At our house, school + summer = incessant whining and fussing, which I guess is to be expected.  It is summer, after all.  We read and do some fun things during the summer, but that is usually the extent of our summer schooling.  But since this year we managed to get way behind in our math books and I don’t want them to start school a grade level behind, we’re having to kick it into high gear and get their math lessons in. 
And I knew I had to make it fun.

My good friend Amy inspired me with her summer schooling ideas last year.  The idea is to give your kiddies ownership of their work by earning tickets for prizes.  I have a simple chart with a column for each kid.  Every day they need to read for 20 minutes at least and do one math lesson.  They earn a ticket for each one and they can tape their ticket into their column.
The prizes come in on Pay Day, Friday.  If they have earned 10 tickets by Friday afternoon they get to choose a prize.  If they haven’t, the tickets are cleared and they have to try again next week.  If they are super motivated and earn more than 10 tickets, they get to save their “bonus points” until they earn five.  The bonus points carry over from week to week.  When they earn five bonus points, they get to choose a bonus prize, which is a little bigger prize I’ve chosen for each of them individually. 
I decided that the prizes need to be really fun for my kids to get excited about it.  I put some dollar bills in the prize bucket and some mini sodas…they never get soda, poor kids.  Here’s some other ideas for fun prizes:
-art supplies
-movies (check out the $5 shelf at Target)
-sidewalk chalk
-little toys (check out the clearance section at Target)
-hair accessories
-gift cards for little things like ice cream cones at McDonalds
-flashlights (my kids love flashlights)
-pool toys
I wanted to make it challenging but not too difficult.  I also wanted to make summer school motivating by having a fun prize bucket.  I knew my kids wouldn’t work all that hard for a pencil or a stick of gum.  This system has been working unbelievably well so far.  I am so impressed by how hard my kids have worked.  We’re only into our third week since being home from vacation, but its been working beautifully so far. 
Summer schooling isn’t my favorite thing, but this is a harmonious mix of fun and school.  Happy summer day!


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