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What incentive or reward systems do you use for the early elementary school years?

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    What incentive or reward systems do you use for the early elementary school years?

    Now that it's summer, I am starting to think through how to improve next year's homeschool experience! Could you share what and how you use incentive/reward systems for the early elementary school years? Please share all methods no matter how small.

    How do you steer clear of bribery?

    Has using incentive/reward systems during the homeschool years negatively impacted your child if they later went into a school setting?

    Thanks for your time!

    #2
    I'm talking JrK and Kinder, but my daughter responds really well to both stickers (especially sparkily) and getting to show daddy the work she did during the day. Little things, but big to her...
    Margaret of Georgia, in west TN – Enginerd’s wife and Mama

    2019-2020/-2021 · Homeschooling since 2011.
    Trekking along at a student self-pace...
    DD Summer 2009 · 5th/6th + BS3&4
    DD Summer 2011 · SC4/SC5*6 + BS3&4
    DS Summer 2014 · K/SC2 + SL P + K
    DD Summer 2017 · Pre + SL T
    DS Autumn 2019 • Baby

    Memoria Scholé Academy
    Blog: Creative Madness Mama
    @ CherryBlossomMJ

    Comment


      #3
      Hi, we do use incentives to help our son develop skills that need motivating. For example, we would reward for multiplication fact mastery or promotion in swim class. We would help him set a goal using a time frame and if he succeeded he would be rewarded: some screen time for smaller goals up to a Lego set or pizza party with his buddies for goals requiring months of consistent work to accomplish. Incentives have really helped our son who is not a natural academic.

      We have young children, but we took some advice from some homeschooling folks around here whose kids are grown: rewards for skills are incentives, rewards for expected behavior is bribery. This helps us to distinguish.

      Right now we don't get very creative with incentives because 5 more minutes to play Minecraft is extremely motivating!

      Talia

      Comment


        #4
        Our non-school activities serve as a good motivator--work done well for the day means free time to play, opportunities to go to the park/hiking, or visit friends. On Fridays, we go to the park with our local homeschool group after lunch to play. Work is always done quickly on those days!

        I've noticed they have a great feeling of accomplishment when they are done with a day's work. One of the things I love about MP is I know they have had a thorough day's work each day and we when it's done we are all free (they, physically and me, emotionally) to let enough be enough and go on to other things. Maybe since yours are smaller you could write the day's work on a slick board (simply, just topics or books for the day) and then let them cross them off as you go through. I don't know about you but I LOVE marking things off a list!
        Festina lentē,
        Jessica P

        2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
        12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
        10th • HLN, Latin online
        7th • HLN & Home
        4th • HLN & Home
        Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

        Comment


          #5
          I bought a large grid chart from a teacher's supply store. Every time they did a subject HAPPY, they got to put a sticker on it. When it was full, they earned a pre-determined reward, usually a date night with parents. The first time, I used the small ones but those filled up too fast! The style I used is linked below. I used a ruler and divided up that first column.

          http://www.mardel.com/Retro-Chic-Incentive-Chart-3056579.aspx
          The Homeschool Grads:
          J- 6/96
          S- 11/98

          Homeschooling:
          G- 4/04 (mild ASD/mild intellectual delay)
          D- 5/05
          F- 7/08 (my only girl)

          New Homeschooler:
          M- 9/16: JrK

          Comment


            #6
            incentives

            We don't use any incentives for schoolwork to be done. It is just expected to be done. I guess the incentive is not losing privileges. We've always taught the kids that school is a privilege, using Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln as examples. At one point two of my boys decided to try skipping assignments. They were given a couple days of hard work outside instead of schoolwork to decide if they wanted to be students or laborers. They chose student. My children do enjoy getting to show their father their work when he comes home. That serves as an incentive.
            Blessings,
            Jude

            dd 17
            ds 14 (special needs)
            ds 11
            ds 9
            dd 7
            ds 4
            dd2
            DD24
            DS21
            DS18
            DS16
            DD14
            DS11
            DD9

            Comment


              #7
              We don't use incentives either. They do like marking their subjects off on the whiteboard but there is no reward other than the feeling of a job well done.
              Courtney
              Mom to 5 boys-14,13,10,8,5 and the girls- 3 and 1

              Comment


                #8
                Motivation

                Thanks to those of you who have shared! I would love to hear more!

                I guess I have found it hard to motivate my daughter and keep her focused as she is the oldest (at five years old) and only one currently being homeschooled. Her siblings are too young, and she is young herself for the grade level we used this year and will be using next year.

                Sticker/reward charts have been helpful with completing lessons with a happy heart, but I do want to do it the right way.

                Thoughts? Other homeschoolers with ideas that have worked for this stage in our homeschool journey?

                How I would love to have a diligent, self-motivated 3rd or 4th grader in the room with us to be a model for her! Or even just another student!
                Last edited by thenightbeforechristmas; 06-19-2014, 05:26 PM.

                Comment


                  #9
                  What level do you plan to teach her on this fall? Five is quite young for much of an attention span especially with the distraction of littles who are playing.

                  I love what Charlotte Mason has to say about short lessons at those younger ages. I will be teaching MP's K with my five year old girl this fall and plan about 1 hour of one-on-one work with her a day and about 1 hour/day of her listening to read-alouds in our Morning Time reading. She will be overhearing much of her older siblings' work and read-alouds but her "job" during the rest of the morning will be to play, mostly with the toddler brother.
                  Festina lentē,
                  Jessica P

                  2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
                  12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
                  10th • HLN, Latin online
                  7th • HLN & Home
                  4th • HLN & Home
                  Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

                  Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Jude,

                    I love your approach. I just finished reading Climbing Parnassus. For anyone who hasn't read it, John Adams' father would have agreed with Jude. That is exactly what he did when John wanted to quit Latin. A few days digging a ditch gave us the makings for a President.

                    Love it!

                    Melisa
                    Melisa

                    Homeschooling mom for 11 years

                    dd - 11th grade using MP
                    ds - 9th grade using MP and Kolbe Academy

                    Comment


                      #11
                      digging ditches

                      Melisa,
                      I had forgotten that story! A little ditch digging goes a long way. It is important for children to understand, from the outset, that education is going to be its own reward. It's like when a child asks if they HAVE to go to church. No, we don't HAVE to. We GET to.
                      I think, especially when you have other children coming up behind, you have to be very careful about what behavioral precedents you set. Plus, how will you continue to incentivize once they have outgrown stickers and charts?

                      PickandGrin: The one hour of direct instruction and one hour of reading sounds just right for a five year old. Little fingers get tired quickly. I love this quote:
                      "In this time of extraordinary pressure,
                      educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first
                      duty to her children is to secure for them a
                      quiet growing time, a full six years of passive
                      receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the
                      most part out in the fresh air." Charlotte Mason

                      Before they reach five I mainly read to my children, answer their questions, and let them play and explore. When they start asking to read and write, we move along very gently through kindergarten. (We skipped the writing part of MP JrK, doing only the reading and coloring books.)
                      Blessings,
                      Jude

                      dd 17
                      ds 14 (special needs)
                      ds 11
                      ds 9
                      dd 7
                      ds 4
                      dd 2
                      DD24
                      DS21
                      DS18
                      DS16
                      DD14
                      DS11
                      DD9

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Jude, I adore that quote as well...."perhaps a mother's first duty..."
                        Thanks for the reminder!
                        Festina lentē,
                        Jessica P

                        2021-2022 • 12th year HSing • 10th year MP
                        12th • AP Latin online, DE Calculus & Physics, HLN
                        10th • HLN, Latin online
                        7th • HLN & Home
                        4th • HLN & Home
                        Me • Third Form for Adults, MPOA; teaching TFL and co-directing @

                        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016

                        Comment


                          #13
                          For little one

                          I have younger children and so I use for incentives for remembering/memorizing facts, spelling, etc. the mini chocolate chips. I like them because I can use the mini chocolate chips as immediate feedback and they are so small that they aren't really getting a lot of candy (even though it looks like it!). Four or five mini chocolate chips would be the same as one regular chocolate chip. For example, I would use them with a spelling quiz or test. After they write each word, I check to see if it is correct or not. If it is, I give them a mini chocolate chip, if not - no chocolate chip. This way they don't have to wait for all 20 words to be finished before they find out if they did it correct or not and there is something about getting the word correct and getting that chip right then. Some of my kids save them and then count how many they earned and others eat them right away. As they school year goes on and as they get older, I can start to eliminate the incentives because it now becoming a habit. I have tried stickers, but for me they didn't work - I found them stuck all over the house!

                          If you are thinking of incentives as far as actually doing your work, every single child of mine has tried to pull the "I won't do my work." Then I send them to a chair by themselves (they are not allowed to do anything) while I work with the other children for a good half-hour or more - I need to make it really, really boring. After they try this a few to time, just checking to see if mom really means this, they never do it again. For my kids, giving them "work" to do is just too much fun still and I have to supervise it - they need to be older to do that.

                          I do have one who is a pencil twirler, with her I use a timer and she tries to beat the clock. That usually helps and I stay close by so I can reminder her to start her work again.

                          Michelle

                          DD 7
                          DD 6
                          DD 6
                          DD 4
                          DS 2
                          Using MP 2, 1, & K in the fall

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Well, I am one of those moms that rewards for everything. I would love to be in the ‘education is it’s own reward’ camp, but in all honesty, everything domestic has been a challenge for me, so I’ve started giving my children tickets.

                            Basically I just purchased a roll of tickets at the local department store. They receive fewer tickets (1) for work that is expected of them (school lessons, making their bed, cleaning their room, etc.) and more tickets (1-5 usually) for additional housework, and I do give bonus tickets for exceptional behavior and 90% or above (5-10 tickets) for test and quiz grades (though we also do expect these from them). At the end of the week they can trade up to 50 tickets for $1.50 (that comes out to just $0.03/ticket), more tickets can be cashed out for the older ones. When they cash out tickets, they must have at least ten tickets remaining in their bin. A quarter goes into saving and a quarter goes into giving, so they receive $1.00 to spend. This week, they spent their dollar on an ice cream cone at TCBY. If they are being lazy and taking too long to complete their work, I charge them five tickets (unless there is a more effective measure of consequence). We also charge tickets to go to the park, watch a movie, or whatever fun event we want to participate. If they lose something because it was left out and Mom picked it up, they must purchase it back with tickets.

                            At the start of each day I write their assignments and chores on a small white board, or have a printed checklist (for my older ds). As they complete their work I erase that task and give them a hash mark. At the end of the day I give them their earned tickets. For my older son, I mark when his lesson is completed and his scores on a quiz or test. He receives his tickets weekly.

                            There are a few reasons that I do things this way. One, I need to work on consistency myself. I also need to work on encouraging my children. Because of my own struggles, I tend to always have a mile-long list and rarely get to the ‘fun’ stuff. This system has also moved us to re-evaluate our gift-giving and receiving policy. We’re in a small space and have too much stuff. Because they are earning something, they are encouraged. Because they don’t earn much, they appreciate what they have and do. As we continue I may drop paying for some of the expected tasks and behaviors, or I might not. I recently asked my eldest if he would like to the take the Latin Exam next year. To my shock he said that he would be interested. He’s also involved in Science Olympiad and helps fund part of his expenses from his job (working with his dad) and gift money. I know that Science Olympiad is considered an extra-curricular, but it’s academic as well, and it is it’s own reward for him.

                            At the end of a shopping trip where I had three of them (4-9 yrs. old) helping me in the checkout line, two ladies were watching us and later complimented me on my well-behaved children; well I gave them each twenty tickets. My reward was the compliment.

                            So that’s what we do. Basically, I’m just trying to better equip my children for life than I was (am). I’ve struggled with ‘paying’ for expected tasks and behaviors, but I didn’t train well in the early years, especially with my eldest, so I needed to start somewhere.

                            Blessings,
                            Kami

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