Monday, January 4, 2010

Homeschool Incentives and Rewards

In a perfect world we wouldn't need to entice our children to do what is simply expected of them and hopefully this is usually the case. Many child psychologists are against rewarding good grades in school and think that a child's education is just what their work is during childhood. While I agree with that to an extent and will not be rewarding a child's grades I do know that it is hard to keep up self motivation while homeschooling. This comes from homeschooling my children since Kindergarten (I now have a 7th grader).

We all become disenchanted with our lots at some point and we need some sort of change of pace and incentive to get us through at times. With this thought I started a new program with my kids today that I thought I would share. We came into this new year behind in science so I was trying to find a way to get my kids excited about catching up because quite frankly, the idea of just being caught up isn't doing it for them any longer.

This morning I made a list of this weeks educational goals and told them that if they achieved these (music practicing included) that we would go to a movie at the end of the week. When I say movie I should clarify. We are lucky enough to have a $2 per seat theatre in our town and so for under $15 we can all go to a movie at a theatre. And we were lucky enough to get gift certificates for Christmas.

The goals for this reward were not just science related. As I noted, we added music practice in but they also had all of their other daily assignments as well as personal reading time included. This means that they have to stay up on current work and get an extra science lesson in each day to get their reward. It will also be a reward for me! Win - win!

For those the unschool or don't do a boxed curriculum as I do you can do your own incentives. I'm sure there are many ways to mix things up for just about any homeschool style. I am a fan of just about all methods of homeschool and have tried many but I know the reality that we all at some point get bogged down in how large the task seems. It is good to have something to look forward to and it is always good to go do something fun as a family. The reward does not even have to be called a "reward" and most definitely wouldn't have to cost a dime. My children would be just as thrilled if not more so if I told them we would spend an hour or two at a park for an outing. Children of all ages are generally pleased with the more simple things in life, it seems that the adults tend to complicate things.

So what will you do when you are in a bind? Will you entice your kids by having something to look forward to?

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