Hints for Home Schoolers – Handling the Allowance Question

Money, money , money – how do we teach our children the value of honest work?  Today’s society is obsessed with instant gratification and reward.  We’ve all encountered people with the entitlement syndrome. 
Weekly allowance?  There are a couple of reasons why that is not the best approach.  Giving kids money, just because they are your kids, is akin to the entitlement theory.  Allowance goes nothing towards teaching them the virtue of labor, and may actually cause behavior problems. 
What about per diem, or daily allowance in accordance with daily chores accomplished?  Again , this is not ideal.  Per diem falls in the category of instant gratification.  If the child feels he/she has enough money, or something more important to do  – the chores will not get done.  After all – why not  do it tomorrow?  It is amazing how quickly children can  learn to manipulate their parents this way. 
Money for good grades?  Not a good idea.  The reward for academic achievement can be  praise, perhaps celebration of some sort for spectacular scholarship.  But the real reward for good grades should come from within the child.  Knowing that you have done your best, means that the good grades are the reward. 
Other things that are probably not a good idea to reward with money – self care and basic hygiene (self respect) including:

  • brushing teeth
  • bathing
  • making bed
  • putting away clothing
  • putting away toys and sports equipment
  • cleaning up after oneself in general
  • eating balanced meals (I’m not kidding, some parents pay their kids to eat vegetables)
  • good manners and courtesy
  • cleaning their own rooms, and desk area
  • taking care of any personal pets, that are theirs alone
  • setting table and clearing /washing dishes

Many home school parents feel that children should not be paid for house and yard work, reasoning that kids  are obligated as family members because they live in the home, but I disagree.  If I would pay a maid or lawn service, I can certainly pay my kids for doing the work while helping them learn a valuable lesson at the same time.  Once you have enforced the above required list (which isn’t always easy) you can progress onto the next  (paying) list.

Paying jobs for 2-3 year old’s

  • daily emptying household waste baskets (ones that contain paper)
  • dusting low tables and book shelves ( again, I’m not kidding, their little fingers can get in all the crevices and do an amazingly thorough job)

Paying jobs for 4-5 year old’s

  • dusting reachable surfaces
  • running a small vacuum over an assigned area
  • spraying and wiping vinyl floors with non-toxic cleaner and paper towels or bar mop towels
  • include previous list

Paying jobs for 6-7 year old’s

  • watering outside vegetable garden
  • feeding and watering pets
  • include all of previous lists

paying jobs for 8-9 year old’s

  • include all of previous lists
  • brushing pets
  • scrubbing bathtubs,  sinks and mirrors
  • folding laundry
  • raking
  • weeding

Paying jobs for 10-11 year old’s

  • include all previous lists
  • cleaning pet ears and teeth
  • mopping
  • grass cutting
  • ironing
  • organizing
  • cleaning car interior

paying jobs for 12-13 year old’s

  • include all previous lists
  • baby sitting if you have little ones
  • laundry sorting and washing
  • washing windows
  • outside painting (picnic tables, fences, etc. )
  • garage and or barn/shed cleaning
  • this child may be responsible enough by now to “hire out” (do these things for other people ie: baby sitting, yard work)
  • inventory groceries and supplies

paying jobs for 14-15 year old’s

  • include all previous lists
  • food preservation (canning, freezing)
  • car maintenance (check oil, tire pressure, etc.)
  • many home schooled kids at this age will have steady outside work

By the age of 16, kids should know how to run a home smoothly, and take care of a vegetable garden and yard.  Some rural kids will also know how to take care of large animals and properties.  Very  likely, the 16-17  year old will be working at least a part time job, and will cease being your right hand helper!  And employers will be amazed at your teenager’s  work ethic!
How much you pay your workers  is entirely based on your budget.  My preference was to pay them their age weekly – $12 for a twelve year old, but some parents I know pay their kids double their ages.  (they only have two kids) It really  depends on how many kids you are paying!  Don’t think a two year old is too young to understand the concept of money.  It’s not too early to begin good saving habits as early as two.  The illustration of the glass jars is to emphasize the importance of saving.  Experts advise that three to four jars/banks  be labeled for each child, and the earnings divided properly.  Especially for giving back to the Lord.
My favorite resources dealing with money –

Money Matters for Kids is a wonderful book for sound money treatment based on the Bible for the 6-12 year old group.

Money Matters for Teens continues on for older kids, and author Larry Burkett has added another one for the 15-18 year old’s.
We used these books for book report books!
For parents that are clueless about money – I recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.  It could change your life, and help you live more fully for Christ.  All  four of the books mentioned here can be found on Amazon.

23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3: 23-24



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Dr. Eowyn

I say this sincerely, with no intent to flatter: You are an awesome mom — disciplined, firm, a true teacher in academics and forming life habits, and loving. For true love is not gushy or mushy, but rather expressed through doing what needs to be done for the good of the child, via the patient and systematic inculcation of knowledge, habits, character, and reverence for God.


Since my father owned a business while growing up, we got paid to do work there. And yard work at home. Making my bed, not so much.
Good list of ideas!


This works….my brother and I both had already established fabulous credit as well by the time we graduated. (No not credit cards)