Friday, June 5, 2009

Started Something New this week

After spending so many days and weeks nagging my kids to do some simple chores, clean up their messes, as well as actually do their school work each day, I decided I didn't want to nag any more and started what I call the point system. I made each kid a chart that has their chores or tasks (including school assignments) that need to be completed each day on it (as well as a few that would just be nice to see happen once in awhile). The charts have about 13-15 items on them. Each item is worth one point and they have to earn 10 points in order to have a privilege. The privileges are things like movies, audio books, certain toys, playing outside, etc. These are all the usual things we save for the afternoon usually, but now they know they have to earn it rather than just waiting until after lunch.

I am so surprised that this has worked so well this week. The kids beds are made each morning and their dirty clothes are in the laundry. Their rooms are picked up and school work is done so much more willingly. They actually ask for me to help them do certain tasks so they can earn their points. It has worked well so far. I hope the novelty doesn't wear off before the habits are formed.

As a result of our "new program" the boys have had a lot more time with me each day. I actually read each of them at least 3 books. That is one of the items on their list. So we often sit and read 6 books straight through so they can each get their point for that item. Sophie too, often joins us for our reading time but will often use this time to do her 20 min of silent reading which is one of her tasks on her chart. Reading to the boys is something I have often felt bad about. I read with Sophie, history, science, or our unit study related books, but have sort of got lazy about reading to the boys just for fun. Now they make me read to them. They pick the books usually so they are really enjoying getting to some of the books that aren't for school. I think I have read The Duchess Bakes a Cake almost every day this week. It is Henry's new favorite. I am enjoying reading these great books that seem to just sit on our shelf.

One of Ian's tasks on his chart is to read a book to me each day. So far we have read I like bugs, I can read with my eyes shut, and a few others.

What I really amazed me is that Sophie is doing a writing assignment every day without too much complaining. One day it was copy work on another she wrote a story, and then on Friday she decided she needed to have a spelling test. We don't really have spelling words so I just picked words out of the grammar lessons we have covered over the past few months and gave her words that I knew she didn't spell correctly when we did them. I was only going to give her 10 but she told me "I still have room on my page, give me a few more, this is fun". I couldn't believe my ears. Is this the same girl? So we we ended up doing over 20 words and she got most of the correct. She had a little trouble with "taught", "thought" and "caterpillar" for some reason.

As for what we have studied.... we sort of burnt out on horses. Sophie would have gone on but the boys really wanted something new. 3 weeks of non stop horses and horse books was too much for them. So I picked a book I knew the boys would like that that is our read aloud for this week. I picked The Indian in the cupboard. I knew the boys would love it but Sophie loves it too. We read a number of chapters each day and they always want me to read one more and then one more. We are almost finished with the first book in the series and may read the next.

But to go along with this book I picked up a number of other books from the library about toys and how they come to life. My kids loved Toy Farmer and The Velveteen Rabbit. There are so many picture books about toys coming to life.

My kids are really enjoying these. I don't want to actually call it a unit study but I did pick up a few books about old fashioned toys as well as toys from around the world which we will look through next week. So it is a very informal study of toys I guess.

It has been a much more smooth sailing week for us. We haven't had quite as many struggles to get our work done, our home is cleaner and the kids still get their privileges. Lets hope next week continues to go as smoothly.


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Glad you were able to find something to make chores easier at your house. I wonder why it takes a while for kids to realize everything goes smoother if they just do the required work first and then there's plenty of time for play later.

Malissa said...

Thanks for the idea. I've been mulling something similar over in my mind for a week or so, but haven't done it yet. I think I'll follow your lead!

Angela said...

Loved to hear about your chore chart- since I am getting ready for summer at this house. I too, have become so lazy reading to my youngest children. By the time it is their turn, I am too tired to read Curious George! Hey when is that baby due?

Michal said...

i read this earlier this week and didn't get to post a comment before someone closed my browser:( i have been reading lots of ideas for chores, schedules, and motivators lately, and this is the one that i'm going to copy. it looks like a great fit for my kids and me. hopefully i can get ours up and going by monday.