When our two daughters were growing up in the 1970s and 80s, “chores” – cleaning, laundry, cooking, gardening, dishes, car and household maintenance – were never treated like nasty work that people tried to avoid, or for which one person was solely responsible. They were just a natural part of life…like learning! They needed to be done, and they were. Inevitably, some of us enjoyed some chores more than others, but our family of four shared them fairly equitably, without much fuss and with no coercion.
I’ve often wondered why other families have such a different experience. Indeed, chores seem to be one of the flash points in discussions about “unschooling.” And the choices are often either 1) insist on kids doing them, sometimes with outright coercion or 2) mom does them. This post from the blog Stories of an Unschooling Family describes a third way (reflective of how things worked in our family): If we truly respect our children to the degree that we are there for them, to help them when they ask and to facilitate their lives with empathy, they will be inclined to treat us the same way. So even if chores are the purview of one person in your family, and even if it’s seen as “helping” when others do their share, this post is a useful reminder about modeling behavior – whether it’s about academic learning or other aspects of life.