I actually offered my daughter money to make her do her homework. I'm not even joking. After three months of failing to get her to focus and be serious, I just gave up and tried to throw cash at the problem. Guess what? I also seem to have failed to get her to value monetary reward.
I'm not sure that I can adequately describe what happens to my six year old when I try to get her to do her homework. She starts talking like a baby, she scribbles, she jumps around, she belches, she laughs maniacally, and she manages to get me to bang my head on a wall. The work is always a mess, and I can't imagine that any learning goes on during what has become a nightly, excruciatingly long battle. This is just grade one!
At the start of this week, I made her a deal. I told her that I would mark her calendar with a happy face on each day that she behaved well and made an adequate effort during homework time. I told her that each happy face was worth 25 cents, and that I would double the amount for each week where she managed to earn five happy faces.
I tried to explain that she would have enough money to buy a Barbie after a month of good behaviour, but she couldn't seem to grasp the concept. The homework on that particular day was as bad as ever. The rest of the evening was even worse! Homework initiates the bad behaviour, and once it starts, she can't seem to stop. Just before bed time, I made another futile attempt to explain my reward system.
"I have enough money! I'll just use the family money!" she argued.
"Wanna bet!", I angrily retorted while the huz poured me a glass of wine and escorted me into a quite room.
The next morning, my daughter was looking through the Scholastic book catalogue, and found something she really wanted.
"Ok, sweetie. All you have to do is earn ten homework happy faces, and that book is yours!"
You would not believe how furious she got in the face of the daunting task of behaving well during ten homework sessions! I stood my ground though. She was in tears when she got on the bus that morning, and turned the tears on for me when she got off the bus after school. And then something neat happened!
She earned a happy face! And then another! And another!
I'm realize that I'm still throwing money at this problem, but at least it's under the guise of the gift of literature. So what if it's Barbie Surf Princess!