Below are just a few of the ideas I came up with:

• Organize bookshelves. Have students sort and classify books by genre or subject, alphabetically or using the Dewey Decimal system. Do the same with videos and CD's.
• Help teach younger siblings. Have older children create educational games or flashcards for younger children. This is a great way for them to review, plus, those games that I'm always "planning" to create, but never actually get to, become a reality.
• Menu planning. Assign the creation of a rotating menu plan. A child can determine family favorites, incorporate required food groups and develop a plan for Mom to use in shopping and meal preparation. (There are many methods for this--have your student research and determine what he or she thinks is the best approach.)
• Write recipe cards. Make good use of handwriting practice by having your student copy all those clipped-out recipes onto cards.
• Gardening. Older children can plan, plant and harvest a garden. This could be as elaborate as a full plot or as simple as a container garden.
• Landscaping. Last year my 16-year-old son took it upon himself to spruce up our lawn. He checked out several books on lawn care, bought some fertilizer and seed, and gave us the best looking lawn we'd had in years. Do you have any landscaping projects a child could take charge of?
• Cooking and baking. Would you like to try bulk cooking, but just don't have the time to organize it? Let an older child plan the shopping list and cooking for several batches of one or two dishes. Students can practice fractions by preparing several batches of those baking mixes you've wanted to put together but never quite found the time to prepare.
• Family tree. Put a child in charge of researching and filling out a family history.
• Make gifts. Create calendars, photo collages, knit scarves or blankets, sew, build birdhouses, etc. Use a craft or hobby to create gifts for others or items you need around the home.

This is pretty exciting! With a little consideration and planning on my part, I can teach my children and accomplish those items on my "to do" list in one fell swoop. Not only that, but my children are able to see the fruits of their labor and recognize that they are a vital and integral part of our household. What could be better than that?


Dena Wood is a homeschooling mom of five and resides in eastern Washington State. She is co-owner of, specializing in non-traditional learning materials, and creators of, a multiplication memorization system. She and her partners also operate, which offers creative learning tips and ideas.

This article was originally published in the May/June '07 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine, a national publication dedicated to encouraging and equipping Christian homeschoolers. For more information, visit