Among the many decisions that a home-schooling parent has to make, setting up a rewards system might not immediately jump out as the most pressing. But the truth is, the incentives and encouragement you offer to your children at this stage in their development can have a huge impact on the way they approach learning in later life.
Choosing to home-school your children can be for a variety of reasons, but even allowing for the varying needs of children in different circumstances, it’s beneficial to implement a rewards system to encourage the kind of behaviour you want in your children. In fact, it’s because you can devise a rewards system to meet the specific needs of your children that doing so is so important.
You Can Track Their Progress
In bigger classes, the progress of individual students can easily be compared to their peers. This is an understandable side effect of teaching many people at once, but it’s much harder with home-schooled children. However, their isolated setting makes a good rewards system both easier to implement and more important. When you know each child’s strengths and stumbling blocks, you can measure them against the appropriate age group and see exactly where they’re excelling and where they’re falling behind, setting specific goals and rewarding them appropriately.
You Can Reward The Right Things
Sometimes, teachers and parents can clash over the values students are taught in school. For example if you want to encourage healthy eating habits and not set up sugary sweets as preferable to any other kind of food, you may well disagree with a teacher who hands out chocolates to encourage good behaviour. A rewards system allows you to dole out encouragement, praise, and even the occasional present according to the values you want to build up in your children. You can reward behaviour in such a way that doesn’t glorify television or sweets as preferable to reading or learning.
You can recognise additional effort or creative thinking by emphasising the merits of such things in and of themselves, rather than as a way to get sweets. Reward systems shape behaviour and thought patterns more than people realise, and it’s important to wield such a tool carefully.
You Can Refrain From Punishment
If a child is struggling with a subject or displaying bad behaviour, flat-out punishments and removal of privileges may well make things worse. There’s nothing wrong with letting a child know that what they’re doing is wrong, of course – but it’s tricky to administer actual punishment in a way that discourages the behaviour instead of implicitly encouraging your child to just not get caught next time. Instead, make an effort to encourage good behaviour, thereby coaxing your child to redirect his or her energy towards exhibiting good values rather than bad. Having a reward system can therefore benefit both you and your children in the long run.
Do you have any experience with home-schooling? Do you think it’s important to have a good rewards system? Share your opinions and experience in the comments!
Guest article written by Louise Blake who is a mum and a blogger, and enjoys sharing her thoughts and opinions on rewards for good behavior in the classroom (whether at school or at home!) by blogging for Classroom Carrots.