When our school year began a few weeks ago, Lauren was asked the same question every morning, "How much schoolwork do I have to do?" I had a rough schedule in my mind, but since I hadn't written it down, Lauren had no way of knowing that there was an end in sight.
Similarly, every afternoon, she would ask me, "Was I good today?" She wanted to know whether she could tell Tim that she had a good day, but she really didn't have a concept of what a good day entailed. Was it a good day when we finished all of her schoolwork? What if we finished her schoolwork but she intentionally sabotaged any efforts I made toward working with Addison and Brennan on schoolwork? What if our school day was perfect, but quiet rest time was anything but quiet or restful?
My solution to both of those issues was really quite simple. I found a way to clearly lay out my expectations and then had her keep track of how she was doing.
I started with making just a simple check-list for schoolwork. I listed every subject that we do on our longest days of school. When we have a short day, I simply excuse some of the assignments.
I then asked Lauren to help me think of things that she would need to do in order for it to be a good day. She came up with most of the items (including one that's going to be added when I reprint the chart). We decided that 6 or 7 items marked off on the list would be called a "good day" and completing all 8 items was a "perfect day."
For now, I've slipped Lauren's checklists into a plastic sheet protector, and she marks off her accomplishments with a dry erase marker. After we finish making some minor changes, I'll laminate a copy.
Sometimes my favorite part of finishing a chore is the satisfaction of marking an x in the box or scratching a line through an item on my to-do list. Apparently, just being able to keep track of everything makes a difference for Lauren, too.
I'm linking this post to Marcy's Blogging through the Alphabet challenge, and I can now mark "write blog post about x" off of my to-do list.