Printables for Homeschoolers and Religious Education Teachers

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Let's Climb Closer to Heaven

Family Project to help kids learn kindness through doing chores

A family project to help children develop consideration and obedience through daily chores with positive attitudes.

Let's face it, nobody likes doing daily chores. St. Therese of Lisieux taught us that through the practice of doing small things for others out of charity, we show others and God that we love them. Having children complete school lessons diligently, with a good attitude or in a timely manner can sometimes be a challenge and a chore in itself. Combine that with the daily tasks, chores, activities that need to be done, and the daily to-do list can be fairly long.

As homeschoolers, we face the special challenge of living in our homes 24/7. Living in our home means more messes, cleaning, and tasks. Add having a large family or children with special needs or running your own business to that, and many homeschooling families can feel overwhelmed. This can easily lead us to burn out. But, through God's grace and the Holy Sacraments, we can use our daily tasks to draw closer to God.

After a trying learning day with her sibling, our youngest daughter came up with this idea. She said that we should try to climb a ladder to heaven everyday. Her original version was hand drawn and so cute. I have since created a more durable version pictured above. She wanted a way to show how our good and bad behaviours and attitudes moved us closer or father away from our Lord in Heaven. This activity can be done per day or per week or per month. We use it weekly with a Friday 6pm cut-off time and a little treat or reward of some kind at the end of the week for those who have completed their daily tasks to the best of their ability and with a good attitude. We do not as for perfection just the best effort with a good attitude.

 

Climb to Heaven Family Project to build obedience and chore skills

 

 

 

 

Wash Up Themed Chore Card

 

 

 

 

Project Overview Steps

Step 1: Print out the Climb the Ladder to Heaven ladder .PDF file and assemble to make a poster five sheets long as pictured above. The pages overlap like a standard banner. Cover your completed poster with contact paper or laminate with a cool laminator for best results. Print, cut out, and cover/laminate the Climb the Ladder to Heaven character pieces .PDF file to represent each child in your family on the ladder. You can include adults as well so that the child can see where they should be by lunch time or days end or however you choose to use it.
 
Step 2: Using the chore helper resources below, select daily or weekly tasks that need to be done by your child or children. As learning, tasks, and/or chores are completed daily with an acceptable attitude, the child moves up the ladder. You may decide to move characters daily or weekly, it is your prerogative. If desired, use one of our chore charts instead of or in conjunction with our Chore Helper Cards to help with individual needs of different aged children. Sometimes charts may work better than cards and vice-versa. What inspires one child may not always inspire another.
 
Step 3: Decide on weekly incentives to reinforce good attitudes and behaviours. These need not be big things, only meaningful to the individual learner. See our list of incentive suggestions below.
 

 

Project Files

Select the resources you would like to use and download it by right clicking on the link and selecting "save target as".  Two basic files are required for this project.

Climb Closer to Heaven Project - The Ladder

Climb Closer to Heaven Project - Character Pieces

Climb Closer to Heaven Project - Printable Chore Cards Set 1

Card set includes the following themes: astronaut, camper, clean-up, cooking, music, pet, pirate, princess, queen, schoolboy, schoolgirl, washing-up, watering, world of learning.

Climb Closer to Heaven Project - Printable Chore Cards Set 2

Use these Chore Helper Cards to remind children to do tasks daily or weekly as requested. This resource works well for children who thrive on incremental learning and who need to feel accomplishments in small things in order to build confidence.

1. To use this resource, first choose and print out a page of chore cards. Some of the themes lend themselves well to particular tasks - dog bowls for walking the dog, scooping the litter box, feeding the hamster and so on. Use the cooking theme for making breakfast, helping set the table, putting away dishes from the drain tray or dishwasher, etc. Vary your selection as desired.

2. Next, write out or have the child write out one task or chore per square. Cut squares apart and glue onto index cards. Cards can be colour coded if desired by child (John in all blue cards, Karen in white, etc.) or by task area (kitchen tasks on yellow cards, learning tasks in green cards, etc.)

3. Store the chore cards. Cares can be stored and organized in a number of ways:

Store cards in an index box from the office supply store or in a colourful recipe card box. Use index card dividers to help organize the cards by person, task area, or frequency of task to be completed.

Another alternative is to put the cards on a ring (the type that opens into a c shape and then closes again.) They can be found in various sizes at the dollar store, craft store or office supply store. Simply choose the cards needed and place them on the ring. Hang the ring in a prominent place for the children. As they complete the chores, they return them to the box. These rings open and close easily. They are not the same type you have on a key ring.

You can also build a holder out of thin wood. Each child would need a "To Do" section and "Done" section. There would also need to be space to store the cards not being used that day. This is a nice alternative when 1-3 children will be participating; more than that and the holder becomes a very dominant feature in the room.

Beginner Chore Chart For Boys and GirlsWatermelon Theme Blank Chore Chart For Boys

Additional Files

Printable Chore Charts for Boys and Girls in Various Themes

As an alternative to chore cards, you may want to take a simpler approach which requires less space and can accommodate more family members by using our chore charts. These colourful sheets are perfect for laminating and repeated use. Some sheets come with chore ideas while others are blank ready for your to write in your own chores to suit your family's needs.

 

Incentive Suggestions

There are many ways to tell children that they have done their "job" well. Here are a few suggestions we have used to get you started.

 •Extending a bedtime

•Selecting the next days meal choice

•Sleeping in 15 extra mins. on a weekday

•Choosing the next family movie

•Having mom serve them tea and cookies - complete with with a teapot, tray, cookies and a story read to them

•Using 15 minutes of extra computer time

•Trading a chore of choice with another person for a week

•Going out for special time with mom or dad by themselves

•Choosing the next game at family game night

•Watching a video of choice

•Leading prayer for their day of choice

•Choosing to have the rosary said for them by other members of the family

•Leading a family rosary

•Choosing the restaurant the next time a meal is eaten out

•Choosing an outing - bowling, mini-golf, picnic, nature walk

•Selecting something from an Incentive Box (See below.)

The Incentive Box

We use a clear, plastic tote type container for each child. We fill the tote with cards with the suggestions above or things the child either wants or needs (special hair bands, colouring books, novels or storybooks, activity books, games, new assorted seasonal clothing, a little toy, a Toonie or two, a new rosary or statue, a new video to watch.) At the end of the week, after a job well done, each child gets one minute to look through the bin and take out something they want. We like this system a lot.

 


 

A Quick Note on Incentives

Many families give allowances to children that are not tied to chores or expectations at all. Some families believe in paying their children for doing chores. This project was created apart from these two ideas. We teach our children that they must do their part in the family to help keep it running and to show charity to the other family members in general. We, along with our parish priest, have reinforced on more than a few occasions to our children that learning is the primary "job" of children. Learning to be a responsible part of the family, learning about our Lord and His church, learning to acquire knowledge, learning and practicing obedience out of charity are all part of a child's "job" of learning. Having said that, we give incentives at week's end for a child who has done their best to do their "job" in all aspects with a good attitude. Perfection is not a requirement. We only ask that one's best effort be given.

We are careful to point out to our children that the incentive box does not replace doing their "job" for goodness sake. What happens if there is no incentive one week because you don't have one to give? Setting children up on a pure goal oriented system can be disastrous if the child decides that the incentive is no longer worthy of their effort. They must be challenged to do their 'job" for goodness sake as well.