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Right before we started our first year of home schooling I asked a friend of mine, who had grown up as a homeschooled student, what were some of her favorite memories of being homeschooled. She told me about a “rewards store” that her mom had made for her and her siblings. Her mom would buy presents, mark them a certain price, and reward her children by allowing them to spend “money” they earned that day in the store.
I was excited to give it a try and, as I expected, it was a big hit with my girls. I have used it off and on, to greater and lesser extent, over our homeschooling experience. This New Year when talking with my girls about what we wanted change in our home school, they said we needed a store again. And, I had fun recreating one in our school room!
Rewards for Homeschool Kids
How to Create a ‘Rewards Store’ for Homeschooling
1. Buy gifts of all price ranges and then price them according to your rewards. I like a variety of items so my students have the choice to spend all their money they earned that day on a small item or save the majority of it for a few days for bigger items. I like to encourage the challenge of earning without adding too much pressure. You know your child and how long he/she can save without getting discouraged.
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2. Choose your inventory thoughtfully. Once again you know your students. What things make them smile, work a little harder, and then count their coins? When I opened my first store, I used candy as one of the smaller rewards, but recently I’ve tried to find more healthy snacks. I also like to add non-editable items. My girls are delighted with craft items, Chapstick, coin purses, stickers and all those girly, fun things. A dollar store is a great place to find cheap snacks and cute gifts. Don’t feel bad if some items aren’t a hit. It is an expense of every store owner, and can eventually be removed from the store (or, put on “sale”).
3. Decide what you want to encourage with rewards. I don’t reward for good grades. My youngest daughter is an anxious perfectionist and pressure for good performance only stresses her further. I’m also a firm believer that every child’s best looks totally different and I cannot reward on a scale from 0-100. I reward for happy cheerful effort and completion. Much to my joy, they often want to earn more and will read the next chapter, finish the next page, or do the next project in order to buy an item or add to their savings.
ALSO CHECK OUT : ARE REWARDS WRECKING YOUR HOMESCHOOLER?
Reward Benefits for Homeschoolers
1. As I mentioned, it is so rewarding to see them worker harder, longer, and more cheerfully with the anticipation of a reward!
2. The reward store has taught my girls how to count money faster and easier than any math lesson ever did. When a first grader is trying to buy a snack or save up for a cute coin purse it doesn’t take long to learn the value of coins!
3. Rewarding teaches them that today’s spending hinders saving. I so enjoy watching them debate over the moment’s pleasure or future enjoyment!
The little basket of store items in our school room makes us smile again and again and I hope it will do the same for you!
Anita Byler is a home schooling mom that finds joy in the little things of life such as a good book, a cup of coffee, and the sparkling eyes of her three children. Read more at littlemomentsgreatjoy.wordpress.com.
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