Wednesday, October 06, 2010

That’s the Ticket!

I got around to reading my That’s the Ticket! book last Monday night, late, finished it in one sitting (it’s a big book but not a long book) and started trying to implement it the next evening (well, at least I introduced it to the kids to mixed reviews). I decided that since I had kids on different levels of abilities, likes/dislikes… I’d make my own “playing boards” or lists of “Ways to Win” and “Rewards” in Excel so each child has their own. Geo and Gigi’s boards are pretty similar with a few more things on his as he has a few more things to work on that aren’t issues for her. Here’s a sampling of some of our Ways to Win:




Finish school within time limits 3 3
Use good handwriting on your spelling test 1 1
Have a good-attitude school day 5 5

Be ready for School on time or early 2 2
Say, "Yes Mom" or "Yes Dad" when we call you 1 1
Practice Piano for 30 minutes 10 10

Be kind and considerate to your family
No bossing, bullying, pestering, taking things, hitting, pinching, kicking, being rude, being mean, annoying, taunting, stealing, arguing, throwing…
3 3
Include youngers in activities 4 4
Obey cheerfully and promptly and long-term
     (don't disobey, whine or argue)
2 2
To resolve a conflict, use kind words, then get help if you need it. 5 5
Be respectful to Mom and Dad 5 5
Respect each other's privacy 5 5

Rinse your plates after meals 2 2
Clear your place at the table after meals 2 2
Clean up any messes you make 3 3

Do a chore cheerfully when asked 10 10
Fold a load of laundry 5 -
Put a load of laundry away 5 -
Empty or load the dishwasher 5 -


Our actual list is quite a bit longer, but it’s stuff our kids have heard for years so now it’s just a matter of putting it into practice.

The value in seeing the game boards (to me) were the ideas that they gave me that I hadn’t thought of before to add to my Ways to Win list. So, the book alone is not sufficient if you are looking for ideas in this area like I was. The book has ways to play the game, but not a list of all Ways to Win or Privileges, that’s on the game boards.

In the fashion of PocketMod, I created little books for the kids with all their Ways to Win along with their Privileges to chose from so they have easy access to them. I also have them posted on the side of the refrigerator and on the wall beside my desk, plus they get reminded of what is expected of them each time they win points or have to relinquish them.

The book suggests giving them a couple of days head start before you start taking any of their tickets and only reminding them of what is to come, but I wanted to jump right in so I gave them 300 points up front for doing nothing and we got started.

At first I printed out some tickets, 1 point tickets on white paper, 5 point tickets on green paper, but it got so hard to figure out how many points each kid had that I decided to come up with another way.

I had some colored paperclips in 6 different colors so I made yellow = 50 points, orange = 20 points, white = 10 points and Geo’s 1 points are blue, Gigi’s are red and Eli’s are/were green (he’s out of the game until he decides he’s a big enough boy to start earning more points than he’s losing; he’s only 4 and I’m thinking the game is best started at 6 or 7, we’ll see when he seems ready).

Since I started using the paperclips (which get tangled up easily), I came across these plastic links from Oriental Trading and I think they’ll work even better (though the 1 point links will all have to be the same color). This method makes it very easy to figure out how many points each child has and to carry out transactions. I can also wear several around my neck for easy access so I don’t miss an opportunity to reward good behavior. Also if the kids wear theirs, their points won’t get lost and I’ll know where to go to collect “tickets” if necessary.

Part of our day includes chore time (I’ve moved it to the morning and school to the afternoon because I just didn’t have the energy needed for zipping around the house cleaning in the afternoon. I’m usually feeling like a siesta come 2 p.m. so doing our chores in the a.m. has helped a lot.) and I made some nice little chore charts with rotating chores so that the kids won’t get too bored with the same ones week after week. They do have the same chores for 1 week, then I’ll print up another, different list. (Let me know if you’d like a copy of my chore list system and I’ll e-mail it to you).

KidsSchedSampThere’s a place at the bottom of their list where I add up the # of chores they did, properly and on time, and figure how many points they’ll get. They get an extra 5 points if they finish all of their chores correctly and on time, plus they get 2 points each for each correctly done/on time chore. But… if they aren’t all done on time, they lose 5 points, and lose 2 points for each chore not done correctly/on time. So, yesterday Geo got 33 points because he did them all on time and decently. But, today he only got 19 because he said he did a couple, but didn’t really do them at all (should have got him for lying too I guess).

I suppose it’s a little more work on my part, trying to keep track of points and every little things they’re supposed to be doing (and catching them if they don’t), but the difference in attitudes alone would make it worth the money and I’m starting to see a change in the house and how the kids relate to each other too (and this is only the first week). So far I’m very happy with this program and can’t say enough good things about it :) It’s truly been a God-send to me!

SonLight Education Ministry Homeschool Curriculum

As I mentioned, this is our homeschool curriculum for the next 15 or so years (if the world lasts that long). Recently I received a letter from them stating that they are closing up shop due to personal and financial reasons. However, because they believe in their curriculum and have put so much time and effort into it, they will be offering any of their self-published products for free starting December 31 of this year. I’m not positive because I haven’t checked with them yet, but I’m pretty sure this would include their Bible/Worship/Nature/Character Development curriculum they call Family Bible Lessons as well as their 2nd-8th grade unit study based SonLight program.

It is a conservative Seventh-Day Adventist curriculum and the Bible is woven into every aspect of study (including math!).

We haven’t used the 2-8 program yet, but will hopefully be starting that in January. I can speak to the Family Bible Lesson, though, as we’ve been using them for almost a year. I really like them, they have memory verses that you learn along with the lesson, character traits which are emphasized in each lesson (a different one each week), Bible selections to read for each lesson, then an overview with comprehension questions and finally a nature nugget which ties into the story and character trait with some ideas at the very end of each lesson on how to make what you learned practical in real life.

There is also a companion book of stories, poems and activities that go along with the lessons. There are activities for several levels of development plus applicable poems and interesting character building stories. There’s a wealth of information in each lesson, it’s not a wimpy Bible curriculum by any means. So check them out, the website is a bit basic and even the curriculum is black & white only (laser printer friendly), but my kids haven’t seemed to mind.