Domestic Economy Dollars, Er.. Mom Bucks

Are your children in need of fresh ideas, full of life and fun, learning and responsibility?  My children have needed this kind of idea for a while now, and I’m pleased to say, it’s here!  First, though, to give credit where credit is due.  The original idea and the photos on this blog post were provided by Erin over at the Keeper of the Homestead blog, and I would encourage you Mamas to go over there, check it out, and of course, grab the freebies she offers!

In a time where my children were suffering from lack of responsibility and industriousness, I read this blog post that put a fun spin on life!

Mom Bucks!

Our home, in the last several days, has turned into it’s own economy.  Each child holds responsibility for his own work, and is rewarded for all he accomplishes, while being held to a standard for all he doesn’t accomplish.  This is the way it works:

I first made a list of all that needs done around the house.  Sweeping floors, putting away dishes, doing laundry and cleaning the table are just a few of the items I added to my list.  I then decided how much I would pay for each chore.

Just before starting the game, I took advantage of Erin’s free Mom Bucks printables.  And yes, you need to do this too!  She provides a PDF  printable of all the Mom Bucks you will need.  Click the picture below to go to her website to get your free printable!

The children all enjoyed getting a few Mom Bucks in their pocket, and then the economy (and the game) took a really fun turn!  I opened the Mom Bucks All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant.  Each meal and snack is available for purchase.  But, it is only available by purchase!  It took just a few minutes for the children to understand this concept, but they have been trained since they were little that “if you do not work, you shall not eat”.  I’m happy to say that I’ve never had a child miss even a single meal, but this Mom Bucks game really shows them what it is like in real life!  The boys, especially, are so proud of their accomplishments as they tell me, “I’m working and paying for food, just like Papa!”

And then, the Mom Bucks game takes another turn:  Enter the Judge.  Caleb explained to the children that if an adult fought with someone else, and the police came, then they would have to go to the judge to get the problem solved.  He also explained that when you go to the judge, you have to pay the judge money.  Bingo!  Mom Bucks!  Now, when the children are arguing, I allow them a few moments to solve the problem themselves.  But if it starts to get out of hand, the judge comes to the scene, Mom Bucks are paid, and the problem is solved.  Squabbles have disappeared almost entirely in our home in just the last two days!  Not only are they not fighting, but they are also learning to work things out between themselves, because they certainly don’t want to pay the judge!

Most of my children are too young to strive for more than just the paying of their meals.  Which is fine, for their age.  However, Isaac, at 8 years old, understands the concept of earning, saving, and using his Mom Bucks.   He is earning roughly 4 extra Mom Bucks daily.  He does extra chores, walks away from contentious siblings, and on his own decision, occasionally decides to skip his snack (depending on what is being served).  If this was a meal I felt he needed to keep healthy, you can be sure I wouldn’t allow him to skip it.  But, since it is just a little something in the middle of the afternoon to give variety to the day, I allow him to choose if he wants it or not.  He amazes me with his focus on this economy of ours.  He told me one day, “This is fake money at the stores and stuff, but it’s REAL money here in our house!”  Oh, yes, it is!  And this boy needed something to grab his attention and keep him working toward a goal.  Mom Bucks is a part of meeting that need.

So, the question is asked, what am I doing differently than Erin, at Keeper of the Homestead?

I do not know the ages of Erin’s children, but I think it’s safe to say that most of them are much older than my little ones.  And, knowing you, they are probably much older than your children as well.  So, how do we adapt this system to our little ones, who range between 1-8 years old?

My youngest child to play the game is Ethan, who is 3.   All of his chores are accomplished with me by his side.  We empty the washer together, tidy the kitchen together, or put away the dishes together, and he gets a Mom Buck.  I make certain that he accomplishes enough chores in a day to pay for all meals and snacks and have at least one Mom Buck left over to give him encouragement.  Also, all of his meals are 1/2 price in the restaurant (rounding up if need be), and he does not have to pay the judge.  In truth, he is playing like he is playing the game.  One day he will be old enough to play the game in reality, but for now, it is good enough the way I have it set.

I then have Nethaneel and Elly (5 and 6) playing the game.  They are my procrastinators and squabblers.  The game is working wonders for them, even though they only care to have enough Mom Bucks to be able to eat.  That is fine.  I make sure that their daily tasks, if completed on time, without a lot of squabbling during the day, will cover all their meals and snacks.

One more vital tip that I found was essential for these three children was the Mom Bucks Envelope.  I took an envelope, wrote their name on the BACK of it, then taped it to the wall.  The kids can keep their Mom Bucks in their own envelope, keeping the loss of Mom Bucks to a minimum.  I allow Isaac to keep his Mom Bucks in his own wallet.

If you read further at the Keeper of the Homestead blog, you will come across this post which is a fun read.  At the end of the post Erin offers a free PDF of a timecard, which the child can mark which chores he’s done during the day, and be paid at the end of the day.  I’m sure this would be an excellent resource for those with older children, but it’s entirely impractical for my little tots.  For the littler ones, they need immediate gratification, which would be accomplished by paying them as soon as the chore is completed.

You can see on the board above that Erin offers her children $10 of real money if they get 100 Mom Bucks.  We do the same except it is only $1 of real money for every 100 Mom Bucks.  The reason for this is because all of our children are young enough that $1 is the same as $10 which is the same as $100.  Money is money to them, and a penny is better than a dime or a quarter because it’s brown!  Someday I may have to increase the amount I am giving for 100 Mom Bucks, but right now it works just fine.

Another tip that I discovered:  I have at least one child who is slow to act when given a simple task (such as “please get the milk out of the fridge”)  He dallies, and talks, maybe complains, drags his feet,  and finally gets what he is told.  I have been randomly giving out Mom Bucks just because a child does as he is bid with a smile on his face and a light to his step.  Which reminds me.  I was once asked, “Why don’t I get a Mom Buck when I _____ (get a diaper for the baby, put the eggs away, etc)”  I explained that we all need to show love to others by doing little things for them.  When they are bidden to do a short, little task, then Mom Bucks are not always rewarded because their reward is being able to show others love.  My children already understand the concept of how good they feel to show love, so it was an easy explanation for a different kind of reward.

In conclusion, my favorite result of the Mom Bucks system came last night in the form of a comment Isaac made.  He said, “Mama, you can make me pay for meals, and snacks, and fighting.  But you can’t make me pay for the most important things.  Like wisdom, and praying, and loving others.  Those things are free!”

Oh he gets it.  He gets it.  And this Mama’s heart is full to overflowing with the fact that the training we have given him is slowly coming to fruition.  May we all, always understand this fact:  our leaders might destroy our economy.  They might make us pay for health insurance, schooling, abortions, and all other things we abhor.  But they can never make us pay for the most important things.  Like wisdom, and praying, and loving others.  Those things are free, and always will be.

Relief for Mama… And a Giveaway!

How many times have you had the perfect schedule, great resources to accomplish all you wanted to get done, excellent ideas for the day, and yet, day after day, it fell apart?  I suppose that’s how it’s been going in my life lately.  I have finally gotten to a point in organization that my house stays clean, for the most part.  The children are ready to learn their 3-R’s, and due to Pinterest, blogs, and Facebook, I have more amazing ideas than I can use.  Yet, the days would whip past like a freight train in the country, no schooling would be done, and the bare necessities of housework would be accomplished.

This has been going on for way too long, which would explain why I haven’t written anything lately!  I pinned it all down to an attitude problem.  We are all tired of this winter dreariness, and it effects the way we behave.  Squabbles break out often, making the bed might take up to an hour, and whining is in order all day long.  But the solution has arrived, and Mama is breathing a sigh of relief!  I know, now I’ve got you ramped up to hear this awesome idea, only to tell you that you will have to wait a day or two before that post comes out.  Soon… very soon.  I promise, I will post it.

Yet, in the meantime, I think I’m back to blogging at least a bit more than I have been doing!  And to begin, I’m going to share with you this great giveaway that is going on right now at the Keeper of the Homestead blog.

She is giving away a handcrafted drying rack!  I have never bought drying racks because every single one I’ve seen is wobbly and falls apart in short order.  However, Erin comments on her blog post that, “The racks can withstand heavy, heavy quilts and heavy room area rugs.  You can put a quilt on one side and it will not topple over like the accordion style wooden drying racks the Amish make.”  It’s sounding good!

I could use a drying rack.  We have laundry every day that needs drying.  And if I didn’t have so much laundry, you bet I’d be hanging Great Grandma’s quilt on the rack.  What would you use it for?

I encourage you to head over to Erin’s blog and check out her drying rack giveaway!

A Pioneer Rack Giveaway

The Laundry Basket

It’s been pretty cold outside lately, but today I’ve been thinking back on those beautiful summer months.  Specifically, I’ve been remembering Ethan, my little 2-yo-buddy, as he helped with the laundry last summer.  I would empty the contents of the washer into a laundry basket to carry out to the line.  At that point, Ethan was bound to show up.  “Me help Mama!  Me help Mama” he would exclaim.  His demands were hard to put off, and if I tried, it ended in tears.  So, with great difficulty, but also with great joy, I would let him help.  As soon as he assumed the role of ‘helper’, my simple chore turned into a complex task.  He insisted that he, and he alone carry one side of the laundry basket, while I carry the other side.  Certainly, 20 lbs of wet laundry cannot even 1/2 be carried by a 2 year old, so that required that I, his mother, carry all 20 lbs of laundry by only ONE handle.  Not only did I have the entire load to bear, with half the tools needed, but I was also required to steady his fumbling gait.  I was required to walk the long way around the yard in order to avoid any bumps or dips.  When he stumbled, the load fell on me, holding one little handle of a heavy laundry basket to hold him up.  And when we eventually arrived at the clothesline, we would set down our load, he would beam up at me with those big eyes and bigger smile while proclaiming, “Me help Mama!”  And then, he would ‘help’ me as we hung laundry on a line that reached above his head.

Since last summer, my little buddy has turned 3.  I expect that this summer will be easier as we walk out to the clothesline.  He won’t stumble so much, and he might even be able to hold up a little of his half of the chore.  It will be easier to have him help, but it will not be more precious.  No, the most precious days of his helping with the laundry are just about over.  That simple white laundry basket will live on in my mind for the rest of my life.

Snow School

Snow, snow, and more snow fills our days around here!  With about 18 inches of snow on the ground (and up to 3 foot snow drifts), what else can we think about?  I decided that if it’s going to fill up my day, I might as well enjoy it!  So we’ve been doing lots of snow-related activities.  Such as:

Learning about Eskimos – Where do they live? (Geography); How did they used to live? (History)

Learning about snow – What is it’s temperature? In the freezer, refrigerator, on the counter? (Science)

And my favorite – Snowball Algebra

But this one might be easier seen than explained, so here’s the video of our school time:

I Want to be a Yes Mama

The alarm started beeping at 4:15 this morning.  I agree, that is early, but it’s not unusual in our home.  In fact, the alarm goes off at that time every morning, 7 days a week.  When I tell people what time I usually get up, I receive that ‘crazy person’ look and the question, “Why?”  It truly doesn’t make much sense.  Here I am, a stay-at-home Mama, with children who would sleep till 7am if I worked the schedule correctly, and a natural-born Night Owl.  Why would I push myself to be up and going by 4:30 EVERY day?

It’s because I want to be a “Yes Mama”

A Yes Mama laughs

A Yes Mama gets excited

A Yes Mama asks for help (especially when the munchkins can’t give much help)

A Yes Mama runs races, throws snowballs, and makes daisy chains

A Yes Mama plays hide-and-seek, reads a book, and builds towers

A Yes Mama spends time on Pinterest (or with an art or science book) to find interesting things to do

A Yes Mama ignores Facebook, her blog, and maybe even the telephone when her little ones are awake

A Yes Mama gives hugs and kisses and cuddles

I don’t have time to be a “Yes Blogger” and a “Yes Facebooker” while I’m being a “Yes Mama”.   So, my alarm sounds at 4:15 every morning.  I’ll spend a little time on Facebook, and a little time on blogging, a good amount of time finding things interesting for my children, and then the day will start, and I will strive to be a Yes Mama.  Won’t you join me?

Awesome related article:  Be a door opener, not a door shutter

“For all the promises of God in him are yea [yes],

and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us”

~2 Corinthians 1:20

Accumulations

Yesterday all that white fluffy stuff spilled upon us like sand in an hourglass.  It just kept coming and coming, with no end in sight.  It wasn’t a particularly hard snowfall, with limited visibility, but it certainly added up to a lot before it was finished!  As the children go tromping outside today, I expect to see one or two of them fall, and struggle to get up in the massive snowdrifts.  Our driveway will be a mess for quite a while, and the animals will require extra work with the frozen water and no pasture to graze.  However, the snow will provide snow-ice cream, sledding trips, ice skating parties, rosy-red cheeks, and quiet, peaceful evenings.  I enjoy winter as long as no driving needs to be done.

I had to think about that snow as it was falling.  The constant, repetitive snow.  Hour after hour.  What a reminder about how we are to raise our children!  Every concept, every situation is to be like that snowfall.  Gentle, consistent, regular.

“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”  ~Isaiah 28:9-10
Here’s for today:  Let us make it a day of repetition.  Give hugs on a schedule.  Smile at your little ones over and over and over again.  Choose to laugh.  Don’t be worried, Mama!  All you need to do is the ‘little stuff’ over and over again.

Mr. Google’s Snowflakes

After two years, I’m pleased to finally say that I have internet access on my home computer!  Wow – You’d think we just stepped out of some African village into 21st century, America. 

We are having so much fun researching school topics online, and learning new things, such as how snowflakes are made and what kinds of shapes they are made into.  This is definitely getting the kid’s minds working hard on questions to ask “Mr. Google” as they call it. 

I really don’t have time to be writing today, so I’ll just close up for now, and leave a cool tidbit for you to watch (Be sure to click on “Launch”):

http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.phys.matter.snowflakes/snowflake-physics/