We do not give our kids an allowance or reward for doing “chores” around the house. Matter of fact, we rarely even use that word. It is our opinion that our kids should participate in the upkeep of the home because, well, they live here too. We feel that we are teaching our kids to contribute to the running of a home – and this will serve them well as they have roommates and, eventually, spouses. Each kid has different responsibilities that they have to take care of. They also have several that we require that they do together, as a team.
We also do not reward for “good” behavior. We feel that if you only behave to earn a reward, you aren’t doing it for the right reasons. We strive to raise our kids to WANT to do the right thing, and to do it. No reward needed.
That being said, we DO like to reward for above-and-beyond help and exceptionally helpful behavior. Sometimes it is just a “Thank you so much for your extra work this week. We really noticed it and it was awesome to have all that extra help! You rock!” Sometimes, we grab a frozen yogurt and tell them how thankful we are over a sweet treat. And sometimes, it is a $5 gift card to Target.
The gift card is definitely one of my favorites! I always keep two on hand and love to see their faces light up when I dole them out. Even more fun? Watching them trying to choose how to spend their precious $5! And, of course, it is awesome to see math skills at work in a real life situation.
What is your special way of thanking your kids?
This post is not sponsored by Target. However, it is fully endorsed by my kids – who have just successfully chosen some cool toys with their recent aquisition of a $5 Target gift card each.
During our regular home school curriculum the other day, we were working on patterns. This is a challenging concept for little ones, so I decided to try to make patterns a little bit more fun this morning … with bead necklaces! It was so easy and she had a blast creating her own pattern necklaces. We started off with these cheap Target beads, then used our Melissa & Doug bead necklace kit for more complex patterns with shapes and letters. We had so much fun, I hope you’ll try it out with your toddler!
The summer before our oldest was going into kindergarten, she expressed a BIG interest in reading. Never having taught someone to read before, we were at a loss as to what to do. Lucky for us, a college nearby was hosting a reading program for different age groups, beginning with 4yo and rising kindergarteners. And so we signed up.
It was a 5 or 6 week program. We spent maybe 2 hours on a Saturday morning there. They provided the materials and a cd. We showed up, paid attention, and practiced during the week. After the class and continued practice, she was reading before she ever went to kindergarten. She was 4 years old. Not only did the class help us work with her, but it sparked in her a love of reading that she continues to possess today.
I hope that if you, or someone you know, has a little one that wants to read – or even an older child that needs or wants help with reading and reading comprehension – you will check out the Institute of Reading Development website and find a class near you. No matter how hurried you may be, the few hours of work that this takes have a lifetime of positive results!
Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post.
There are so many reasons that people choose this alternative to a public education. And I find that most everyone makes the choice for reasons that are tied to their personal and/or religious beliefs. These are the reasons that WE made the decision to pull our 4th grader out of public school and begin home school mid-year:
More Family Time: School hours were 8:30am – 3:30pm. By the time she arrived home, just before 4pm, she needed to get her homework started to be done by dinner. Then we would set the table, eat, clear the table, and go over any school “business” (field trip forms, help with unanswered homework, signing folders, etc.) Then it was time for shower and preparations for the following day. After that, reading time and bed. And, even though we limit activities to Girl Scouts (which only meets 2x a month) and horseback riding (about every week and a half), we were finding that we still had so little time. There grew a sort of disconnect that we don’t notice during the summers when we are all together. Disconnect leads to not getting along well. Not getting along well leads to disobedience. Disobedience leads to trouble. We decided to cut it off at the pass. More time together produces very positive benefits.
Opportunity to Lead: Have you ever really taken notice of the children that your child is getting their example from? Most likely, they are forming opinions and perceptions based on who they are around the most. In our case, this was school. I was shocked when we had a group of girls over at not only the blatant disobedience of me (in my home), but in the way these girls spoke to their parents! It was appalling … and not a way that I would wish for my children to behave. While neither my husband nor I am perfect (yes, we’re admitting it), we do hold in high regard the opportunity that we have to set examples for our kids. If we make errors in judgment or mistakes, we own up to them, apologize or ask forgiveness, and talk about how to prevent from doing it again. As Christians, we are blessed with the ability to be forgiven and to grow. By spending more time together, we are better able to be the leaders that our children need to make conscientious decisions in life – with regard to choices, friendships, and more.
A Christian Education: Because we withdrew mid-school year, we didn’t have the option to offer a private Christian education. (Have you ever tried to apply to a private school mid-year? Don’t.) But we did have the opportunity to provide one ourselves. It has been a joy seeing our oldest ask, “What are we doing in Bible class today?” It has genuinely become her favorite subject – and I have thoroughly enjoyed being her teacher. We have been able to not only have some great lessons about the Bible, but some wonderful discussions as well. And, we have been able to relate our other areas of study to stories in the Bible.
Tailor-made Educating: Because we know our daughter best, we are able to tailor how we educate her based on her strengths and weaknesses. We have the flexibility to take more time in certain areas of study that require more information or when we would like to tie it to another area of study. We are able to get through the curriculum at our own pace and apply challenges as needed by her gifted mind. Additionally, we have the ability to explain how the things that she is learning relates to “real life” (math –> handling a checkbook or making purchases, biology –> outdoor life, chemistry –> baking, physics –> ball games, history –> recent world events, and so on). We teach everything from menu planning, time management, and taking responsibility to home care, childcare, and sewing; all in conjunction with our regular areas of study.
These are just some of the main reasons that we made the decision to pull our 4th grader out of public school and begin our journey in home schooling. And while I am certain that there are many more reasons that I could add to this list, these are most certainly the biggest priorities.
Until the past few years, I was one of those people who thought that kids that were home schooled were at a disadvantage – socially, academically, realistically. And boy I was wrong!
Not only have I had the privilege of getting to know some great home school families, but I now have the distinct honor of educating my children. Since I had such a huge misconception of home school, I felt it was my duty to share what I was so wrong about and why.
MYTH 1: Social Disadvantage
I’m sure that there are plenty of kids that are home schooled who are socially awkward, but aren’t there plenty of kids who go to public or private school are also socially awkward? Honestly, the majority of home school children that I have met are better able to communicate with adults than most other kids I know. And they are able to make good choices about who they are social with. Because children who are educated by their parents are exposed to a wider variety of people, these kids are usually better socialized than most kids who are boxed into socializing with others that are (for the most part) similar in age, race, and economic status.
MYTH 2: Academic Disadvantage
While this could certainly be true of some, there are so many wonderful and rich curricula out there that it would be very difficult to NOT receive an excellent and thorough education at home. Not only that, but most home school families have the flexibility for more real-life associations with areas of study. Example – We took a field trip to the museum the other day to see ancient Egyptian artifacts to relate to our study of ancient Egypt. We are taking a field trip to a science center in the next few weeks to better relate to our study of matter, heat, and energy. Most schools don’t have the ability to take such frequent field trips. In our study of the Egyptian pyramids, we discussed the different types that were built and made our own replicas with Legos and paper. When we studied measuring matter – we were able to do so in the kitchen, backyard, etc.
MYTH 3: Real-Life Disadvantage
While this is certainly a matter of opinion, I find myself strongly disagreeing with this. It is my opinion that real life is what you make it. The reality is that 6th graders are having sex in public school bathrooms; 4th graders are bullying each other; 9th graders are bringing drugs and weapons to school. Is that your real life? Last I checked, I don’t condone bullying, pre-marital sex, the use of drugs, or the use of weapons by my children. And while I do (and will continue to) teach my kids the information and consequences of these things, I do not think that they should be exposed to them at such a young age.