We want to encourage our kids’ further academic development at home, not just leave it to the school to educate them. Previously we have worked through math (addition, subtraction, multiplication), English, and Spanish flashcards. To incentivize them, I would establish a goal of a certain amount of cards they had to get right the first time, and if they did, then they earned a certain treat, like a piece of candy, dessert, or option to watch t.v. (which we only allow on weekends).

Now that the kids have mostly outgrown the flashcards, I wanted to start introducing more of the elements of a classical school curriculum. (Inner thought: how do you do that when you’re not able to homeschool and they’re attending a public school?!)

So I told them and their teachers that when they had library at school, they needed to check out at least one non-fiction book. Then I told the kids that they were required to read the non-fiction book, and they had the option of doing a book report on it for either two dollars or for ice cream from Cold Stone.

It’s amazing how much they’ve grown with just a little incentive. They are identifying and understanding facts; writing paragraphs detailing who, what, when, where, why, and how; developing connections between what they’re reading and their life experience; and drawing pictures to illustrate aspects of their stories. Button has already read books on Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the Statue of Liberty. Siah has started on the planets–a book on Jupiter and then one on Saturn. It’s fun to watch them get excited about what they’re learning!