If you homeschool, getting your kids to do school in the summer can be an issue for you at times. Maybe you decide that doing school year round is something you’d like to try – you have to start sometime right? Perhaps this new change in routine is met with some, let’s say, resistance. Or maybe, if you’re like our family, you decide to move right before the official “end” of the school year and take a few weeks off to get out of one home and into another. Then you have some school work to finish. Or maybe, in spite of your best efforts, you just didn’t get everything done and you simply need to do school in the summer.
In a perfect world, your kids will do their assigned school work in a timely manner without complaint. The time of year will have no bearing whatsoever on that. They will also do their chores, mind their manners and hygiene, never lose or break things and go to bed on time without a hassle.
Yeah, welcome back to reality, Sunshine! Even if your kids are pretty compliant most of the time, those warm summer days filled with the promise of swimming and sports and bike riding and digging are going to cause even the most perfect little angel student to not want to do school in the summer, at least once!
So, what can a harried homeschool mom, who is just as eager as the kids to be done with it already, do?
I’m going to be completely real here and cut to the chase, OK? Take a look at the picture below, it says it all:
Yes, that is candy. And cookies. And, ironically, a verse about obeying the governing authorities. This particular day, I was met with a little resistance in getting our work done. It was hot out, and I bribed the kids with going to the beach if we got our chores and school work done. I also bribed them with candy and cookies. Why? Because I was just not up to a battle. I wanted the school work and chores done. They wanted to go to the beach and eat candy and cookies. It was a win-win solution in everyone’s book.
And you know what? It worked. Of course.
The thing is, however, that you don’t want to do this every day! But using rewards to encourage the good behavior you desire can be beneficial. The day after our Beach and Sweets Bribe Day, the kids got their school work and chores done without much fuss and without the promise of going somewhere or a sweet treat. The key is the element of surprise. If they know that they will be rewarded with an appropriate treat for doing what you expect of them, but have no idea when, they may be more likely to do school in the summer without a hassle, just in case today is The Day.
The Word reminds us to not exasperate our children. Yes, children should just do what they’re told because they are to obey and honor their parents. But, when neighborhood friends are out having fun and not “stuck inside” doing school in the summer, your kids might begin to feel exasperated and resentful. Summer time has an especially laid-back undertone and lightening up a bit for a few months probably won’t hurt anything. If you choose fun rewards that are appropriate with your family’s lifestyle and values, the kids will appreciate it and it can help strengthen the bond you have with your children. It’s no fun to think of your parents as harsh taskmasters and that can be very discouraging for a child.
Here are a few rewards that may motivate your children if they have to do school in the summer:
- A trip to the beach
- Popsicles – make them yourself and you know they’re getting something healthy
- Let them pick a movie to watch (especially great on a very hot day)
- Candy, cookies and other sweets (as appropriate for your family’s eating habits)
- An overnight stay at the grandparents house, if they’re close enough
- A small toy or trinket from the dollar store
- A trip to the park
- Visit a local attraction or festival
Ultimately, your children need to learn that they should do what is expected of them. Fun and rewards can be a part of how they learn, as long as you use them responsibly. Getting candy every time they get their math assignments done can encourage them to only do their math assignments when there is a reward to follow. Getting a treat at random when they get their work done teaches them to always be prepared by getting their work done on time, because only those who are prepared and finished with their assigned work will get the reward.
If you are a homeschooling, Torah observant family I’d like to encourage you to check out Homeschooling Torah. Their curriculum is terrific and affordable, and the support and online community of other families using Homeschooling Torah are amazing! The link in this paragraph will take you to the Homeschooling Torah website and it is also an affiliate link, which means if you sign up using this link, I will receive compensation. If you do that, I just want to say Thank You!