The Treat Jar

or “Our Reward System”

I realized before our first day of homeschooling that we were going to need some sort of incentive for Madison to behave – because when she behaves, my life is so much happier. What I came up with was “The Treat Jar.”

First, Madison and I made up a set of rules. The only rule I cared about was that Madison would obey (since that pretty much encompasses everything), so that was my contribution to the list. The rest she came up with on her own, and I copied them down. So our homeschool rules (at least for this year) are:

  1. No Fits
  2. Listen to Directions
  3. Obey your Teacher
  4. No Rude Talking
  5. No Hitting

Here is a picture of our super fancy rule chart, taped to the side of the refrigerator.

So we had our rules, so the next thing I wanted to do was set up some sort of system where she would be rewarded for following them and also rewarded for finishing all of her school work. I made up this chart:

(As you can see from the date, I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while.)

At the top, we record whether or not she follows the rules. Everyday, she gets three chances to follow the rules. If she breaks one, she gets an X on her chart; if she gets 3 X’s, she gets a sad face. If she gets 0-2 X’s, she gets a smiley face.

At the bottom, we record when she finishes her lessons. The most important subjects to me (Bible, Reading, Math and Japanese) are listed, as well as how many lessons I try to complete each week. When she finishes all the lessons for the week, she get a smiley face. I think this keeps both of us accountable, and so far, we have always finished all our lessons (although the things not listed, like science, art, etc. we frequently skip altogether…)

At the very bottom in green, it says 9 🙂 ‘s = Saturday Treat.  So if she has earned all smiley faces, then on Saturday, she gets a “Saturday Treat.” Enter “The Treat Jar.”

Madison helped decorate it and together we made up a list of “treats” that she can earn. On Saturday morning, if she has her 9 🙂 ‘s, she draws a card out of the jar and gets one of the following treats:

  • go to the zoo
  • go to the park
  • bake cookies with Mom
  • candy bar of her choice
  • play a game with Mom
  • ring pop
  • present from Mom’s closet (I bought several things, like games, flash cards, etc. that are wrapped and she gets to pick one)
  • go ice skating/go to the pool (depending on weather)
  • lunch date
  • go get ice cream
  • sonic slush
  • ride the toy truck at Walmart

I have seen other programs that you can purchase that would achieve similar results, but this has worked extremely well for us. I think Madison does well with this because she has ownership in it – she created the rules and she chose the rewards. And we will be able to adapt it each year to fit what our family needs.

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