April 3, 2011

"$$$$ for every "A", $$ for every "B", reduction of above for any "C" and complete forfeiture for any "D."

"Also, 2 hours at the dining room table five nights-a-week. No TV. No music. No phone. I didn't force them to do homework -if they just wanted to stare at each other for two hours, OK with me. They were not as pleased with this as they were with 'bribery' and did try sitting there and day-dreaming for a couple of nights. And then, the strangest thing happened. Their friends thought this arrangement was so novel, they had to see for themselves. For the next two years, our house became a study hall for 8-10 kids almost every night."

mm's method.

19 comments:

MayBee said...

I didn't/don't pay my kids for grades.

We also did/do the 2 hours of pure studying every night. My youngest likes the dining room table, my older liked Starbucks. No phones, no computers, no thinking about what you could just quickly text to your friends. Two hours on a timer, and then the rest of the evening is yours.

fivewheels said...

When I was an Asian kid, nothing infuriated me more than tales of white kids being paid for B's. Not only was it blindingly unfair, given what a B meant in my house, but it also seemed stupid on the merits. Why reward failure?

I guess I absorbed some of what I was being taught, even if I didn't like it at the time.

Alex said...

When I was an Asian kid, nothing infuriated me more than tales of white kids being paid for B's.

Ask yourself why you cared about what other families were doing.

edutcher said...

He/She's right about the "homeschooling" part. The parents have to sit down with the kids.

My mother and, in certain cases, my father (don't ask) pounded stuff like history and the times tables and what-all into my pointy little head.

And school was a fight for me. My grades were no string of triumphs.

But, whatever it is I know today, I owe most of it to them.

The one thing I will say is that the "You're terrible, you didn't get an A" routine doesn't work on all people. Some it inspires, some crawl into a ball, some give up.

You don't want your kid giving up.

Alex said...

All I can say is Amy Chua is fortunate that neither of her girls mentally collapsed due to the abuse. Many others would. Of course she will cite their mental strength in the face of HER abuse as a sign of HER victory somehow. The woman is sick!

fivewheels said...

Alex: It's called hyperbole. Look it up.

The point being, you get more of what you subsidize. Maybe it works for A's, I wouldn't know, but I bet it works for B's. Is a nicely paid 3.0 a good result? Depends, I guess.

The Crack Emcee said...

I can say that, by enforcing a study hall-type atmosphere for my nephew, his friends found my house to be an ideal place to hang out as well. A bunch of wild music and snacks when they arrived - intense focus - and then more wild music and snacks when it was over.

It was cool.

doofus said...

I used a more insidious process at my house. SInce I am a video game developer by trade, our house has always had every video game system and most video games known to man, and I was very free with allowing my girls to play games.

Unless, of course, they didn't deliver on grades. Any lack of effort scholastically resulted in a drastic cut-back in video game privileges.

It worked amazingly well. I could fine-tune my children's behavior with slight modifications of video-game access. I like to think of it as a slightly more acceptable form of getting kids hooked on heroin and controlling them that way...:-)

rhhardin said...

I got no TV for any D. So I did pretty much without TV.

Phil 3:14 said...

Her kids needed a better collective bargaining agreement.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

The Crack Emcee said...

A bunch of wild music and snacks when they arrived - intense focus - and then more wild music and snacks when it was over.

Wild music like this?

Bought my copy last night, listened this morning. Wild, indeed. It's not my usual genre, so I'll need another listen or two to get it into my head.

Patrick said...

"He/She's right about the "homeschooling" part. The parents have to sit down with the kids."

I don't disagree with this, at least at the elementary level. I am hoping, however, that my kids will eventually develop the motivation/discipline to do their work whether I am "at the table" or not.

My trick? Limit "screen time," but make them earn it. Working ok for now, but it's early in the game.

kimsch said...

The Little Guy (10/4th grade) has to do his homework when he gets home from school before he can go out and play. He also does homework on Friday instead of waiting to do it Saturday or Sunday. He also reads aloud to his father for half an hour every night before going to sleep. TLG and Dad are currently working on CS Lewis' The Magician's Nephew.

We've told him he does the things he has before he does the things he wants to do.

wv: wingsl

Freeman Hunt said...

If you pay for grades, the pay scale has to depend upon the kid and the difficulty of the school.

If your kid has to work hard to get C's, C's are valuable. If your kid gets C's without doing any work, C's are worthless.

Additionally, if the school uses trash curriculum and teaches nothing of real value, all the grades are worthless, and you shouldn't care what they are. Just teach them real things when they get home. You could even devise a system to pay them for it.

Freeman Hunt said...

I like that study hall idea a lot. Particularly neat that the neighborhood kids got involved too. Adolescents especially hate feeling isolated. This sounds like studying made cool and sociable. Also inoculates them against anyone who might make fun of them for being dedicated students.

holdfast said...

Since I grew up in Canada, French was mandatory and I am French-retarded. "A"s in most subjects, some "B"s for math and maybe physics, and a total doofus in French. Thank God for my Mom drilling me on the stupid verbs until all hours of the night - I could not have asked for a better teacher.

The Crack Emcee said...

Martin L. Shoemaker,

Bought my copy last night, listened this morning. Wild, indeed. It's not my usual genre, so I'll need another listen or two to get it into my head.

Thank you. Let me know what you think, or if you need a lyric sheet or anything. Gawd, I love that opening number - "Don't You Know (The Terrorist Song)" - and quite a few others on there (and the authentic crackhouse cover photos: that's real pee!) but I've always hated the production and the inner sleeve. (Long story, but the short version is I had a record deal for that CD, with a label in Oakland, that got fucked up by 9-11.) Rap's Creation has got issues but, in many ways, it's like me:

Damned good for an orphaned project.

Here's some more, of all kinds, so you can have some comparison. Thanks again, man.

mm said...

FWIW, "he/she" is a he and the kids did HS in the Walkman era(when "A" meant at least "B").

No doubt there are good reasons for opposing pay for grades. I believe effort = reward is a good lesson in itself and, as admitted, I was looking for a simple way to cause the desired effect. Kids need money to buy stuff and do stuff. I got mine working after school. I made it clear to my kids that learning stuff was their after-school job.

For better or worse, I took it a step further and rewarded them for participating in sports (whatever they wanted). Can't claim credit for successes but as a single dad, I appreciated knowing where they were and what they were doing after school.

A final thought about being a single parent. I don't recommend it and know it caused my children emotional anguish. My ex was a loving, intelligent and responsible mom - unfortunately we didn't bring out the best in each other and "disagreement" was our default setting. Playing one parent off the other is not good for children.

Other factors affected my children's education in huge ways but enough of our family story. Some of it strays dangerously close to that "...takes a village" theme.

Conserve Liberty said...

Pretty simple, really - what we did. They will grow up, but raising them is an active, 20 year experiment with an uncertain conclusion. Try hard, and let the outcome be.

1. Eat dinner together, in the dining room, on real china and flatware. Talk while eating.
2. Do "homework" at set times every night. Do your own "homework" with them.
3. Read constantly - set an example.
4. Work hard and save money yourself. Self-denial by example.
5. Chores and allowance are required but not linked. We SHARE responsibilities AND resources.
6. Trust, but verify. Give a liberal curfew, but know where they are going. Wake me when you get home - and turn on the burglar alarm!!

Etc. If something is good for them it is good for you.