I’ve shown you schoolrooms of the past around here and talked about how our new set up looks before anyone touches it. But the reality is never as glimmering as the pictures show. I figured I would show the other pictures. Cause I’m all real like that.
Here’s our front room where most of our schoolwork is done. There are our buckets and schoolwork and toys and shoes strewn about.
I’ve been complaining to Matt for awhile that school has become a battle. They drag their feet all day, don’t get finished, and I get frustrated.
So Matt came up with a plan. It is a reward and discipline system for hard work and laziness. We figured it should take about 4 hours for the oldest to get done with all of his work if he worked diligently. That would include eating and bathrooming breaks and his 20 minutes of reading. We made that the baseline for everyone since it was the longest amount of time and the other 2 older children don’t have so much of a problem with dawdling. If the children get finished within 4 hours they will get a reward for their hard work. Right now we’re thinking a quarter a day (maybe).
If they get finished between 4-6 hours they get a good job and pat on the back. If they do not get finished within the 6 hours, then the discipline begins. For every 30 minutes over they go they will lose one day of their “screens” (the 3 older children have old phones – the oldest saved his money and bought a Nexus 7 tablet – that we have put apps on and allowed them to email on with our wi-fi, we call these their “screens”). My job is to let the system work, to stay out of it. This is hard for me y’all. I apparently like to nag. Not really, but kind of. And I hate to see my children fail. But through the failing they are learning.
And learn he did, the other day, that oldest of mine.
He decided he would play and dawdle and give into distraction. I should’ve seen it coming. He went from working hard and earning rewards for a few days to making it into the neutral zone a couple of days. So on Monday he decided to play. A couple of times throughout that very long morning I gently reminded him that it looked like he was not on track. Other than that, I stayed out of it. Four hours passed. Then 5. Then 6. At 6 hours he began to have a complete breakdown, crying and yelling and declaring he would never get finished in all of his life. I stayed calm, out of it, and tracked the days he was losing as each half hour passed. He eventually stopped flipping out and finished his work. He had lost 4 days of his Nexus at that point. At dinner than night he declared that the “low” of his day was nearly the whole day. And with a smile said,”I will never be lazy with my work again!” (I know that he will have slip ups, but I also know he learned a valuable lesson.)
The pictures of life aren’t always pretty and put together, but we’re making progress and we’re making it together!