Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prince's rewards: extrinsic and intrinsic

This year we started paying Prince in money for good behavior. Primarily for good potty behavior, but also for being soft for his sister and various acts of maturity above and beyond the call of his years. He gets N1 (one naira), which is about 2/3 of a penny, for each good deed. He also gets a base allowance of N25 each week. Once he has N100 together, we pay him in N10 bills and he can practice paying his tithing, saving for his mission, and putting some money aside to buy that new flashlight he has his eyes on. [It's for his "detective kit," just like the one in The Friend story he read: The Case of the Broken Mirror.]
As an aside, it is really remarkable how hard it is to gather N10 bills! I went to the bank, and the bank wouldn't give me any. I go to shops, and they have a hard time coming up with 5. I usually have to take some N5, a N10 or 2, and a N20. I finally made a deal with the cafeteria and bought N500 worth of their small change.
Joy says, "Prince has been pretending like his Mario checkers are coins. I'm not sure how he pays with them. He'll say, 'I couldn't play checkers today, Mommy, because I was playing with my checkers as money.'"

This has meant we have changed his reward systems. We had 3 going at once. Adding another on top? Ridiculous. So we got to simplify and Joy repurposed his responsibility chart. Won't you tell us about that, dear?

"Well, the responsibility chart is now for things that we don't pay him for but want him to do every day, like: brushing his teeth, helping around the house, putting away the silverware, cleaning his room, taking care of himself, and just being an active member of the family. He has to do the things on his responsibility chart before he can have a break to play - three things in the morning, three in the afternoon, a couple in the evening. It's mostly so he can use his marbles and play his ... video game." I have to note, she says "video game" with an impressive level of disdain. "I don't get to choose what motivates my child. I just get to direct what he does for his motivations."

He also has a new system at school for his schoolwork.

"The general idea was to do math one day, science another day, social studies/self-care another day, and I've got language and reading."

We bought a bunch of workbooks over the break to fill in. Joy spent 3 hours one day getting a too-large pile picked out. I returned with her the next morning to the wonderful fun house we call the education book store and shortened the pile. I added his great huge math book.

He does about two pages a day from one of the workbooks, and sometimes more. One day I remember he was very excited to show me the scientist workbook he had put together. When he was in bed and hadn't had a chance to show it to me yet, I laughed at it's opening line: "Look at me! I'm a scientist."

"Well there was a place to put his picture and I wish I could paste it in there. That's the idea."

Anyway, the scientist in the book tests things and sees what floats and plants seeds and does other sciency things with his 5 senses. He colored one of the scientists like Pablo and one like Uniqua because his current favorite Backyardigan episode is the Fifty Foot Worman, where they play mad scientist. Joy told me in the tub that day, he dropped a Winnie-the-Pooh figurine into the water. It sank. He then turned to her excitedly and said, "I'm being a scientist! I'm finding out it sinks."

"He's been doing time, but not for a while and he wants me to go through that with him again."

He loves LeapFrog products. As soon as we think of his math and telling time, of course his new math videos and the music comes to mind. Princess loves them too. She was begging at dinner for "Math is Everywhere."

"He's also doing better at sitting still for his schoolwork this semester."

He also practices reading the real Book of Mormon and his kids Book of Mormon. I kept trying to get a video of him reading uploaded, but it appears to be too big for our slow connection. Ah well.