Monday, March 7, 2011

Incentives for littles

One of the difficult things for me about Homeschooling is finding a balance between being a parent and a teacher. I know my kids fool around, get distracted by shiny objects and run off in different directions a lot more than they would in a classroom setting at a traditional school. That's not altogether bad. But it can make it hard to accomplish what we need to on a daily basis!

So I came up with the idea of a School Store to help keep the kids motivated and on task. Most of these items were stocked by Grandma, she sends boxes full of items from Micheal's, Joann's and Target's $1 section (and other places). The goodies are things like craft kits, coloring books, get the idea. I haven't added toys or candy. I really love that the incentives are creative items!
I keep everything in a box (waaaaayyyy out of kids reach). After a week (or so) we count up the stickers the kids received.  (More on how they earn stickers at the end of the post) And they get to choose items based on the points they have!

 This is a long process as they ponder, dig, count up points, make final decisions........

 I use colorful dots to make items worth certain point values. So coming up with interesting combos is fun (and mathematical!)

It's a pretty exciting end to any week! The kids look forward to it. Sometimes they practice patience and add up point from the last week if there is something they really want.
I'm sure you are wondering what it is I actually "reward" the kids for. Let me start by saying, school was frustrating for me at times. Many days I was dealing with whining, complaining, lost pencils, daydreaming, wasting time, fighting over crayons and scissors, etc.  I needed to come up with a way to keep the kids motivated, accomplish our goals each day and reinforce Godly character and principles. The kids don't earn points for speeding through Math, or getting 100% on their spelling. It's all earned through exhibiting character traits that are Godly. For us (for now) it's obedience, attitude, hardwork (diligence), orderliness and kindness. Within these character traits we can apply them to learning and treating each other with honor. Watching our attitudes and behavior as well.

In the past I've also used things like field trips, special trips to the ice cream shop, movies, trips to the park to help motivate the kids. Although these things are all part of our regular education as well, I would hate to only offer these as rewards. But you can be creative and add your own ideas in there!

Here is a simple free printable of our Daily Character Goals . There are scripture references for each character trait to help us why we want to practice these not only in school but in our daily lives!

Do you use incentives and rewards in your school setting? Share your ideas!!


  1. New follower from Hip Homeschool Hop. THANK YOU for sharing this idea! And for being so honest about the struggles of homeschooling - good to know we are not alone! I love this idea!

  2. Alli~ Thank you for dropping by and following! I struggled for a long time (a few years actually!) and finally found something that does work! Just to be clear, I don't reward them for their work being "graded" (getting a certain percentage right) I have tried to focus more on Christ like characteristics. We have found great examples of the choices we make pointing towards our growing relationship with Christ! The download isn't too exciting but it was something quick we could review each day. And somedays they don't get ALL the stickers, that's life, but it's been a great motivator!

  3. Enjoyed this post. My kids are older, but I still get frustrated when they can't find a book or pencil, because it hasn't been put away! Perhaps, it's time for some motivation. Clicked on over to your blog from THL. I'm a new follower. Feel free to check out my blog.