Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Think I've Lost My Marbles!

Does getting your children to complete their work in a timely manner ever make you feel like you've lost your marbles?

Do you ever go bonkers trying to get everyone to pay attention?

Are you looking for a way to motivate your children?

Let me suggest the marble system. A teacher I studied under recommended this system, and it has worked really well for me.

Originally, the system was devised to be a group motivator. Whenever the entire class received a compliment or had a good day, a marble was placed in the jar. When the jar was full, the class was rewarded.

I have modified the system a little to fit my needs. I have two separate jars, one for each boy. I also set the first goal near the bottom of the jar instead of making them fill their jars to the top. I placed a small piece of blue painter's tape on the spot to which they must fill their jar to be rewarded. When they reach the first goal, I move the tape up a little higher. One reason many reward systems fail is that the pay-off takes too long. Kids need to reach the goal quickly at first in order to "get it". Then they should be expected to work a little harder each subsequent time.

I put in different numbers of marbles for different tasks. Certain assignments in the day are worth as many as 2 marbles. If they receive a good grade they get 2. A little lower grade earns 1.

I also reward with marbles for timeliness, good manners, completion of chores, and other desirable actions. When a boy fills his jar to the line, he gets an ice cream cone or doughnut from a local bakery.

If someone misbehaves, I remove a marble (or two) from the jar. Instead of bad behavior causing me to loose my marbles, it leads to the boys losing theirs!

I also have a few larger sized marbles available. We call these "super marbles". If one of my boys receives a compliment from someone outside the family or achieves something special, I place a super marble in his jar. Earning a super marble is a big deal in our family, and it has encouraged good behavior in public. They are always on the look out for a compliment.

So don't loose your marbles! Instead gather them and put them to work for you. Your kids will love it and so will you.


joelle said...

I love this idea. Thanks for sharing. I think we are going to implement some form of this. I have been having real problems trying to find a reward system that's adequate. I love your blog!

Sisterlisa said...

Thank you for this idea. How fun! Your post is added to the homeschool carnival at my blog.

Bleu said...

What a terrific idea! I LOVE it! While I'm out tomorrow, I'm going to purchase some marbles and implement this idea right away.

Amber said...

Clever idea! Love the "super marbles"! :)

Chrissy said...

Thank you! I am definitely doing this one!