I believe I have tried just about every chore system ever devised. My current system of having morning and evening chores that rotate daily has lasted the longest. But the kids and I seem to thrive on change. So when a friend sent me a link to High Score House, a free online chore manager, I thought I would give it a try.
I’ve tried computer or iPad-based chore systems before, but when you have six kids and one computer, it just creates computerized chaos. But we now have multiple computers and several Apple devices that can use the High Score House website or app. I’ve been having some difficulty with logins on other computers, so we still have some conflict over whose turn it is to check off chores, but I’ve alerted the site developer and I’m hopeful the problem will be resolved.
Here’s what I love about High Score House.
- First, the website and apps are FREE! Their website mentions that they will have some paid add-ons in the future. But you’re only risking a little time in using it now.
- Second, I have an easy way to check to see what’s supposed to be done. I look at the iPhone app and I can not only see which chores each child was supposed to do, but the school subjects as well. That has been a serious problem for me. Each child has his or her schedule of chores and homework to complete, but it entailed a lot of page flipping to see what was supposed to be done on a given day. Often, it was just too much trouble to check.
- Third, the system takes very little time to use. With other systems, being late in approving chores was a big problem. That isn’t the case at all with High Score House. I can see “old tasks” for each child. I can also approve everything a child marked as complete with one click or touch.
- Fourth, rewards can be added that appeal to every child. I added a number of rewards like stay up an hour later, get ice cream, and choose dinner that I knew they would like, but I’ve asked them for their ideas, too. They keep coming up with them. Kids can choose which rewards to work toward and can see their progress.
- Finally, I love High Score House because the kids are motivated to do additional unscheduled tasks. In fact, the kids have been fighting for the chance to sharpen pencils and organize movies into cases! I have plans to add additional tasks like putting game pieces back into boxes and even scanning photos.
As of January, 2012 there are some changes I am hoping to see with the program, too.
- First, I hope they add more chore icons. They have some good ones now, but more would be great.
- Second, I would like the kids to be able to collect their star points with one click. They seem to have to collect them individually, which is somewhat rewarding for them, but creates a line at the computer.
- Third, I hope some of the bugs get worked out. I need to be able to login without using a Facebook account. When my son clicks on the star for the workout task (yes, that’s in there, too!), it locks up the whole website. We’ve used a different icon in the meantime.
- Fourth, I would love to be able to see all my kids’ activities for a given day so I can quickly approve tasks without going in and out of menus. That’s an issue when you have six kids!
- Fifth, I would have had an easier time entering chores if I could have entered it once and then clicked on the days and times each child was to do it. Currently, you can only specify that more than one person is to do a chore on the same day and time.
- Sixth, my kids have requested that they be able to pool stars to get one reward. That isn’t a huge issue as I’ve explained they could use their stars for a cash reward that they could pool.
- Finally, I would love to see some kind of motivating chart or calendar so kids can see how they’re doing over time.
Overall, High Score House is a great, free motivational tool that can be of benefit to homeschoolers. I haven’t been asked to review it, nor have I received anything for doing so. If you try it, let me know what you think! Are there other systems that work better for your family?