And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

S.T.O.P.

I haven't talked about our homeschooling in awhile. We've had a less than stellar beginning and today marks the beginning of month 2. Honestly school just seems to be taking for.ev.er. this year. The work is a little more intense and difficult for Apple and Speedy but really I'm not sure that has anything to do with it. You ever feel like your kids are teaming up against you? Yea. Me too.

I initiated some new programs this year and I think they are just trying to buck the system. I wanted to do more good behavior rewards and also clarify bad behavior circumstances. At the very end of last school year I began the S.T.O.P. system. Basically each letter represents a block of screen time. My kids are electronics nerds (they get it honest) and while we are very picky about which shows they watch, games they play, etc. we do seem to allow them quite a bit of screens. So to keep it from being a free for all they have a set limit of time everyday and now school behavior directly corresponds to the amount of time they are allowed. It worked pretty well for a thrown together plan last year. Over the summer I tweaked it a bit and even since then I read The MoneySmart Family System and tweaked it even more.

So here's how it works for us, each school day, each child gets an S.T.O.P. If they disobey a school rule (biggest one is DO YOUR BEST) then they lose a letter. Losing a letter= loss of one block of screen time. They each have a kitchen timer and a card to keep up with their screen time for the day. This has vastly cut down on the number of times in a day that they would ask if they could watch a movie, play DS, play Wii, get on the computer, etc. They are being held responsible for using their screens throughout the afternoon and evenings.

Now here are the tweaks. If they lose a letter during school then they automatically lose their school point for the day. Also for us the "school" point includes homeschool time, science class, choir, and soccer. So to keep their school point they must not break any rules/ have any negative behavior in any of those places. The further reward is that anyone that can go a whole school week (typically Mon-Fri but this week Tues-Fri) without losing any letters gets to pick from our new treasure box! There are little "rewards" or happies in the box for them. Some of them are random things we've been given that they haven't seen, some are little items I picked up on clearance. Nothing expensive but lots of little items that make it worth it.

Unfortunately due to the behavior we've had the first few weeks each child has only been to the treasure box 1 time in 5 weeks. Sigh. I have great hope for this week! I'd love to see them both get a treasure. :) I feel like if I can overcome the mutiny these first few weeks then maybe we will hit smooth sailing soon. I pray. I pray. I pray.

As for The MoneySmart Family System, the first week we were a little easy on them and they earned 22/24 and 20/24 points. Last week I cracked down a bit more on expectations, routines, etc so they only earned 11/24 and 14/24. They felt the sting when it was time to get paid yesterday. Even Speedy immediately recognized the difference in money. I think they will try much harder this week. I had already made a visual chore chart for them and to keep from repeating morning reminders over and over I created a visual morning chart.

As with anything else, staying consistent is just as hard for Hubby & I as it is for them. I know that once we can all make this a habit it will be so worth it. Already my house is 10 times cleaner because 1) they are keeping all of their clothes and toys picked up and 2) I feel obligated to keep everything else clean if I am going to have them clean.

How is your school year going so far?

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