Sunday, August 28, 2011

Passport to Pizza

I came up with a system to get my kids to accomplish their responsibilities each day. So far it's been successful. It's called the Passport System. I made these Passports for my kids.  It took me a really long time to get the alignment right in Microsoft Word, but it's two 8.5 X 11 inch pieces of paper cut in half lengthwise. They are stacked and folded in the middle and stapled to look like a little booklet of four or five pages. I let the kids decorate the front. They get a new one each month.

Each day the kids have certain responsibilities. In the morning they:

1. Brush their teeth
2. Make their beds
3. Clean their assigned portion of the room, which is on a monthly rotating schedule. The cleaning assignments are:
Floor. It needs to be cleared of clothes, stuffed animals, and other junk. It's amazing how much it can get messed up between the time they go to bed and fall asleep.
Books. Books need to be put away on bookshelf. My kids read in bed and since the little ones don't read, they look at lots of books with pictures and they are all over the room by morning.
Bathroom. The toothbrushes straightened, counter wiped down, and floor clean of debris.
Closet. All clothes are to be hung up and floor cleared. It's amazing how out of control a closet can get if not regularly maintained.
Dressers. Tops neatened.

So these responsibilities are divided among the oldest five kids and they have that particular responsiblity for the whole month. Don't let me fool you into believing that Jason actually accomplishes his responsibility all by himself. After much stubborness, hunched over shoulders, and a pouty face, I'm lucky if I can persuade him to put one book on the shelf.  (Just to be clear, Jason is the one with the hunched shoulders and pouty face.) I have to keep telling myself that he's in the training phase...

Then they have to accomplish their school assignments (material for another post) and their afternoon clean up, which is also material for another post, but it's pretty much 25 minutes of cleaning their assigned downstairs rooms which are on a rotating daily schedule. The rooms are kitchen, playroom, music room/hallway, and family room.

My husband asks them at dinner if they did all their things one by one. If they say, "yes" to everything they get a sticker. If they don't finish everything, they have to do some make-up work the next day or that evening, which is an extra chore such as scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush. Ok, it's not really that bad, but the point is that it's an extra duty that helps us get the house cleaner.

The inside of the Passport.
 I buy cheap reward stickers at the $1 section at Target. If a kid does an extra something special that day (i.e. dry and put away the dishes) they get a "big" sticker, like Sarah did on Thursday. Believe it or not, but a sticker quadruple the size of a the normal sticker is effective motivation (or at least it was for the first month.) As you can see, we only award 6 days of stickers. We take off on Sunday because it's the Sabbath, and seven days would've made Word chart more complicated.

So at the end of the month if they have all their stickers on their Passports, they qualify to go out to a special place to eat. This month's destination was CiCi's Pizza. What can be better than an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet?

The Passports were redeemed today:

Emily's Passport
We have temporarily lost our reward stickers, so we had to dig into the stash of Melissa and Doug farm animal stickers.

Wendy was upset about something. I think she didn't like the way I tied her shoes.

I learned tonight that George loves cherry tomatoes. He ate a dozen of them while watching Hurrican Irene on the Weather Channel.

One of the most exciting things about Passport redemption is that all kids can have their own drink. No sharing required.

George also ate 3 brownies while continuing to watch the Weather Channel. He didn't seem too interested in pizza today.

Pretending to ride the games. We let the kids use their imaginations with video games and rides like these. We didn't pass out any quarters.

Here is a video of George drinking from a straw. He doesn't realize that the angle of the straw makes a difference when sipping. If you're wondering what is on the side of his cheek, it's a cherry tomato seed. You can hear Rachel talking in the background. If you are wondering what she is saying, here is a key:  "Baba" = "Spongebob" and "Neenee" = "Wendy" The brownies were very gooey and she didn't like touching them so she said "I don't want it get on me." But once she took a bite, it didn't matter to her anymore.

The kids have discussed and agreed that next month's Passport redemption will be Chuck E. Cheese. It's a five week schedule in September so they get a little bit of an upgrade from CiCi's. for longer months. I promise we'll allow them to have some tokens when we go. Maybe even a lot of them.


  1. Cool passport system! I'd love to hear more about your homeschooling stuff. I have a couple friends in the area doing k12 and they don't really like it so far (only a week into it though). Anyway, your kids are so cute!

  2. I'm hoping to do more homeschool posts this year. It took us about 4 years to figure out a good system for us, but it's always changing. I loosely base my philosophy and curriculum on Thomas Jefferson Education It's based on the Classics and is very flexible. It has a strong emphasis on PLAY in the years 0-8, which I love. I don't know much about k12. I don't like being tied to a specific curriculum. I'll keep you posted!:)