Discipline, homework, and chores….

I’ve been trying to decide what the best way to get my kids to focus on school work is. We’ve tried a million different things – maybe a few more than that actually. But we’ve finally come into a system of rewards/punishments that is working.

Dealing with backtalk

I don’t tolerate backtalk during school. Discussion yes; backtalk no. The minute Nicholas gets snarky, I give him one warning. The second warning results in him being sent to his room until he’s ready to come work nicely. I always warn him the same way, “If you are too tired to do your work nicely, then you need a nap.” Usually our school time works without too many problems. But sometimes he’s spending more time in his room than doing his work. He has actually missed a playdate because he didn’t finish his school work. Which leads me to the second point….

School work comes first

I break our school work into two categories; lessons and practice work. The practice work consists of things like math worksheets, practicing letters, writing letters, dot-to-dots, memory work, and phonics/reading. The lessons are things we learn about that day. Most of the time the lesson also includes various practical aspects (drawing a star, practicing circles, answering questions….). But I still break the day up into these two categories. He never has more than 20 minutes of practice work – if he would sit down and do it. In practice, it takes us about an hour to do the practice work. It’s lucky my kids get up early, because we finish this work before 9 am. Nothing happens until this work is done.

Our lessons are never hard to get the kids involved in. Whether we are doing jellybean math, cooking, art, science, reading and writing our own stories, working on animals and plants….it never takes much to get them interested and participating. I put these lessons throughout the day. Normally after I go to the gym (yes, I make this my time and I need it!).


Stickers as rewards.

Stickers as rewards.

My oldest works better with punishments than rewards. He doesn’t care if his worksheet gets a sticker or he gets ice cream at the end of the school day. My youngest works well with rewards. She gets stickers on each worksheet she completes. She gets a bigger sticker when she is done with her school work. She really likes stickers, so this works well for her.

We also have Ice Cream Fridays. On Friday, once everything is done and all the school work is caught up, we have ice cream.  The ice cream gets made by the kids. I’m there to help pour and measure, but they get to choose the flavor and what they want to add to it. I’ve had blueberry chocolate chip ice cream and pineapple banana ice cream. Whatever they want they get to choose. It helps them get through things on Friday and gives them a reward.


Chores are a part of our homeschooling. My kids – even the youngest – have their chores. We do laundry, bathroom floor washing, and dishes as chores. They also have to put their toys away at night. Chores are often done while we sing various songs; I like the kids to learn songs. We’ve sung “Old MacDonald” to do laundry and “Hokey Pokey” while doing dishes.

One thing I don’t do is use chores as punishment. If the chores don’t get done, they don’t get to go on play dates. That’s the rule. They can’t have people over unless the chore for the day is done. They know what days their chores are supposed to get done – I have charts for them to see.

That’s all

At the moment, that’s all I have. I’m going to say that something different will work for each kid. And at different times different things have worked. On days when nothing seems to work, we simply change the lessons. That means there is something to do on Fridays since Friday is out catch up day.


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1 Comment

  1. Catherine

     /  January 11, 2013

    Wow my hat is off to you! What a routine. My poor children watch TV while I clean. I get bored playing with them since I never actually allowed to participate in the play so hence I stick around maybe 15 mins. We have done some computer educational websites but once thru learned to navigate them and use the mouse I mostly just check in on them every 10-15 mins. You start super young which I think is great it helps you just have the two kids. I talked with my sister in law some about how she does it just to see how others approach it. She doesn’t do anything until she gets them reading but she also has 7 kids so she is pretty busy with the older ones so hers she gets reading by 6 or 7 one of hers had some learning difficulties so he took a bit longer but they were all caught up in no time since they are home schooled. What a great program. I really admire you. I love my kids but I need them out of my hair a few hours ( most hours) of the day.


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