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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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Motivating the Unmotivated

Right now in our home, we’re working on homeschooling our three oldest girls. Our twins were always very motivated to read and do schoolwork with little external motivation needed from us. When we started homeschooling our middle daughter (now 6-year-old) we realized that we would need to take a different approach.  She’s a child filled with joy who doesn’t mind learning, but putting in extra work or practice is not in her personality.  Parents already struggle with comparing their kids and when you are homeschooling this becomes more of an internal fight.  I will not force you to be like your sisters… repeated 1 million times a day.

Right now our largest struggle is practicing reading.  She has come a long way in the last year, but when she struggles she gives up.  Reading is over for the day and getting her to practice again is like driving a nail in a brick wall.  Seriously.  I know I’m not the only one with a kid like this, so maybe a small moment of sharing will help us all.

 

Thermometer Reading Chart

 

So, we came up with a goal for her!  If she reads 100 books this month, I will take her for some one-on-one time to Build-A-Bear (we already had a $25 gift card from an awesome Aunt).  We made a little progress chart and hung it up so she could track her reading.  As she reads, we shades in every 10 books.  I am requiring that the books she reads be read to a big sister or adult so that we can help with words she doesn’t know (and to hold her accountable).

After coming up with this idea, she read 12 books in the first 24 hours.  I know some are thinking… great your bribing her.  Yep, I’m not ashamed to say that I see she has no internal motivation for this and that an outside reward needed to be given.  We did add one more element to our plan that is good for all of us, a weekly library trip!

This is actually huge for her and me.  It’s time carved out of our week for us to go together and pick out books, plus it’s me trying my hardest to not rack up huge library fees.  The library seems innocent and free unless you live like us…  That means we both need a goal tracking chart.  Our current plan is keeping all library books in a set basket in the house with a fun ribbon tag showing how many books we checked out this week.  That number is key to finding them all next week!  Also I go all out and get library text message reminders and set up a Google calendar reminder for the monday before they are due.  We will not pay late fines…

One more tip in all of this for homeschooling families.  If you are like us and follow co-op program (we do Classical Conversations) go ahead and start doing your history and science reading now.  You’ll be a few weeks ahead on reading and will avoid the struggle of the books all being checked out when it’s the week everyone needs them.   Here’s my favorite book reading guide for Classical folks.  Look at how productive we just got all trying to motivate a 6 year old to read!

Want to use the chart? You can print it here.

See more of her tips for goals.

    • Rebecca

      I homeschool my 7 year old song and 5 year old daughter…”bribery” is absolutely necessary when there is no inward motivation; it’s a reward for a job well done. I’d rather do positive motivation than negative consequences. I do negative consequences when appropriate, but rewards for work well done are much better at encouraging the work to get done than constantly nagging and punishing when the work doesn’t get done. Besides reading is the most important thing your child should learn. It won’t be “fun” until it’s easy and to get to that point takes lots and lots and lots of practice. Once it’s fun you can get past learning to read and move on to reading to learn.

      • Rebecca

        make that son (not song) :)

    • T

      Didn’t get a chance to read the entire article, but I think that’s a nice idea . Another idea I got from a tutor was what’s called a treasure box, after a reached goal the child is allowed to pick one treasure (something small) for bigger milestone bigger treasure such as a large toy or even a “certificate” to go somewhere or do something special.

    • Phoebe Donohue

      Yay! We start CC this year my kids are so psyched !

    • Phoebe Donohue

      My daughter is very smart but she tries to pretend she doesnt know anything , i have to always remind myself she is only 5

    • Susan

      As a public school teacher I applaud your efforts — it isn’t easy to motivate kids, sometimes especially your own! I would also like to encourage you to consider having your daughter tested for learning disabilities. You can have a LD and be very bright — in fact, that is common. My own daughter is dyslexic and has APD, but with a 504 plan in place she was successful at taking three high school level honors classes in middle school this year. Often these issues start to come up around the time kids start to learn to read, and not liking reading is a clue that that might be what is going on. Or, it might not be, but it us always better to get these things looked at sooner rather than later. These kids like my daughter can read and comprehend, and in fact do so at a high level, but it is a struggle — and no one, adults included, likes to do things that are hard! Best wishes to you as you work with your kids!

    • valeriejcm

      I had a similar issue with my second son. My first son taught himself to read at age two! I discovered he could read when I showed him a book he had never seen before and he started reading it aloud to me. When he started public school in Kindergarten we had to push to get him tested for Gifted, which, of course, he is. When my second son showed no signs or interest in learning to read I just chalked it up to him being my “normal” kid. We used to ask him if he wanted to learn to read and he would reply “Why should I when you or Caleb will read to me?” I wondered about him, but he learned to read when he went to school just like all the other kids, although unlike my older son, he actually had to learn, it didn’t just come to him. And yes, we still have to bribe him to read, although he likes books, he prefers video games! LOL!

    • Toni

      I have used such a system of rewards in elementary school with success. We were behind in math one year and I offered to pay my daughter a quarter for every completed math lesson. I aimed for mastery, not grades, so every problem had to be completed correctly before moving on. My daughter had to complete at least one lesson each school day, but she could do more if she desired to earn more money faster. She would receive a large reward (a special activity or thing that she wanted) when the course was finished. It worked very well for us. In high school, we sometimes motivated her by having coursework serve an immediate purpose, such as its being applied in Christian service and projects used for Christian service. That way it was not just empty academics that seemed a waste of time.

    • Me

      3 of our kids are hs, 3 ps, 1 too young. We do whats best individually here. To me so far it seems like a revolving door. Constantly changing reward system. Goodluck with homeschooling. I found I had to send my son (11) to school this year. He is a “socialite” and honestly was more motivated to work by peer pressure at school. My daughter went in Jan. this year. She did great straight A’s. A driven child by nature. She wanted to do band, which you can’t do marching band in hs’ing, which bites, she wants to be homeschool, but, wants band more. Next son…he has autism and I love him…but, I needed some help I couldn’t handle him and the other 4 at home, but, he thrives in ps. :( Sounds like your doing a great job.

    • intheSonshine

      Another good idea to know WHICH book you are looking for when one has been misplaced is to take a snapshot of the bundle you have when you leave the library or the ones each child/person is getting.

    • sofiarconlon

      Josiah . although Jacqueline `s stori is surprising,
      last week I bought themselves a Chrysler from having made $5060 thiss month
      and-in excess of, 10/k last-month . it’s realy the easiest-work I have ever done
      . I started this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in at
      least $78 per-hour . why not look here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • guest

      This is a great idea for motivating the 6 yr old, but what about the older ones who are already doing the right thing, do they also get to go to build a bear?