A couple of weeks ago, someone left a soccer table (fooseball?) at the freecycle area. Wow! It was in good condition, so I brought it home. Richard had been having trouble getting his schoolwork done in a reasonable amount of time without tons of frustration and pestering by me and my husband. He’s also been wanting one of these tables. Aha!
Well, I brought it home. My husband had a small fit until I explained it’s purpose. Richard had to earn it. Until then, it stayed in the garage. If he failed to earn it, back to the freecycle it would go. Here’s how he earns it:
1. The next week he had to complete his school by noon 4 out of 5 days. If he did, we’d take him to the school supply store to buy stickers of his choice for a sticker chart.
2. After earning the stickers, he then has to get 15 stickers before the end of November. To earn a sticker his school must be finished by noon. If he still hasn’t finished school at 3pm he gets a strike. He can only get 3 strikes before he forfeits the game.
3. Time may be adjusted if our work interferes.
He started earning stickers last week. He choose little ladybugs. There are over 500 of them in the package. You can’t buy just one sheet of them. He made a chart on an index card and taped it on the wall near his desk. It still took some prodding. He only got 2 stickers last week. He also got his first strike. Still, he did manage to complete all his work at least.
This week is a little better. I noticed Friday that he’d been using a mechanical pencil he found somewhere. I told him if he earned 5 stickers in a row, that I’d get him a package of them.
Staying on task and getting started are still problems we’re working on. Giving him a deadline attached to positive reinforcement has helped somewhat. Monday he had his unit tests. I made the mistake of giving him a break. He had trouble starting again, but finally settled down again. Yesterday was lots of fresh snow. I let the kids have the morning off then did school in the afternoon. The times threw them off a little, but they got it done.
Today was a struggle getting started. He goofed around half an hour so my husband told him what to do first (language arts) rather than making a list. Richard started handwriting instead. My husband kept telling him do language arts. Richard threw a fit then made his own list. I got mad at them both and told Richard his list was fine. I wasn’t going to pester him but gave him a choice. Either he got busy or he could have the day off and another strike which would forfeit the pencils. It was now quarter to ten. He quickly got to work. Well, he squeaked by with less than 5 minutes until noon to earn his third sticker this week.
So, overall, the sticker chart has improved his work motivation. It gives him positive physical reinforcement for completing his work on time. It is helping in goal setting by tracking his progress toward the reward for completing the goal.