The decision to homeschool our daughter, Siobhann, was an easy one. We weighed the pros and cons of public schools, private schools and homeschooling and we knew that homeschooling was for us. If only the decision as to whether or not she would be paid for excellent grades had been that easy. My husband had been paid for grades and it make a difference with him. I had only been paid for “improved grades” and it made a huge difference in my academic career. In the end, after countless hours of discussion, we decided we would give her money for both excellent and improved grades.
We began paying Siobhann when she first started formal classes. She was two at the time. Now, at the age of six, she has quite a little nest egg set aside. The older she gets, the money she can potentially earn. We never tell her the exact amount to expect. It will vary – depending on the subject, her aptitude for the topic, the work involved and the time spent on the subject. Spelling tests, a subject she finds easy and thoroughly enjoys, usually pays a quarter. Science experiments, something Siobhann hates, can pay up to $5 – depending on the effort she puts into the experiment.
In addition to being paid for excellent and improved grades on tests and effort Siobhann applies to her science experiments, she also earns money when she finishes a module. If she was in a traditional classroom, a module would normally take nine weeks. Because we homeschool, modules can take much less time than that. She never receives money for finishing a module quickly. We prefer quality to quantity.
The exact definition of “excellent grades” also varies. Siobhann, like her mother, is not mathematically inclined, so excellent grades in math are less than excellent grades in reading and writing – two subjects she naturally excels in. She does earn more money for her math grades simply because she finds math to be more challenging and spends more time working on it.
Siobhann’s favorite way to earn money with her grades is by improvement. The more she improves, the more can earn. We carefully track all of her grades and, as her grades go up, so does the money she earns. She monitors her grade charts and gets excited when she sees her grades improves.
We were quite pleased Siobhann didn’t complain when we explained the spending limitations we put on the money she earned by getting excellent grades. The first 10 percent goes to her tithes and, of the remaining 90 percent, she must buy some books, put some in savings and give a portion (which is up to her) to a charity of her choice. She loves picking out books and dropping her money in the donation box at our local humane society.
My husband and I plan on letting her earn money with excellent grades through college. As she gets older, we plan on paying her less often and on more of a schedule. When middle school and high school becomes more structured (should Siobhann need that structure) we will probably pay her only for tests, modules and special projects. Like with most homeschooling parents, we are learning as we go. Whatever we feel is best for her at the time is what we plan to do.
Allowing Siobhann to earn money with excellent grades and academic effort is working extremely well. She is learning that hard work does pay off as well as how to save her money. In addition to that, she must also budget the money she earns to pay her tithes, for books, charitable donations and whatever she wants. We are very proud that she works hard and is able to be rewarded for her hard work.