I recently read a book that is changing the way our house functions. It was called "Managers of Their Chores" by Steven and Teri Maxwell. I'm not one to push a book on someone, but I will tell you that if you have children...you need to read this book. The entire concept of this book is, of course, about chores which is nothing new. But it's the approach the book takes on that's intriguing.
Since we homeschool we are here in the house during the day (when we are not out and about going places), but on average we are here most all day. With that in mind, we can mess up a house something fierce and fast. At the end of most days, I found myself picking up, wiping up and cleaning up most of the messes. The kids would help when I asked them to, but I got to thinking "why was I the one doing all the work?" Thus the need for the book.
The approach of the book is to set aside or "schedule" a part of each day and assign chores for each child to do. It explains that it's easier for some children to do chores in 30 minute segments. We set up "morning chores" for 30 minutes every morning and "afternoon chores" for 30 minutes every afternoon. Their morning chores consist of 5 simple chores that are always the same (1. get dressed, 2. put PJs away, 3. make bed) and so forth. And 1 chore that rotates each day of the week (such as Mon. - bring down laundry/sort, Tues. - polish certain furniture, Wed. - vacuum bedroom) and so forth.
Afternoon chores have only two chores. One that never rotates and the second one does (just as the morning routine does). Now you might be asking me how in the world do you remember who does what. This is the really cool part. Each child "wears" what is called a chorepack during the 30 minutes of chores. They go from card to card doing whatever your card tells you to do. When you are done with that chore put it to the back of the stack and go on to the next one. It's like wearing their own personal chore list with them at all times.
Now when it's time for chores, I simply tell the kids "go get on your chorepacks" and the work begins. It has been so very helpful to me just to not have to remind the kids to do certain things and to have the extra help with other things. Granted they still are kids so you can't be too terribly picky about the job they are doing - there is a limit to what they can do. But at least I know that I am teaching them life skills 30 minutes at a time.