Life skills are an essential part of homeschooling when you have a child with special needs, but they are really something everyone needs. I fear that while kids today are learning to read and write there are still some skills that they are lacking, particularly those relating to housework. I think part of that reason may be the fact that we pay our children for any work they do. While I think finding a way for young people to make money is a good idea, I believe that paying them for work that has to be done sends the wrong message. Kids today grow up believing that they shouldn't have to do any work at all unless they are rewarded in some tangible way.
Too often then not, when children grow up and stop getting paid for doing their daily chores they often stop doing them. When they move out on their own their house becomes a disaster. Even those who manage to keep their house tidy seem to do so with a resentful and despondent attitude. I know that I do, or at least I did until just about 10 years ago. Back then I hated and despised housework!
Since I have grown in my faith I now realize that there are some things just worth doing. They don't have to be fun or compensated for to make them joyful. Instead of whining and complaining about what we must do, we should thankful! A lady at church told me about her grandmother who had such a great attitude about doing dishes. When she asked her about it she said that she looked at each dish as a blessing. The fact that she had the opportunity to feed and spend time with the person who ate the food was something to be thankful for. You know, many people don't have dishes, or even food. Our complaining is simply so selfish.
To try and pass this attitude on to Gess we do not offer her any compensation for helping with the daily chores. When Gess becomes independent she won't have the incentive of extra cash for doing things that need to be done anyway, so why start doing it now? There are other ways for kids to make money. I shared before about our recycling efforts and that is still her primary source of income. Of course if there are things she wants and can't afford we sometimes buy them for her and that is OK. Kids don't have to "earn" everything. They are kids! There will be time for lessons later about earning and saving up for each and every thing you own. Besides, it is so much fun and rewarding to buy things for children who are helpful around the house!
Of course there are some tasks I will pay my daughter for. If she cleans out or washes my car I will pay her because it is my car and my responsibility. If my child got their own car I certainly wouldn't pay them to clean it, but I will pay them to clean mine. When I have the grandkids over and Gess helps pick up their mess when they are gone, I will pay her then as well or give her money for "helping" me babysit them. But dishes, laundry, sweeping, and dusting are things that everyone must help to do and for that she receives no compensation.
I find that Gess enjoys doing chores, or at least never complains about having to do it. There may be times she doesn't particularly want to stop something to do chores but because it is a part of every day, is something that is expected and the responsibility is shared by everyone in the house, Gess never complains. Occassionaly I will give her a gem as a reward if she is particularly helpful or does things without my requesting it but otherwise, living in a clean and comfortable home should be enough reward in itself.