We're into week three of our summer point system (explained HERE) with the kids and things are still going pretty darn well! The kids certainly have their moments when they complain but mostly they're so excited to be making money and the twins have even started asking me for jobs they can do to make money - they're pretty cute helping their big siblings and getting in on the action. Ashton's really going for it on the guitar - he can already play 3 songs and has learned to find chords for his favorite songs off the internet. He's achieved "seriously cool" status with his siblings and the neighborhood kids as he plays his guitar and it's fun to see that beautiful proud smile of his popping out. Isaac has been really motivated with his reading when he reads to the twins. He still drives me crazy with how slow he reads when I try to read with him but if he's reading to the twins or helping Eliza read, he really shines. Eliza finished reading her 10 books and we're going shopping this week for her reading lamp - she's SO excited.
All the kids were thrilled with our DI excursion last week where they each found books and toys that they loved and got at great prices, barely dipping into what they've earned (they're all saving up for big things but I thought some more instant - and really cheap - gratification wold help keep the motivation up). Ashton bought a tiny pack of Pokemon cards at Walmart for $4 right before going to the DI and then found the water gun of his dreams at the DI for just $1. He had a little "buyer's remorse" when he realized how much more cool stuff he could have bought at the DI for that $4 and resolved not to buy more Pokemon cards for quite a while. Nice to have kids learn about being thrifty through real-life experiences!
We're getting little cleaning jobs done around the house each day so we don't have to take a big chunk of our Saturday to clean and everyone likes that. I'm loving following the kids' interests and learning about random new things most days. We went to the dinosaur museum last week and every kid really enjoyed it and we came home and researched even more about dinosaurs on the internet at home. We did a bunch of cool science experiments and learned about why oil and water don't mix and what cool things we can do with baking soda and vinegar. We've done bike rides to a farmers' market, spash pad and out to lunch at a favorite restaurant and we've been swimming a lot. Having this check list for each kid helps make sure we all stay balanced in doing chores, academic things and fun stuff as well as group things and individual things.
Finally, to get back to where I started with this post: Here are answers to questions I've received about our summer systems - several have emailed with different questions but Allison Chan's questions seemed to encompass everyone's questions so I'll answer her questions here. Allison, I tried to email you directly but couldn't get your email address to work and couldn't find a good address for you anywhere! So please comment back with a way to reach you - I'd love to be in better contact and love getting your comments on my posts.
I'm glad some of you thought some of our summer stuff might work well for your family. Be forewarned that it's taken me a few years to get to the point where I've got a system that works pretty well - there was a lot of trial and error with different systems I've tried and hopefully I can spare you a bit of that but ultimately, what works for your family will probably be somewhat different from what works for mine. I found that I had to keep my systems pretty simple when my kids were younger or it was just frustrating for everyone. With my "big kids" at 9, 7 and 6 now, they finally really "get it" on earning points and money and I've figured out more what motivates them and what doesn't. That said - here are answers to your questions - I'm so flattered that you'd ask!
1. What sort of reading lamp do your kids earn? Is it one they clamp on their bed to stay up a few minutes later using to read? I can see this being very motivating for my oldest!
So far I've bought a lamp for them that goes with their room - one for their bedside table. The lamp sits there in its package until they've earned it by finishing all their books. Then, once they've earned their lamp they get 15 minutes of reading time each night - after they're in bed, they're allowed to stay up 15 extra minutes to read on their own.
2. Could you send me the link to your free spanish lessons online? I'm always looking for ways to help Dallin keep up on the spanish he's learned all year, and now Ashton will start his Dual language education this Fall!
- Here it is: http://www.podfeed.net/episode/Lesson+01+-+Coffee+Break+Spanish/1436467
The people who do it are Scottish so you have to get used to their accents a bit but my kids like doing this and 15 minute basic lessons are about perfect for us to review what they know and move them forward plus give us all more conversational Spanish phrases to try to use every day with each other.
3. I'm intrigued by your point system! How much money do they earn per/point? Do some things get more points than others? Do you mind sharing your point tracking document?
I'm happy to share the list of things the kids are doing to earn points and you can get some ideas and make your own spreadsheet with the stuff that works for your kids. Let me know if you want it and I'll email you the attachment. Basically, though, this is how it works: There's a list of things for the kids to accomplish each day:
- they help pick 1-2 group activities for the day (research something off our "wondering list," read a chapter of a book together, play a game together, etc.)
- they need to complete 4 out of 6 individual activities (journal writing, math, reading, music practice, art or crafts....)
- they're supposed to do something physical (bike, hike, swim - usually something we do together each day)
- they do an activity with one of the twins (help them bike ride, read them a book, do a craft with them, teach them to write a letter, etc.)
- they do 3 household things (a chore I assign to them, clean room/make bed, do their kitchen job)
I hope these answers help! I'm sure anyone reading this is doing MANY things that I could learn from so I'd love to hear about what works for you - please comment here and share!