If we look back to our own childhood in the public schools or in music lessons outside the home, we probably all remember earning “prizes.” Our teachers used prizes as a way of encouraging us to move forward. Perhaps, we were awarded a star sticker for practicing so many times during a week and then a star sticker for having all our work completed. Our little stickers added up to 10 stickers and we were allowed to pick a prize from the treasure chest! This is a tried and true method for motivating children to work hard and do well.
What do we do in our household?
The incentives we have are several and divided by goal.
Goal ~ Immediate Reward for finished work.
When students show me their work and if the work is complete, they get a smiley face sticker on the page. This is a simple, yet effective way to provide immediate gratification for completed work. If I am out of stickers, I draw the smiley face.
Goal ~ Positive and Negative Behavior Consequences.
Each of the children has a pocket on our bulletin board which contains 10 colored slips. White is on top and Black at the bottom. The kids start out on white every day. When a child uses a negative behavior (interrupting a lesson, yelling, throwing crayons, etc.), then the student turns a card. White goes to the back. All is not lost! If the child uses a positive behavior, then there is a reward. Cheerful obedience gains the child a card back in the white direction. If the child is on white at the end of the day before supper time, then that child earns a ticket for the day.
Goal ~ Creating Habits of Good Behavior and Long-term Rewards.
My children love tickets at festivals, so I took the opportunity to use them as incentives. There are three ways to earn tickets:
~ Be on white at the end of the day
~ Complete all assigned word during the week (I check folders on Saturdays and help them finish anything that is missing, so this is easy for them to earn and a great way to keep my accountable).
~ Know their Memory Work (test the unit on Saturdays)
Once they have tickets, there are several options for rewards.
~ 2 Tickets purchase candy!
~ 10 Tickets purchase a larger prize for the treasure chest (these prizes are useful items such as compasses, miniature flashlights, playdough, toy cars, hair barrettes, etc.).
~ 30 Tickets purchase a grand prize that is Schola Rosa Cycle related (right now, we have a pair of binoculars in the 30 Ticket bag).