My friend, Lisa, is a self-proclaimed “Education Nerd”. She commented on one of my travel posts and shared this idea for road trips:
She had her kids earn movies, treats, games, etc. by doing “scholastic tasks” worth points. I gathered she had an elaborate folder/point/card system where she allotted different points for different things.
I decided to try a modified, simpler version of this idea and tested it out on a shorter 4 hour trip. I bought “Tangled” (it was inevitable; might as well let the kids think they had to work for it) and put it in a gift bag.
I told the kids they could open the gift after they earned 200 points each. They earned points by completing pages in their educational workbooks (bought at Target dollar bins and Costco). Crew’s pages were 5 points each. He practiced writing his ABCs and his numbers. Croft worked on dot to dots and mazes. Elle’s pages were worth 10 points each because they were longer. She worked on multiplication tables. They passed the workbooks up to the front seat every once in awhile and grandma checked their work.
I grossly underestimated my children’s motivation and abilities. I had hoped for them to spend about 2 hours working and then the next 2 hours watching the movie. Well, they cranked out 200 points in about 30 minutes. I told them I was just learning and experimenting and asked if they would do 100 more points before they opened the gift. They consented and I got 15 more minutes. Next time I would make the pages worth less points or the total point goal higher.
I was surprised how focused, engaged and excited my kids were to do worksheets. This simple method worked really well for a shorter trip. I will look into Lisa’s more elaborate system for a future blog post. Thanks for the inspiration, Lisa.