I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

5 Reasons We're Making Our Kids Work Too

 Yesterday the Hubs worked without us because we went to visit with my sister-in-law and my two sweet nieces. They live about 8 hours away from us so visits to our area are not to be wasted. It was a lovely day off for the kids and I and a grueling day of work for the Hubs. I couldn't believe how much he was able to get done in one day! He finished ripping up the carpet, finished pulling out those ghastly baseboard heaters, and cleared out a ton of overgrowth outside. I'm not being sarcastic when I say he is my hero- for real, he is the best!

Today we were back at it and we made some great progress. The kids got some time at the pond while we did some measuring and planning, but then it was time to get to work and they were put on a job right alongside us.

In this kid-centric society of ours a lot of parents would view making our kids work as unfair and mean, but we disagree. Here's why:

1. We're homeschoolers.

Recently Kirk Cameron got the homeschool community all aflutter with his description of his family "Lifeschooling". We all loved it so much because it really resonates with us. Sure, we do Math, History, and Science, but we also do so much more. Our kids experience real life every. single. day. Some days we don't do formal school because life is literally running us over- and the kids see that reality. They aren't off somewhere believing that life as an adult is all peaches and cream because they see real life in action. Let's face it, it isn't always pretty.

The Heap provides us with a wealth of invaluable education for our kids. We've got science...electrical, plumbing, bugs, gardening. We've got history when we talk about how the house was built and how things have changed. We've got math when we measure and cut and install. You get the picture. Why would we let these precious opportunities pass them by? They'll thank us for this education some day. They will.

2.  Boy Bonding Time:
There is a strange, but true phenomena with menfolk- they talk best when working shoulder to shoulder. I know, it's weird, but there it is. I have never felt as connected with the Hubs as I do when we're working on a project together and now I'm experiencing the same thing with Boo. Tonight as we worked he chattered away.....we talked about perseverance- what it means and how a man of honor perseveres. We talked about how of all the people anywhere his daddy is my very favorite one and that's how it should be. We talked. If I try to have serious talks with this boy child of mine any other time he squirms away, but working.....he's all mine. It's a priceless thing.
3. Work is a Biblical Command:
Proverbs 31 tells of a woman who works in many different ways.  Proverbs 12:11 says, "Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense." And 2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, "..if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." It's pretty clear God expects us to work while we're here and a thing not learned as a child is very often a thing never learned- our kids are going to learn how to work now so that when they are adults they are prepared.


4. Ownership:
This is their home too. We want them to be proud of their home and we want them to care about their home. If they are working to help keep it clean or helping to renovate it they are much more likely to recognize when their actions could be destructive or cause a big mess. And when they don't, they get a valuable lesson in consequences  as they have to help clean up or repair the damage.
5. Reward of Job Well Done:
When we finished working tonight Bug said, "I feel like a huge weight is lifted now that I can see how nice the floors look." I asked her if she was proud of the work she had done and she was quick to reply, "Yes!" Both kids could see the pay off of their work and they were really pleased. So were we. They did a great job with great attitudes, which means we're doing a good job teaching them, I hope.
One more night of work and all the floors will be ready for re-finishing. We hope to have someone out there to do that this week since we have to move in next week. We would have preferred to wait to re-finish floors until the other renovations are done, but when you're moving into a tiny house with wood floors throughout you don't have many options for re-finishing while living there. It will need to be done before we move it if at all possible. Now that they've had all the staples and tack strips removed and been swept we can see how great they're going to look and we're really excited. The plumber was out today as well so we expect to have that all set this next week too, which means a working toilet and shower. Moving in is sounding a lot more desirable now!


  1. Hi Tonia, I'm a fellow R 16:16 blogger, and I've really enjoyed reading your journey! We did a similar thing, only we were building the house around us while living in it. You are right, that you find out just how much you can live without! And I am so glad we put our 4 & 6 year olds to work--they are now 22 & 24, and have a great work ethic :-)

    1. Welcome! Thanks for coming along for the ride!

      I have a feeling a lot of stuff is going to be leaving once we can get all the boxes unpacked. If it sits in the garage for months (or...gulp...years) and we don't miss it, why would we need to bring it in at all?

      So good to hear from someone who survived this journey...some days I wonder if I will!