Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Knowledge is power...

My boys love books, books about all things, and of every level. Caleb will read through with a voracious appetite for content. What we noticed about all of the boys though is that reading was starting to not be fun anymore, we couldn't figure out why. We ordered book order from school, went to the book store. They pick the books they wanted to read. So then came report card time. Their reading levels came in and I thought "good, they both moved up" what I didn't realize was that although they moved up, the books they were reading were not appropriate for them. They were reading way above or way below their reading level, depending on the child.

I was now on a mission. We tore through the book shelves, reorganized the books, placed them by level and content and made it so that they could easily access the just right for them books, and would know how to ask for help with the others. This has been a step, but it isn't enough. When I was driving to Cambridge yesterday I had asked Steve to read me questions from my abnormal psychology workbook in preparation for my exam last night. He had trouble with a few of the words because they were technical, and he didn't know them. He said sorry, he didn't understand the words spelling to phonics. My response was "you shouldn't! If you haven't heard a word while you see it you wouldn't know how to say it." Lightbulb!

When the boys were babies, I read to them every night. Books of all shapes and sizes and over and over we would read the same books. I realized that as they learned to read, I stopped reading to them. I can own this misstep, but now, how to fix it?

I stopped at the bookstore today, and I purchased a new book for each of the boys, not one they asked for, not one they can read themselves, but a book that I would like to read to them. And so, I now begin a quest to read to them daily. It may not be too late, and to be honest with school work and volunteer commitments, I very often do not read enough myself.

Here's to happy reading!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

When growing up means more to you

So, my boys are getting older, and it has been a while since I posted. Actually since July of last year! Sometimes I find it hard to put finger to keyboard and type about my life, and sometimes, I forget I have a blog at all. So, in a nutshell: Caleb is 10, Logan is 7, and Aaron is 5! They are all healthy, and they are all learning that growing up means a lot of responsibility. For a long time we would have to hound, and yell, and beg and plead with them to actually take on some responsibility and to help around the house. Then one day, I had an ah-ha moment. That moment where you say " why the heck didn't I think of this sooner?!?!" That day was the birth of this our chore chart.
It isn't anything fancy, 9 envelopes, three sheets of paper, and a poster board. I used my computer to create a checklist, and it was truly that easy. My boys need the visual reminder of what needs to be accomplished, and how much they have done. We check mark accomplishments, put a dash through items that are not necessary for that day, and we use a circle in a box to make certain they know which expectations they have not completed for the day. 

At the end of the week, they earn an allowance. It is not much, $3.00 each for the week. The split the money three ways, GIVE, SAVE, & SPEND.

If they do not accomplish all REQUIRED tasks in a week, they do not receive their full allowance. Their first dollar goes to give, their second to save and their third to spend. If they do not get three, they lose out in the spend category.

Likewise, If they have a great week where they have accomplished above and beyond the REQUIRED work, then they get a BONUS. Preferably the bonus goes to the save, however, they may place the bonus as they wish. usually it is a dollar, sometimes it is more.

I find that in giving them responsibility, and trust, they are proving how capable they are.

If you are not sure where to begin, I like this list:
I referenced this list when determining what to ask the boys to do. The chores on their list are the minimum. We ask they to prep meals with us, set and clean the table, and clean and re-organize rooms or the house. The expected that we don't even ask for is that their belongings are taken care of. We started small, a month of telling them their responsibilities, and then, we put the allowance and the chart into place.

All of this is to say that we have a sense of less chaos in our house because the yelling is drastically reduced, and the arguments about what needs to be done are gone. This is not by any means a perfect system, but it works for us. Hopefully you will find something that works similarly as well for you!