Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WFMW - Family Almanac

It's time for another edition of Works for Me Wednesday. Remember to visit here to find lots of great ideas!

Having a Family Almanac is a fun tradition. (Go here to find the original post with directions on how to make one.) Here's today's entry:

April 22
1985: New apartment managers (Clearfield) FINALLY fix stuff.
1989: Weston report card dinner
2006: Brad & Jeff attend Prom with Amanda and Katie (and Krystle and her date)
The Family Almanac is a great tradition that helps us remember the little things that make our family unique. That works for us.

But wait! There's a bonus "works for me" idea on the April 22nd card. And that's our family tradition of "report card" dinners.

We'd always heard stories of families who paid their children for getting A's and B's on their report cards, and that just didn't sit well with us. We wanted our children to enjoy school and get good grades just because it was the right thing to do. We knew there was the possibility that some of our children might naturally do better at academics than others, and we wanted them each to succeed. We also knew that positive reinforcement is a great motivator for doing your best. And that's what we wanted - just for each child to do his best.

So this is what we decided: Every time a report card was issued, we'd compare it to the previous one. If our student showed improvement, the reward was dinner with Mom and Dad at a restaurant. (Since we always ate a home, even McDonald's was considered a super treat, especially to our first and second graders!) If you couldn't "show improvement" (i.e. you had a straight-A report card), you just had to maintain the same high standard. As it turned out we've had a LOT of straight-A report cards over the years. If we had gone with the monetary reward, we would be broke! This system worked even when older kids received letter grades and younger kids received "satisfactory or unsatisfactory." Our high school kids tried to get us to change (use the money you'd spend at Applebee's and buy us a video game instead), but it didn't work. After all, tradition is tradition! And for twenty years, that's worked for us.


Bahama Shores Mama said...

love this report card tradition! is it too late to start? nah, we'll start NOW!

Shayla said...

I LOVE your ideas! I am starting a Family Almanac right now! Y
ou & your family are such a great example to me as I'm starting out with my children... Thanks!

Melanie said...

I love this idea. We've been searching for a good motivator for our children and this is excellent. What a fun way to celebrate as a family.

Becky said...

I forgot to mention that one of the things that made it fun, mainly for the older ones, was a chance to have mom and dad to themselves for a little while without any babies/preschoolers. That made them feel grown-up.