The forecast today was for rain, rain and more rain - so we did hustle a little this morning at breakfast (though happily Sergeant Major was barely in evidence). The rain was forecast to arrive at around 9ish, so we had a breakfast race to see if we could all beat the rain. We won (finished at 8.30am) and headed to the little park up the road for a run around in the fresh air, as it might be our only chance today ;) An hour later, and DS1 & 3 wanted to come home (DS2 was still enjoying playing tag with Mummy, but was happy to concede) We got back just in time & the boys drank some hot chocolate & watched a little TV while I drew up the new star chart...
(we've had ours for a while, but if you're interested, you can get them from Amazon)
I'm not sure how I feel about having goals, incentives etc for doing work - it feels a little too 'schoolish' - but neither do I want them to just expect to play Wii/ DS/ watch DVDs all day - so we'll give this a go and see if it works. As with all home educating, I'm just trying things out to see what works for us :)
The star chart fits all 3 of them, runs for a whole week, and has space for 10 daily goals. I set the target really small: 5 stars and they got to play Mario Party (the current Wii favourite), which was easily achieveable for today. I was hoping that as they all had the same reward, they would encourage each other to get all their stars so that they could play together. In practice they all finished near each other anyway, but DS1, who has his own room, did help his younger brothers who share a room to finish tidying theirs :)
As we progress I may set the goal higher - say a weekly goal of 30 stars. I have deliberately set the goals so half of them are 'academic' subjects, and half are more practical, household-based - I expect them to learn to help around the home too (I want my future daughters-in-law to bless me ;) ). This way if the boys want to do school-type work they can (they choose what they do & how much of it for each subject), and if they don't feel like doing "schoolwork", they can avoid it by helping me... win-win ;) In practice I was surprised that DS2 chose mostly academic work (which included painting art, that we all joined in with). DS1 chose whatever was quickest - some academic & some practical. DS3 was happy to be advised by DS1 ;)
I don't expect to run this system every day - it would get boring, & I want plenty of opportunities for either trips out or for them to just spend all day on one subject if they choose to, without feeling penalised ny not getting lots of stars. I have more questions than answers, but it worked well today, so we'll keep it as a resource thats available to us, and see how it progresses...