Chores and the idea of service
by Beverley Paine
The thing that is missing from most conversations about chores is the word 'service'. Service to self, others, and the environment (other living things). Chores are the essential work of surviving and thriving. There are a lot of chores which humans have created over millennia that are, to my way of thinking, absolutely non-essential (like high-paid paper pushing jobs and driving a rig that is trucking uranium ore out of the ground, but I'm being a tad judgemental there...), but the ones that we do at home, the ones this discussion is talking about, well, they are the work of simply living. And to make sense and to be meaningful to our children chores need to be the work of simply living and living simply.
For example, we don't wash the windows more than once a year because in our environment they really only need washing once a year to serve their purpose... When the quality of light is starting to dim and our view is getting slightly obscured by the accumulated dust, moth dirts and salt we wash the windows. If we do it more often than that birds fly into them and knock themselves silly, and sometimes dead. Our windows are there for fresh air, light and to enjoy the view. Not to impress us or visitors with how sparkling and clean they look (even though I do love and enjoy sparkling clean windows when I see them). My children grew up with me rationalizing about all the different jobs we needed to do to keep the place running effectively and efficiently - they know and understand the reasons why people do these things (and why some people do them differently or more or less frequently, because everyone has different needs and values).
I wish I'd instilled a sense of service into myself when my kids were very young and that we'd started off family life understanding the importance of it. I honestly think there is a class system legacy that has polluted the idea of service and which poisoned my parents' generation (English - may not apply to that generation from other parts of the world). To be seen to be cleaning or shovelling dirt or any kind of menial or labouring task meant admission of one's economic position in society - poor or working class status. My mum was 'in service' for the first part of her working life, a servant. She hated the thought of her children (or grandchildren) ending up doing that kind of work. I think that generation wanted their descendants to go to uni to earn enough money to be able to pay others to do the 'chores', the simply everyday work we all need to do to survive and thrive. So there has been a societal wide aversion to doing the chores for a few generations now...
Doing the chores is giving service to ourselves, our family, friends and neighbours and to our environment. We need to take the judgement out of the word 'chore' - it's not something we have to do, it's something we need to do, to look after ourselves, others and our environment. It's looking after what we value.
More articles on chores:
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people." Vanessa
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's
individual learning needs?
Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?
Over 1000 reassuring and
informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent
You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and
more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you
can source all your needs related to home education and
find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.
Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie
"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since
my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.
Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!