Coronavirus Break, Day Six: Housework For Kids

Mar 20, 2020

After a good bit of prefatory work on the part of teachers at Veritas, yesterday was really the first day in which students began working from home in earnest. My wife is on the administrative team at the school, and while the quarantine means less work for some people, it means far more work for people such as herself. So, between writing and podcasting, I supervise Beatrice (8) and Camilla’s (10) studies, field endless requests to play outside, and keep house.

More time at home means more clutter, more dishes, and life out-of-uniform means more laundry, as well. Accordingly, both my daughters have been vacuuming, cooking, cleaning, folding, and so forth at about five times their usual rate. I regularly complain about the over-abundance of Christian books about childrearing and marriage, but I’ll take this opportunity to praise the work of Keith McCurdy, whose lectures on the importance of having children do housework were a godsend when I first heard them several years ago. You can listen to a number of interviews with the fellow over at Basecamp Live.  

In the first lecture I heard from McCurdy, he suggested a great many teenagers are depressed and alienated from their families because they feel they don’t matter, and they feel this way because they don’t matter— their parents will not let them matter. Their parents will not let them do anything valuable or useful for the life of the family, like cooking and cleaning and repairing little broken appliances and so forth. Just a few hours after I heard Keith McCurdy speak for the first time, I had my children set and clear the table and wash the dishes, and as they washed the dishes, I said, “You’re an important part of this family. You do important work. Washing the dishes is important work.” So, I’m using our time under quarantine to habituate my children to work. It keeps them from getting irritable and bored.

It’s not all work, though. Yesterday I also taught them to play Texas Hold’ Em.

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs is an author, lecturer, and teacher of classical literature at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of How To Be Unlucky, Something They Will Not Forget, and Blasphemers. His wife is generous and his children are funny.

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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