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Problem Solving Plan #2


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Denise Heimstead, ED381


Students will understand the different roles and responsibilities of family and the world of work.


Students will be able to describe various work and family management techniques.

Detailed Problem Background:

You are helping a family to develop plan for getting the focus back in their lives. Here is the family scenario.

Derek and Linda have been married for sixteen years. They have two children. Paul is fourteen and plays football and basketball at school. Kelly is thirteen and also plays basketball at school. Both are active in school activities.

Derek owns his own business, but in the last few years, business has declined a great deal causing financial problems for the family. He is working extra hours there because he does not have the money to pay much labor. Six months ago, Linda went back to work for the first time in fifteen years. She had been working in a mill until she became pregnant with Paul. She never went back to work after he was born. There was no reason to. Linda works for an upholstery shop in the area. The hours are long, but she likes the work and the money is not bad. Linda also helps out Derek at the store on her days off to save more money.

Between Derek putting in 60 hours per week at the shop, and Linda 45 hours per week plus, they do not have the time or energy to get work at home done. When Linda went back to work, she talked to Paul and Kelly about having to pull more weight around the house, but they are so tied up with their sports and friends at school that they do not feel they have time to help out. Kelly feels that it is not her job to take care of household chores; she has never had to do anything around the house before, why should she now?

Paul and Kelly like having the house to themselves the majority of the time. Neither of their parents arrives home before 5:30 or so during the week, and on the weekends, both parents are at the shop for most of the day. Kelly enjoys her new independence and often stays over at friend's houses without her parents ever knowing. Mom is always so tired when she gets home from work that she is in bed by 9:00. Dad comes and goes all day long; neither Kelly nor Paul will see him for days at a time. Mom tries to get household chores done after work, but she usually only gets halfway into them when she gets too tired to finish.

Paul cannot find his basketball uniform for tonight's game. He looks in the laundry hamper that is overflowing in the bathroom. Sure enough, his jersey is still in he hamper where he left it after last weekends game. Paul is furious. Why doesn't mom ever wash clothes on time? She knows he needs it for his game! Kelly is embarrassed to bring friends home because the house is such a mess. There are dirty dishes lying all over the house. Sometimes when she walks into the house it stinks. How can mom leave the house in this condition?

Linda and Derek are both exhausted. They try to find time for leisure, but something always comes up. They have not been to either one of their kid's games since last year, before Linda went back to work. Derek wants to help out, but he feels that his first responsibility is the store. When he is home, he wants to relax since he works every day of the week. Linda feels trapped. She needs to work to help the family's finances, but she feels weighted down by all the extra responsibility she now has. She cannot remember the last time the family sat down together for a meal, or when the last time she talked to her kids about what is going on in their lives. She is not happy with he way things are going. She has considered quitting, but it would mean a big cut in the family budget. Derek wants her to put in more hours at the store on top of everything because he had to let go his part-time worker. Linda does not know how working, especially single parents, do it.

Problem Statement:

You are a family resource center employee who specializes in helping working parents balance work and family in positive ways. You have just met your newest clients, Derek and Linda Esser. After examining their situation, you are to devise a plan for them so that they can get some focus back into their lives. Your services are free to those who need it, so you must also use resources that are free or low in cost. You are to fill out the evaluation sheet and then write up a report as to what strategies you advise Linda and Derek to use and why. You will use the Practical Reasoning Process as a guide. The attached rubric will describe grading.  


  • The students will create a written plan that could be used by themselves or another family.

  • The plan will be typewritten and will emphasize ideas from the "Balancing Work and Family" unit. This is the final project for the unit.

  • The plan should include a detailed practical reasoning process that addresses valued ends, means, context and consequences, as well as strategies that will be used by the family.

  • The students will write a full report of the strategies they would choose for the Esser family. The report must include what they would do, how and why.

  • Any data used, like graphs, should be included in the report.

  • The paper will be neat and typed.

  • The students have three weeks to complete the activity. A rubric for grading is attached.

  • The students will be placed into collaborative learning groups for this project, so they will also have to use their cooperative learning techniques.

  • As a group, they will determine what strategies will be used to help the family, but each person will write a separate report and turn it in.


  • No deaths can occur that would result in inheriting money.

  • No lotteries can be won.

    The plan must be realistic. Would this work in real life?  

    Guiding Questions and Reactions to the Scenario:

    1) How do you feel about Linda's lack of balance?

    2) Where do you feel that the most lack of balance occurs in this family?

    3) How do you feel about the children's expectations of their mother?

    4) What changes would you make to assure more balance?

    5) How does Linda's life typical of families in today's society? How is it not typical?

    6) Is this the ideal for today's society?

    7) What options does Linda have to improve the balance in her life?

    8) What role is Derek playing in the lack of balance?

    9) What role do you think the children play in the family?  


    Process Skills Needed:

     Knowledge of time management strategies

    • Knowledge of family resource management

    • Budgeting skills

    • Organizational skills

    • Understanding the needs of self and others

    • Knowledge of stress management strategies

    • Knowledge of the practical reasoning process

    • Parenting skills

    • Relationship skills

    • Knowledge of Work of the Family

    • Cooperative learning skills

      Evaluation rubric:

      5 pts: Due date: Students will turn in paper on time.

      1 2 3 4 5 pts. Readability: Ideas have a smooth, logical flow. Each strategy builds upon the other. The paper is neatly typed with few, if any, grammatical errors.

      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 pts. Content:

      The student uses at least five strategies discussed in class.

      • The students describes each problem that is being addressed and then offers a detailed description of the strategy that will be used to deal with each problem, how it will be used and why?

      • The student makes reference to personal experience, if necessary, and cites proper references when necessary. Student includes the completed evaluation sheet in the report.

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