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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.
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.