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While getting sunburned walking around a town-wide yard sale, DS7 and I discussed his problems with writing.

 

He told me he can write quickly and reminded me of his sudden burst of writing activity last fall. But, he said, writing is boring, and "being bored is like having no energy, and that's why I'm so slow."

 

He suggested a writing game, or maybe a points system so he could earn stuff -- something to make it interesting and fun. I told him why I don't like reward systems, but in the end I agreed to try one.

 

We found a pretty, and relatively thin, journal/sketchbook on our walk. I told DS that for every three pages (front and back) he fills in with "compelling passages" in his best hand, he'll earn $10 in Lego.

 

We're instituting it during our brief summer break so whether this would replace regular writing didn't even come up. I think it could replace handwriting but not composition.

 

What do you think? Am I going to regret this?

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You may ending up regretting it, and it could end up being very, very expensive if he really gets going. Now that it's done, it's done, but I think you may wish to put a limit on how long this offer lasts and a spending limit. On the one hand, people get paid for work IRL, but on the other hand, his room, board and expenses are provided for:001_smile:

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If you do use this method, I would set a limit on it. There is a part of me that doesn't really like this because I think that working hard is the right thing to do and it should be required and not bribed. But, I suppose that certain circumstances require that you be creative with your encouragement.

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I wouldn't work very hard or fast at something I didn't like if I weren't rewarded in some way. I think you set a pretty high wage though!

 

The only way I can see this would be OK (for you) is perhaps you were planning on spending $100 on Lego sets soon anyway?

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The only way I can see this would be OK (for you) is perhaps you were planning on spending $100 on Lego sets soon anyway?

 

We were planning on getting Verdi an expensive Lego set for his eighth birthday in early July. He had asked for the "Droid set." We assumed he meant the super expensive one and had begun to save up for it. It turns out that he meant the $12 set, though. So . . . we happen to have a big Lego item in our budget right now.

 

Also, the notebook is thin, has about 30 pages. He can't earn more than $100 worth of Legos no matter what he does. And he's well aware this is a one time deal.

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If you do use this method, I would set a limit on it. There is a part of me that doesn't really like this because I think that working hard is the right thing to do and it should be required and not bribed. But, I suppose that certain circumstances require that you be creative with your encouragement.

 

That is why I held out against bribery for so long as I did. If Verdi and I hadn't had a long conservation while walking about intrinsic rewards, and the value of communication, I wouldn't have consented to this bribery.

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I sort of like this idea. It's a small notebook, it's summer time, it's a "game" - not your curriculum.

 

The real payoff for you, in my mind, is that if he proves that he *can* do this, it's going to be much more difficult for him to complain that he *can't* do it later on! :D

 

Also, he may build up those writing muscles and find that it's not so boring after all!!

 

Anne

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While I agree that doing things for the intrinsic reward and not the extrinsic is best, in my reality, I don't get intrinsic rewards for everything I do. I don't think that we can expect kids (especially at 7 years old) to do everything they do just for the intrinsic rewards.

 

If your son is generally a well-rounded kid who works reasonably hard at his schoolwork, I don't think one "summer fun" program will ruin him. ;)

 

Besides, it sounds like he is still in control of things. You didn't require that he fill the notebook. He only gets the reward if he initiates the work, right?

 

Tara

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AND I also believe there is a VERY big difference between rewards and bribery.

When we bribe...we are paying someone to do (or not do) something BAD. A reward is our paycheck at the end of the week for a job well done...or a trophy for being the best or fastest. I really don't like it when these two terms are confused for one another...meaning someone accused me of bribery because i promised my 3 year old a lolli-pop if he showed me he could sit nicely while we waited for his siblings to finish a skating lesson. he did a great job and I rewarded him. If he did not sit nicely, we would have all suffered...he would have had no lollipop...and I that snarky woman would have had no peace:D i say rewards are great and your ds is a lucky boy.

Faithe ( who wants a star for cleaning my house so nicely instead of playing at the pool today.)

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If your son is generally a well-rounded kid who works reasonably hard at his schoolwork, I don't think one "summer fun" program will ruin him.

 

Hm. Well, he's not the roundest of all five of 'em, in fact, he's kind of a things-that-go nerd. But he's definitely the hardest worker. DH (dear heart) and I fight over who gets him when we're splitting the kids up into chore teams.

 

 

Besides, it sounds like he is still in control of things. You didn't require that he fill the notebook. He only gets the reward if he initiates the work, right?

 

Truly. I found his notebook as I was cleaning, tonight. So far he's written his name on the endpapers. I shall not remind him . . . but I will leave it on the coffee table with a jar of pencils nearby.

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there is a difference between bribery and rewards.

 

First of all, I think the whole conversation sounds sweet, and he was being so honest with you about writing being boring for him.

 

Jmo, but I think three pages, front and back, is a lot of writing for a boy his age

and I wouldn't hesitate to reward him with the lego's and lots of verbal praise.

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We were planning on getting Verdi an expensive Lego set for his eighth birthday in early July. He had asked for the "Droid set." We assumed he meant the super expensive one and had begun to save up for it. It turns out that he meant the $12 set, though. So . . . we happen to have a big Lego item in our budget right now.

 

Also, the notebook is thin, has about 30 pages. He can't earn more than $100 worth of Legos no matter what he does. And he's well aware this is a one time deal.

 

Now this makes sense! Now that I know the details, plus more about the conversation this is a workable plan. I still have memories of a mother, who overall is a fabulous mom, who bought her girls something every single time they went into a store, so I'm a bit biased.

 

As for legos, too bad you didn't get any. My parents bought our first set when there was just my sister and I. However, by the time my second brother came along, we had an old dresser to hold all the legos, and I have one more brother who came along later.

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My parents never let me play with my brother's Legos, and for some reason it never occurred to them to buy me my own. mad0114.gif

 

In this case, this is a no-lose situation! You can BOTH play with the Legos he earns! :D I think this is a great idea, and I've instituted something similar with "nickel jars" for my kids.

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I just did the same thing. I want the kids to learn certain passages, and know that they will jump if $$$ is involved. I told my three middle kids that I would pay $10 if they memorized the Apostles Creed. They're working. I think it's worth the money for certain things.

 

I also pay $0.50 per catfish to be fished out of our pond because I think they are disgusting. They earn up to about 8-10 dollars and after this lose interest. My guess is that after a while, he'll find other things to do, but the initial incentive will have primed the pump for better writing.

 

Pam

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