Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The chart

At the beginning of each month, Biscuit gets a homework calendar. His teacher doesn't care whether he does one each night. He just has to have all of them done at the end of the month. Her goal is two-part: to reinforce what she's teaching them during the day by having them practice their reading and writing and to get them used to doing homework. Next year, he'll get homework on Monday and turn it in on Tuesday and get homework on Tuesday to turn in on Wednesday.

But I can't worry about that yet. That will be a next August problem!

It's been hard to keep up with going homework, practicing piano and doing chores. So being the list-maker and chart-creator that I am, I went to work. And I wanted to add an incentive just to make it interesting.

Now I have to say that I've read about this kind of thing, and people say it's not good to reward the things that the kids should be doing on his own. And I considered what they said and decided that despite their advice, it would work for Biscuit.

And it has.

It's also a reminder for me. It's taken a long time to get in the habit of homework, piano and chores. It's especially hard if I have to run by the store after I pick him up. Or if it's a piano lesson night. Or if he has baseball practice. The time between him getting home, doing piano or baseball or errands, and dinner, and a bath, and bedtime is tight, not to mention throwing in homework.

Anyway, I print out a calendar each month that says that if Biscuit practices piano, he gets a red star. If he does a homework assignment, he gets a blue star. If he does a chore, he gets a yellow star.

Here's his chart for April.

At the end of the week, Biscuit gets money, depending on how many stars he gets. Biscuit usually falls in the $2 range, but he has gotten $3 once. The other interesting thing is that if Biscuit doesn't ask about it on Sunday, he doesn't get paid.

The chores include things Jeff and I ask Biscuit to do or things outside the normal things he has to do. He won't get a star for picking up his toys or putting his clothes in the hamper.

I had to smile a few weeks ago when we went into a toy store to get a gift for one of Biscuit's friends. I told him before we went in the store that we were not buying any toys for him.

"We're going in to get a birthday present," I said. "No toys."

We were almost all the way around the store when Biscuit said, "Wait! Mom!"

I looked over, and he was messing with a rack of kid-size brooms.

"Mom, I know you said no toys, but this isn't a toy," Biscuit said. "It's something you can use to do chores. Can we get one?"

Biscuit has been asking for a broom of his own for a couple of years. Mama has one at her house, and he loves to sweep. So when I saw that one, and it was reasonably priced, I decided to say yes. It was a package deal. It was a broom with a dustpan and brush.

Sometimes on weekend mornings, I let Biscuit eat his breakfast at the dining room table in view of the TV. On a weekend not so long ago, he got up after eating and said, "Dude! I made a mess!" And he fetched his broom and went to work.

He did get a yellow star for this one.

No comments: