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alegre
05-24-2012, 06:53 PM
What kinds of rewards do you use with your kids for successfully completing schoolwork? Stickers, outings, computer time, etc. I love the idea of intrinsic motivation but am not sure I understand it fully - if you don't use rewards at all, how does that work?

Stella M
05-24-2012, 07:53 PM
I don't use them.

How does it work ? I don't know. To be honest I never quite 'get' the need for rewards.

My kids just do. Not without grumbling from the youngest though :)

I guess his reward is getting it done and being able to play.

DD12 is rewarded by doing well in school and/or not getting into trouble at school.

And DD14 is rewarded by the satisfaction of having worked hard.

dbmamaz
05-24-2012, 08:21 PM
Yeah, we dont do any rewards at all. They have to finish their work before they are allowed back on electronic entertainment. if i catch them on electronic entertainment before their work is done, they lose electronic entertainment for the rest of the day.

Other than that, I say 'good job!'.

but i dont give them really horrible, hateful work, either.

You dont mention how long you have been homeschooling or how old your kids are

farrarwilliams
05-24-2012, 08:27 PM
We don't really use them either.

If the kids are proud of their work, we have stickers and they actually go get them and put them on themselves. But they can also just go get the stickers and stick them all over their faces or some random project they're doing too.

Sometimes we do celebrate things... like, hey, you worked really hard on that huge thing or played so well in that game, so now we're going to go out for ice cream. But that's different to me - a subtle line.

And I do sometimes motivate with jelly beans or chocolate chips... but not based on anything. It's more like, you're really down, go eat a jelly bean and then come back and finish your math.

I've read my Alfie Kohn like any good liberal parent, and I think he makes a lot of good points... but I can't be dogmatic about it. On the other hand, I can't stand reward charts and structured rewards. I think they inevitably turn children into grade grubbers.

Numericmama
05-24-2012, 09:00 PM
No rewards here.

So, for us a big part of it is the routine.
Sometimes he resists his work, but once you get him sitting - he's fine.
He's found ways to make things more interesting. He asked me to time his math worksheets.
He likes feedback. He does extramath.org for math facts practice. It is very bare bones, but he can see his progress regularly. He likes to see how he is improving and notices when it becomes hard again because they add new problems and he can get less right in a row.

The other side of the coin - if he is really resisting (throwing himself down or half crying) then something isn't right. That indicates to me that I need to figure out if he is tired, getting sick, too bored or being overstretched by the work.
If he is upset - then he isn't going to learn anyway. Then a reward isn't going to work anyway.
Sometimes he complains about math. And memorizing facts is boring. I try and show ways that math is used in the real world. And if he is going to be a scientist he will need it. That helps.
He hates handwriting too - so we keep the practice sessions shorter.
Some things in life aren't fun - you just have to do them.
He is enjoying looking back at the improvement in his handwriting though. And he judges which letters look the best.

Oh - and we're in second grade. I'm sure my motivational examples will look different in third when we won't have the stinking visual therapy exercises anymore. Those really made a lot of difficulty in our life this year. Whew - talk about resistance. He was asking me when he would be done with his exercise every minute. I'm the one who needed a reward. ;) It was pure willpower that got us through.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
05-24-2012, 09:16 PM
We don't really use rewards for school work. Every once in while my daughter freezes up during math, so I get out a sheet of stickers and she picks one out after each problem. I've used gummi bears a couple times, mostly to break a bad habit like getting up repeatedly during a lesson.

Rewards are a vicious cycle around here--if I start offering them, the kids start demanding to know what the reward will be before they will do what they're supposed to do.

I rely more on establishing a routine and natural consequences (e.g. having less time to play or having to make up work on the weekend).

KristinK
05-24-2012, 09:54 PM
I've gone back and forth with rewards for various things over the past couple of years, and it never has worked long-term. So now we don't - we DO have the stipulation that ALL work listed on the whiteboard MUST have a checkmark (from MOM!) before the tv can be turned on. That is enough motivation for my tv-loving-kids! I started the whiteboard/checkmark thing a few months ago and it has worked the best out of anything so far. Work just needs done before they can zone out. And they seem to be starting to understand that working hard and efficient in the morning means they get the rest of the day free...it took some time to get here though, and we still have lots of grumbles!

dbmamaz
05-24-2012, 10:39 PM
i've actually started letting Raven play longer in between work, on days we dont have a tight schedule. he's actually easier to get to do his work if i give him a lot of down time in between. Orion, OTOH, will start to demand electronics if he spends too much time away from his work - he has never been able to self-entertain. So i ride him harder to get things done. Raven does the last bits of work upstairs and doesnt really notice that his brother is already on electronics - but a half hour twice a day (or more) to play pretend really improves his mood. but he almost never does it if he's allowed on the electronics!!

Munchie33
05-25-2012, 09:49 AM
We don't use rewards either.

My sister used to, and her kids quickly began only doing their chores/whatever when they wanted the reward. So if they didn't feel like a sticker, they would just refuse to do it. I don't think rewards should really be used for behaviour that should be normal. For us, they only for 'above and beyond' type of stuff. They aren't rewarded for being normal and doing what they should do anyway, because I don't like the message it sends.

That said, both DH and I do compliment them and give them verbal praise fairly frequently. We're big believers in kids responding to attention more than most other things, and are always careful to give them the most attention when they're doing something good. "Wow, that handwriting looks great! You really put a lot of effort into making it so nice, didn't you?", "you're really working hard on this, so I won't bother you, but I just wanted to say you're looking good!", and so on. It works for us.

I think the biggest thing I've actually rewarded was when DS came in all bruised and dirty. He'd been beaten up by some neighbourhood kids (who were dealt with later). Turns out they only beat him up because he stepped in to stop them hurting someone else. This cued a 2 hour drive to the aquarium, ice-cream cake, $50 each (DS and DD, although DD spent hers on DS anyway) for anything they wanted from the aquarium shop, and a movie. I'd never been so proud.

farrarwilliams
05-25-2012, 01:53 PM
I think the biggest thing I've actually rewarded was when DS came in all bruised and dirty. He'd been beaten up by some neighbourhood kids (who were dealt with later). Turns out they only beat him up because he stepped in to stop them hurting someone else. This cued a 2 hour drive to the aquarium, ice-cream cake, $50 each (DS and DD, although DD spent hers on DS anyway) for anything they wanted from the aquarium shop, and a movie. I'd never been so proud.

That's, first of all, awesome. But I don't see that as the same as a structured reward. I think after the fact spontaneous rewards work really differently from predetermined rewards. I mean, no parent would have a preset reward for taking a punch on behalf of another kid. But there are a lot of other things where kids just use it as a quid pro quo. Like, give me a sticker/cookie/dollar/whatever and I'll finish my math/clean my room/be nice to my little brother/read a book/whatever.

theWeedyRoad
05-25-2012, 03:17 PM
No rewards here for a ... probably rude reason. I see rewards as given for an optional thing (if you help me do something extra, I'll reward you), and school is not optional for my kids. The closest they get to a reward is to stop hearing me say, "ok, you've had your 5 more minutes, time to get this done."

I also want my kids to feel in control of their own educations. If I reward them, then they are doing it for ME (and the reward), not for themselves. That's the opposite of what I want for and from them. I feel like mastery of something they struggled with should BE the reward, if that makes sense.

Now, I will put a 'special' sticker on tests (term used loosely) if they get almost all of them right. They get their work hung on the fridge. I hang up art I really think is creative. I give lots of positive feedback, and treat their schooling as a journey we are on together (that sounds smarmy, but hopefully it makes sense). I actively engage in what they are learning, so they get my complete attention during school time. I try not to wander too far while they are doing something solo- unless they ask me to.

Just rewarding them for doing something I expect? Nope.

The ONLY time the reward system works for us on a regular basis is if I'm trying to establish a habit- so I might reward consistantly for the first month. After that, we all tend to lose interest.

May
05-25-2012, 03:44 PM
I see rewards as given for an optional thing

Same here. No rewards for schoolwork. We use T4L and my son has gotten in the habit of checking his work after he is done and loves to see those 100s on his report. If there is anything less than, he will then go back (on his own) and redo the lesson to achieve the hundred. That is his reward. He does get extra praise for things he does that are above and beyond his normal chores. Periodically, I give him special treats (new toy, movie date, candy) when he has been particularly well behaved during stressful times (such as attending a 6 HOUR college graduation for his aunt).

Susan
05-25-2012, 06:26 PM
No rewards here either. My son wants an education. He still needs me to provide some direction but I'm hoping that he'll continue to gain independence. We take breaks and have fun, and we can't usually do that unless we've gotten some work done. We teach that we do our work first and then have fun after, just like grownups pay the bills first and then figure out how much is leftover to spend on discretionary items. But when we have fun it's to keep morale up, not as a reward.

zcat
05-25-2012, 08:12 PM
I guess I would say that I don't give rewards for everything automatically but feel that if your child seems to need a little push or extra sense of accomplishment it could be helpful to offer some small reward or praise. I think there are a lot of ways to do that and all rewards are not bad.

Keeping the reward in proportion to the level of difficulty is important IMO. I don't offer any reward other than saying "good job" for something easy for dd like spelling or vocabulary. Anything more would be as ridiculous as me giving her $50 for simply walking across the room.

I let dd put a sticker on her math page or I will do a drawing on it for her when she finishes. I don't do grades. We discuss and fix mistakes. Dd has struggled with math. I think simply getting to put a sticker on helps her feel a bit of accomplishment or fun to something that is honestly tedious for her. There isn't a choice not to do math though. She has to do it whether she chooses to put a sticker on or not.

When dd finishes all of her work in all subjects I will play a video game with her if she wants me to. She does get to play on her own but if she wants me to play with her the work needs to be completed. Some days it isn't motivating at all to her but other days where she is dragging her feet it improves her attitude and cooperation level quite a bit.

I have let dd choose a small prize for completing a book while trying to motivate her to read more challenging books. She had to pass a quiz about the book to get the prize. We also added the name of each book to a paper chain so she could feel accomplished about how many she finished. I didn't want to just order or assign her to read longer and harder books and have her grudgingly comply. I wanted her to freely pick out books and choose to put the effort in. It really seemed to help her gain confidence and move forward.

May
05-25-2012, 10:13 PM
Not sure if you already use this but this is something that we will be taking part in this fall. Its a reading incentive program that I took part in when I was in grade school that promotes reading. You get free pizza!

Book It Program (http://www.bookitprogram.com/)

I guess I'm contradicting myself, though. :_laugh:

Munchie33
05-26-2012, 02:48 AM
That's, first of all, awesome. But I don't see that as the same as a structured reward. I think after the fact spontaneous rewards work really differently from predetermined rewards. I mean, no parent would have a preset reward for taking a punch on behalf of another kid. But there are a lot of other things where kids just use it as a quid pro quo. Like, give me a sticker/cookie/dollar/whatever and I'll finish my math/clean my room/be nice to my little brother/read a book/whatever.

That's the point - we don't reward for things that are expected of them. They don't get rewarded for breathing, for brushing their teeth, for cleaning up after breakfast, for not throwing a 2-year-old-type tantrum when they don't get their way, for saying 'please' and 'thankyou', and so on.


I see rewards as given for an optional thing

For a number of reasons, I see rewarding for basic normal behaviour as unhealthy in the long-term. They are rewarded for the unexpected things that they might do, but really, if a reward is structured, then it's for something frequent and expected. So our rewards aren't structured. If the only way I could get my kids to finish their maths was by offering them a dollar, then I'd be worried about what sort of kids I'd raised.

dbmamaz
05-26-2012, 11:28 AM
We rarely reward at all, but a mo or so ago dh bought a WOW game card for Orion as a reward for taking over the evening dog walk when I got hurt - he's still doing it 3.5 mo later, since i'm still not recovered. But he also gets paid for mowing the grass, and I think thats more along those lines. He already does the morning take-out-to-pee and the afternoon walk, which i used to do with them 3 days a week, but now its all him.