Encouraging the Homeschooled Child
Over the years I have tried many things to get the kiddos encouraged to work hard in their school work. It’s not so much that I need to encourage them to learn – they love to do that – but the main problem is getting done in a timely manner. Let’s just say that if my kids could do school 24 hours a day 7 days a week – they would be happy. However, Mom needs a little break – and so do they, really – so I am trying to find ways to encourage them to do their work well – but in a timely manner.
This need has never been stronger as this year. Last year we struggled so much with school (because of changing rules and expectations) that getting done in a timely manner with 3 kids was next to impossible. This year, however, we have changed to a different virtual school and things are much more relaxed, Alhumdulilah. Unfortunately, one of the kiddos especially, is still reeling from last year’s heavy load and has no motivation to get things done
(ever) in a timely manner.
I don’t know if everyone goes through this – although my experiences with other homeschooling families tells me it can be common – but some times they just need a little excitement or enticement to get through a day of schooling. So, I searched my favorite place lately for AWESOME IDEAS –
This is what I came up with:
Reward Scratch Cards!
I don’t know what the appeal is – but kids just love these cards. So, I decided to make my own – from many of those I found on Pinterest – to give the kids incentive to get done in a more timely manner. So far it is working out really well. They can’t wait to see who wins the next day – and they are already dreaming up what reward they will win next. Want to know how to make your own? Let me show you!
WHAT YOU NEED:
card stock paper – You can draw your own design or do it in Powerpoint
metallic acrylic paint ( I chose a fun metallic blue color)
small paint brush
clear contact paper (clear packing tape should also work)
Print out a sheet of scratch cards. I made mine in PowerPoint. I inserted a table onto the page that consisted of 2 rows with 4 columns. I then used their clip art to make the design I wanted. I highly recommend that you write your rewards inside an easy shape to paint. It is a little bit less time consuming if you just have easy strokes to paint. In my design, I decided to make the scratch part resemble clouds above the air balloon. This is what my final PowerPoint design printed as:
Cut out the cards. I used my trusty paper cutter, to make my job easier.
Next you need to cut the contact paper (if you don’t have any – try clear packing tape) big enough to cover the area that you will cover with the paint – to create the scratch surface. Simply peel the backing from the contact paper and place it over the card where you will be painting the scratch surface. You can see it somewhat in this picture:
Next, mix 2 parts of paint with 1 part of dish soap.
Paint over an area on the contact paper to cover the words of the reward message. Some people actually fill in an entire shape (such as a heart) – and others just cover over the area where there are words. I found my job a lot easier by making the design of the paint look like clouds above the air balloon – less mistakes or precision required that way. I used a small tipped brush to do this. Let it dry completely and then do another layer. My design took 3 layers of paint before everything was completely covered. Once all the words are concealed, you are finished!
The excitement in the room built as I was making these – I even had kids arguing over who would scratch off my sample cards for these pictures.
So, how am I going to use these cards?
I ended up making 30 cards – and I intend to reward them a card a day (unless no one deserves a reward). I intend to reward one person each day for (1) finishing school work on time (no later than 5pm) (2) who exhibits best behavior (no fighting or arguing) (3) who is helpful around the house – and especially who picks up after themselves (we’ve had issues with this, believe me!)
Each card (for the most part) has a different reward listed. I made up most of the rewards based on things the kids like to do – and also asked them for their input. What are some of the rewards?
1. You are such a jumping bean – go jump on the trampoline. (we have a small exercise trampoline with kids videos – but the kids can only use it when supervised)
2. Hip, hip, hooray! Let’s go make something with clay! (the kids love to do clay crafts – we have a supply downstairs, but the kids can only use them when supervised)
3. Choose your own prize (they can be creative – it can be something with Mom – something with Dad – or perhaps, by themselves. The kids prefer to do something with one of us usually.
4. It will be my greatest pleasure to help you find your long lost treasure. (We have a treasure box that is now full with many items we found at Michaels Craft store on clearance for 25 cents – things like small notebooks, journals, note paper, note cards, etc. – the kids get to choose an item when they get this card).
5. Let’s go somewhere to find a nook where we can read your favorite book! (They get to choose a book and we go together and spend one-on-one time, reading.)
6. Hey goodlookin’ let’s go get cookin! (They get to cook something with mom – anything they choose.)
7. Play a game with Mom or Dad. (They get to choose a board game or card game to play)
The rewards are mostly for things they enjoy – and also for spending more quality time with Mom and Dad – I think that’s a great incentive for my kids. Now, even though our days are busy – I can find more time to do rewards like these when everyone is doing their best to get things done in a more timely manner – it takes off a huge load from Mom. Also, many of these activities use tools we already have on hand – but they “forget” about them sometimes. It’s a good way for them to actually use those tools – games, using our microscope, clay activities, art lessons, etc.
Insha’Allah – this inspires you and your family to find other ways to encourage your child. It’s not always easy – and sometimes we need to change things up a bit. For now, we are going to try this and see how it works, insha’Allah. If you choose to do this – please let us know – if you blog about it – let me know and I will link to your post. I’d love to see what others come up with, insha’Allah.
Sumayyah Umm SAAK