A few months ago I got the idea (thank you, Lord!) for an incentive system for the kids that would encompass their schoolwork as well as chores, attitudes, initiative, etc. The inspiration came from a roll of tickets that was sitting on my counter after a stamping event. I've often used tickets at workshops to encourage guests to be involved in my presentation, to come on time, to bring friends, etc. I figured if they were incentives for women, they might also be for kids!
This idea percolated in my brain for awhile, and I finally typed out a ticket redemption chart that hangs in our kitchen eating area. Also in this area, on the bulletin boards, are envelopes with Charis, Tobin, and Arden's names. This is where they keep the tickets they earn throughout the day.
Here are some ways the kids can earn tickets:
* One ticket for completing school checklists. (They have an appointment with me at some point during the day during which we review their written work.)
* One ticket for completing "funvelope" activities. (I'll post about checklists and funvelopes a different time.)
* One ticket for saying the Bible verse of the week without looking during our breakfast review time.
* During school review times, I give a ticket for volunteering to share something we learned during the day (often around the dinner table so Dad can hear).
The great thing about giving tickets away is that it's completely arbitrary--I haven't tied myself to a particular system, other than giving a ticket for completing school work. I sometimes give a ticket for getting 100% on a math test--but not always. I sometimes give a ticket for answering, "Yes, ma'am" and coming immediately when I call--but not always. I sometimes give a ticket for doing something without being asked--but not always. You get the idea! I don't necessarily want the kids to EXPECT a ticket for doing a good deed, but I do want to recognize their efforts and inspire them to look for ways to help out, be polite, etc.
So, basically, I give tickets for anything I want to encourage.
Likewise, I take away tickets for anything I want to discourage. Yelling at your sibling? Bring me a ticket. Didn't come when I called? Bring me a ticket. Neglecting your chores? Bring me a ticket. Left a pencil on the table for Kenna to find and color on the wall with? Bring me 10 tickets. Grrr. (Just kidding, but that does happen more often than I want to keep track of, sigh.)
So, what to do with all the tickets? Here are some of the privileges that the kids can "buy" with their tickets:
1 ticket = 1 piece of candy
(This came after Halloween, ugh.)
3 tickets = extra snack
I was tired of the kids always asking for food. They get one approved snack, and if they're still hungry, they pay for more food with tickets! Encourages them to eat a decent meal at breakfast and lunch time. :-)
3 tickets = bike break (No one has taken advantage of this lately, LOL.)
5 tickets = 15 minute break from school; game time with Mom; or trampoline time.
10 tickets = 1 hour or less DVD in the afternoon; 1/2 hour computer time in the afternoon; stay up and read one hour after bedtime (from 8 - 9 p.m.). (So if bedtime is late, say 8:30 instead of our normal 8:00, they don't have the option of buying this privilege. Or if we have to get up early the next day, they have to wait to buy this privilege.)
15 tickets = attend Homeschool Skate Day; go to Chick-Fil-a for lunch; go to the Boonshoft Museum.
20 tickets = Go to Young's for lunch.
Note: Whenever there is an outing away from the house, EACH kid has to have the specified number of tickets. Charis has been known to give her brothers a few tickets so we could make it to Homeschool Skate Day, since Charis is always rolling in extra tickets. The boys tend to spend theirs for computer time as soon as they rack up 10 tickets!
Ted and I do put limits on the number of times they can redeem tickets for DVDs or computer time. We don't yet have the physical objects ready, but we plan to have "Media Chips" to give out so that there is a set number of hours per week for media time. When they turn in tickets for game time or whatever, or if they play the Wii or video games at a friend's house, they will have to cash in media chips as well. Ted and I just haven't had a chance to discuss a reasonable total per week. But basically I try to limit it right now to 2-3 afternoons of computer games or DVDs, plus our Friday night movie night.
I'd be glad to answer any questions about this system if you have any. Hopefully I've covered the basics. We've used it for several months now and are happy with it, and I think the kids are, too!