section Mrs Bently shares four basic principles that need to be understood.  These principles are the foundation that lays the groundwork for the how-to sections.   These principles are:

  • Have Age Appropriate Expectations
  • Establish Rules or Standards
  • Have a Working Knowledge of Family Discipline
  • Tie Strings to Their Hearts

Implementing a Plan:

In Part Two Implementing a Plan Mrs Bently includes a Life Skills Checklist.  This checklist is divided into sections based on how old the child should be to start learning those sills.  She also includes the age that the child should be proficient.  For example she lists that a 7 year old should start to be responsible for washing and drying own hair and by age 10 should master this.  She also lists that a 7 year old could start to clean bathrooms but not necessarily be able to fully accomplish that task until around age 12.  She emphasizes:

The age category under which an item falls lets you know the age at which you might consider beginning to train a child at this task; the age in parentheses is the age at which you might expect him to be able to fully accomplish the task. (p. 15)
This checklist should be a guideline and not a strict measuring stick.  I love that she keeps it real by acknowledging that she is not competent in all the areas that she includes in the checklist.  That made me feel better about the gaps I've noticed in my children (and myself!).

In this part she has sections titled:

  • Delegate/assign Responsiblities
  • Suggestions for the actual "set up" of the system
  • Teach them How to Work
  • Make it Easy to Succeed
 Each of those sections are full of information! Even though much of this is focused on young children and teaching them how do the chores, I found reading this section to be what I needed to jumpstart my brain into thinking about possible systems.

I keep coming back to the Delegate/assign Responsibilities section because I think this is the heart of what I need.  There are 4 of us plus Supergirl.  Even Supergirl is capable of doing some chores.

Before we can divide up the chores (assign them!), we need to know what it is we need to do be doing and deciding how often it needs to be done.  She does have a list of possible jobs in Part 3.

Like with the cookbook, I found myself nodding in agreement as I read through some of her tips and ideas in the Make it Easy to Succeed section in Part 2.  I am glad I am not the only one who says "don't put it down, put it away!"   I wonder if she is more successful with that in her family? I know several of my family members who really struggle with this concept.  We once found math homework in the refrigerator.  Still not quite sure how it ended up there but usually the object gets put down anywhere and we can't find it when we need it.  This also means clutter and things laying out everywhere.  Even as adults this is something we need to work on.

The Implementing a Plan part of the book is the heart of the book. It is the longest section and it is filled with practical tips and ideas including suggestions for rewards.

The Actual Chore System

Before moving on to part 3 The Actual Chore System Mrs Bentley gives a quick review of parts 1 and 2.   It is very tempting to jump right in with Part 3. I encourage you to read through parts 1 and 2 no matter what season of life you are in.  The author does state that you may want to refer to Part 3 as you read through Part 2 and I agree that was helpful but do not skip over Part 1 or Part 2 just to get to Part 3!

The Chore System has two parts:  The How-To Cards and the Job Labels.  I really wish I had used How-To cards when I was teaching the girls different chores.  I'm thinking a few of those now would not be a bad idea.

She included several pre-printed how-to cards such as Setting the Table or Wash Bathroom Walls.  She also included job labels for the most common tasks.  Some of the job labels are: Groom Animals, Sort Laundry, and Cut Grass.

I love that she included job cards for Help Brother and Help Sister!  Vicki Bentley even included Assistant Cook as a job label.

What I love best are the blank cards.  Because my copy is a PDF Download I can just print however many sheets I need directly onto Card Stock.  If you purchase the printed copy she encourages you to photocopy the blank pages onto card stock though you can use them straight from the book.

There is a Suggested Resources page after the last page of blank cards but with the new website design I couldn't find the referenced list of resources.  Hopefully Everyday Homemaking will put the list back on their website or better yet include it in the next printing or edition of the book.

Our Chore System

So Boobear, Tailorbear and I brainstormed how to take the ideas from The Everyday Family Chore System and put together something that we could use.  Something VISIBLE.  Something easy.  The original Bentley system used clothespins on a large board. Mrs Bentley describes several ways you can use the Job Labels.

We decided we liked the board idea.  But instead of having the names of family in the center with weekly chores on one side and daily on the other we would color code them.   We put names in different sections.  We also decided to laminate the job cards and use velco.

Our Family Chore System is still in the "working out the kinks" and "testing".   It's a work in progress.  I'm excited though. It's a step in the right direction.

Do you have a chore system that works for you?  Do you have a cookbook that will help you teach cooking skills to your children?

Go read more reviews!  I think you'll want your own copy of Everyday Cooking or the Everyday Family Chore System!

Visit Everyday Homemaking on Facebook!

Everyday Cooking and Chores Systems for your Family {Everyday Homemaking Reviews}

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