Thursday, June 15, 2017

Don't Give Allowances .... Pay Them Bounties!

Yesterday, I was sitting in a park and some guy came up to me and gave me $100 for doing nothing!! NOT!  I'm sure if someone offered me $100 in the park, they would want something in return! ;) Anyway ....

Nearly all of the money I've acquired over life has come as a consequence of something I've done.  For a large bulk, that something was working.  So, to help my girls become productive members of society, rather than giving them money in the form of an "Allowance", I pay them for doing extra things.  I'm not talking about doing extra chores, although that sends a good message too, I'm talking about academic pieces of work as well as some Martial Arts/Physical Fitness achievements.  All of these bounties are for activities beyond their normal Academic and Martial Arts expectations, to be done in their free time.

The "Bounty List" can grow over the summer, as the girls are welcome to propose new bounties.  If I like the suggestion, it gets added.  Here is the Bounty List as it stands right now:

  • 6 page, typed, essay highlighting a main theme that runs through the entire Harry Potter Series of books - $20
  • 4 page, typed, essay highlighting a main theme that runs through the entire Star Wars Series of movies - $20
  • 4 page, typed, essay highlighting the Hero's Journey
  • 1 page summary of a book, with a pay out of 1 penny per page of the books length
  • Long Division Problems - 1 cent per digit for each correctly done, and checked, problem (e.g. 8572234 / 324 would be a 10 cent problem)
  • Algebraic Problem Solutions - 1 cent per operator, 1 cent per variable, 1 cent per term (e.g. 3x + 7x - 3 +5 = 15 - 8x would be a 13 cent problem)
  • Poster Presentation - Payout is $2 per hour put into preparation of topic, with bonus possibility
  • Audio Lecture Listened To - Payout is $1 per hour listening to Audio Lecture (audio book, master series, whatever) when they turn in a page of facts covering the audio lecture contents (e.g. listen to a 3 hour show on Greek history, and they turn in a Greek facts sheet covering what they heard, they would get $6)
  • 5000 Front Kicks has a payout of $10 (KJ is currently averaging 100 per day, so in 50 days she will make it)
  • 10 PERFECT push-ups with zero pause time has a pay out of $5
  • 50 Laps Around the Block has a payout of $5 (Dy has done 4 thus far)

The bounty approach has been fantastic in previous summers, so we continue it.  When Dy wants a Slurpee, she knows that all she needs to do is enough long division problems and viola!  Slurpee time!  Or, knock out 10 perfect push-ups (not easy given their builds, gender, and age by the way).

By way of mechanics, I don't pay them per problem as they go. It just isn't practical to give them 8 cents here and there. Rather, they get payouts in intervals of dollars.

Happy Bounty Paying!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Day of Homeschool!

Ahhhh, it is finally here!!! Yeah!! We are so super excited.  Today is the very first day of our homeschool!

Wait, what?! It is June 1st? The start of Summer.

Yep, it sure is.

You may recall the blog post about the Try Before You Buy homeschool model wherein you try homeschooling for an entire summer to see if it would really work for you and your family.  What we've done for a number of years is do summer homeschool, the Try Before You Buy model, so our girls simply expect to continue their learning all summer long.

So, what's changing in their daily routines?  Nothing from the previous summer.

Over the years, we've refined our homeschool summer model to fit with what actually works in our family.  Our schedule has turned into something pretty simple.

Today, for example, the girls got up at 8:30AM, and they are now finishing their breakfast. At 9AM, we will begin 30 minutes of morning Martial Arts training, lead by my eldest (she leads on Thursdays), and then they will do their academics.  They already know what to do and in what areas they need to cover.  They have complete freedom in the order they do their work, a lot of latitude in the modes of learning (digital, worksheets, book, dad taught, videos, ....) and how much time to spend in each area.  At 12 noon, the youngest will prepare lunch (she handles lunches on Thursdays), which we will sit down and eat together, and then it will be chore time.  Once chores are done, if they've achieved their personal learning goals for the day, then they can simply play/do whatever but if they've not made their goals, they return to what they need and want to get done. Dinner will be at 5PM, and we will play a strategy board game as a family around 6PM.  At 7:30PM, we will be at our Dojo for an hour long Martial Arts class.

Because we've been doing this for years, both girls know what is expected of them, and they do it.  It is rare that I need to step in and provide a parental push or adjustment.  Both girls love learning, and since it is driven by areas of interest, they go on their own ... and many afternoons will find them doing extra academics/research/pushing of their minds because they are so interested in something.  Eventually, they will make their way outside to bike ride, play with some kids, challenge me to a game of soccer, or play in the pool.  Each afternoon is different and we simply flow with whatever.