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18 January 2014

A Parent's Perspective on Housecleaning, Chores, and Payment

I have never believed that children should get paid for doing work around the house that contributes to the running of the house.  For example, my oldest child is responsible for taking out the trash each Wednesday night.  This task also includes checking trash around the house and emptying it as needed during the week. My youngest is the recycler and composter, taking care of both recycling and composting containers as needed. I believe this because these are tasks they will need to be able to do successfully when they are on their own; no one is going to pay them to do all things as adults! When these tasks are not completed successfully there are consequences, usually along the lines of a "PARENTAL LECTURE" (Used sparingly, this is an amazingly useful scare tactic), or loss of technology (including but not limited to TV and iDevices).

However, when it comes to housecleaning my husband and I have been navigating very murky territory. A little over a year ago my girls started getting paid to the clean the house.  Of course, there is a story behind this decision! Since 2005 I'd had a bi-monthly house cleaner and it was awesome!  She cleaned all the rooms, which took so much time off my working mom schedule.  Each of us in the family would spend a few minutes the night before she cleaned putting away various little items that had accumulated all over the house.  I'd started to notice, though, that certain little people were less inclined to pick up their "stuff." Finally, we let go of the housecleaner and told the girls they needed to learn how to clean their own house.  After all unless you are independently wealthy, no one is going to be cleaning your house for you when you are 22 and broke. (For my girls, living with mom or dad throughout their 20's is not an option without some tough and nasty consequences and responsibilities.)

This went...okay. I showed the girls how to clean each room and created a cleaning chart.  We tied their cleaning tasks to money, since they were replacing the cleaning lady. On one hand, I had more money in my pocket each month because these young novices didn't make the same as our experienced and professional house cleaner.  On the other hand, they just didn't do a very good job! We've also had to deal with times when dance or Science Olympiad or the school play have them at practice or rehearsal on their designated cleaning day (That would be Saturday morning) and they had to schedule and do their cleaning at other times.

I have struggled with how teach my children a greater level of responsibility for this task while also teaching them life skills. Working with young college students has taught me more than ever how absolutely essential it is for our young people to learn two things: RESPONSIBILITY and CONSEQUENCES! I decided to create a documentation system that is tied to their earnings.

Each child must document her weekly work, state what went well and declare an area that will need a tighter focus the next week. They must also declare how much they have earned that week.  Plus, without doing this documentation they will not get paid! Jody and I have decided to also offer a bonus system, in which they may accumulate points (not more money, though...) that will earn them cool, fun stuff. We are still working on the details on this. I'll be happy to share when I'm finished with this! This is the cleaning task form I created, you can see it here: Perrien's Cleaning Ticket for Kids

For every mom and dad who states that their kids are too busy to clean the house...this is absolutely not true! NOT TRUE. My oldest is in challenging middle school classes with homework, has an activity after school every day of the week, and has weekend church responsibilities. My youngest is in a competitive after school program on weeknights and sometimes travels on the weekends for this program. She has weekend church responsibilities, too, and homework each night. I argue that every child can find 2-3 hours during the week to contribute at home. If you are reading this and still don't believe your children have the time, I challenge you to spend a week watching your children and documenting what they do each hour.  In fact, Jen at I Heart Organizing has a free printable (Weekly Routine Timetable) for doing just that: I think you will be amazed at how much free time your children do have on their hands!

I believe my job as a mom is to support my children now, and to also prepare them for the rest of their life.  It's a difficult task, but I learn from my mistakes, I learn from the children (or college children) I teach, and I learn from my own two kids.

24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

I had so much fun stopping in to Waukazoo last week and seeing all my "old" kiddos, who are looking very grown up!  I received lots of hugs and excited greetings, which made my day.

Merry Christmas from the Perrien family!

This is our new kitty, Wally, CLIMBING the Christmas tree!

Holly is definitely a snow baby!

The 2013 family Christmas tree

As only Mrs. Perrien would say, "Make sure you keep reading every day over the break!"

Happy Holidays!

29 October 2013

Game Day Saturday!

Remember last year?

This year, Spartans!

Brain Break options!

WOMO friends, look at these…

Are you making sure to work out every day?

I miss you all!

Mrs. Perrien

26 September 2013

It's been almost a month of graduate classes for Mrs. Perrien!  I'm reading a lot of material, meeting some amazing education researchers, and beginning to dive into academic writing.

This is SOME of my reading:

Just one class...

Every Tuesday after lunch I take a quick 25 minute walk around campus to get some physical activity in my day.  I usually choose to walk past the football stadium!

23 years ago, I lived here:  North Case Hall!

 This is how many people get around on campus-bikes or mopeds.  I've even seen one student riding a Barbie scooter!

This is my office.  It's just a little smaller than my old classroom!

I hope everyone is enjoying school at Waukazoo!  Till next time...

Mrs. Perrien

29 August 2013

Even Teacher's Kids...

...don't do their summer homework correctly!

This spring one of my girls was given a summer reading log from her school.  She needed to read a set number of books throughout the summer and return the log to school on the first day.  There's a prize.

"Easy-peasy," I thought, "My girls have to read every day in the summer.  No problem!"

Did that happen?  Nope.  Here's the story.

One of my children is a voracious reader.  I kid you not, she's left me in the dust!  Earlier this summer, I'd left a half-finished book on the coffee table and gone to bed.  The next morning she told me she'd gotten up in the middle of the night, couldn't sleep, came out to the kitchen for some water, saw the book, picked it up and read the whole thing overnight.  It's not a short book, it's this book:

I was reading it to stay ahead of my daughter (who loves the series) as I often do when she wants to read a teen series.  It's not bad, but not exactly my favorite genre so I was moving along more slowly.  But the whole (300+ pages) book?!

Then there's the other kid.  She HAS been reading all summer, but she's been "drive-by reading."  A few chapters of one book, a few of another, back to the first, now let's start a third...all this results in a child who doesn't finish a single book.  Embarrassing.

At first I made this my problem.  I thought, "I let them go to Grandma's house too much."  [But is it ever too much?]  Then I thought, "I should have given her a reading log."  But really, a reading log for summer reading?  Way to kill the joy of reading!  [No...I will never do a summer reading log, by the way...]  Then I thought, "Why is this my problem?"

Let me say I take on very little of my kid's problems.  Forgot your lunch?  Order from school.  [Since they hate it that 's usually all the incentive they need.]  Forgot your homework?  Take the reduced grade and don't forget again!  For many years I was unable to solve these problems THEY created as I worked 22 miles from home.  By default they had to take care of their own issues.  A few times I've delivered forgotten tap shoes/ballet shoes and a violin...but for a price.  My price is the cost of a gallon of gas.  So, how bad do you want/need that violin?

I decided that this issue is more than a gallon of gas but it's still NOT my problem.  I'VE been doing my reading!  (Mrs. Perrien does her summer homework!)  I've read all kinds of books this summer, including textbooks, professional journals, the Alex McNight series by Steve Hamilton, an Organic Gardening book about garden pests and natural control, and the Fallen series pictured above.  There are others I've read, too.  I told the kid, "Boy!  You've created a problem for yourself!" walked away, and continued reading my journal article on preservice teachers.

If my girls are to develop their own independent reading lives they must be allowed to work through these challenges.  She has loved the stories she's read, but she doesn't read as if her life depends on it.  In and of itself, that's not a bad thing, and she's so relaxed about getting to the end of the book.

Yesterday she asked me NOT to tell her 6th grade teacher at Back-to-School night...and I didn't.  Will she solve her own problem?  I don't know; but my house has been blissfully quiet for the past four days and I've loved every moment of it.
**Credit must be given where credit is due.  Thanks to my library goddess friend, Mrs. Hart, who taught me the gas money = delivered goods parenting trick.

30 July 2013

A Spartan's Update


Several students asked me to keep them updated via the blog on my life at MSU.  For that reason, this blog will live on for a while!  

Here's what I can share so far!  First, I will be supervising student teachers at an elementary school in Grand Rapids and I will be teaching a 'teaching literacy' class on campus.  The class will be for college juniors/seniors who are planning to be elementary teachers.  I am also taking classes on campus ALL DAY on Tuesdays.  I'm pretty excited about my classes, one of them is a literacy class focusing on the history of literacy research and instruction.  I'll be on campus three days a week this fall.

Am I ready?  I don't know, I guess we'll find out soon!  I'm working on preparing all my materials for the class I'll be teaching and trying to cram all that *stuff* into my home office has been highly entertaining.  All I can say is...God Bless Ikea!

Ikea aside, I'm incredibly touched by my Waukazoo co-workers' generosity.  They made sure I was equipped with all the essentials.  Check it out!

Even Holly is embracing her Inner Spartan!

Not to worry, Danny...Mrs. Wagner made sure a Michigan item made it into the mix!

I begin my work life on August 16.  I'll be working pretty consistently from that point forward until I begin classes the week of August 26.  I'll post a few pictures of my first week on campus!