Friday, May 31, 2013

The Points system, and Finger Chores

I had my baby in his car seat in one arm, and 3 little girls to usher to the van, to get my daughter to school. Keys in the other hand, and my back holding our storm door open. To get the front door closed so I could lock it, I would need to step up and put my whole body back in the doorway to even reach the door, and then try to squeeze back out, without letting the storm door slam shut on me in the process. So out of desperation to get one of my busy girls to help out, I said "Who ever wants a point, will you please get that door for me?" Suddenly to my surprise two of the older girls came running and fighting over who got to get the point! Did they know what it meant to get a point? Probably not, but it was like getting an invisible treat. :)
"Wow!" I thought, I may have just discovered a new trick! I tried it again later, telling my daughter who was torturing her 2 year old sister with mean words, that she just lost a point. "Sorry" came out of her mouth! Wow again!
Ya, this points system, whatever it was turning into at that moment, definitely needed some considering and refining. :)

We have been using the points system since, and I have been fixing up the official rules over time. It has been working miracles, and I am a happy, happy mom! I finally got a piece of poster board, and laid it all out.

Here is a picture of what I came up with.

I apologize for spelling the word privileges wrong on this poster.

In this blog post Here by me, I explained how we were doing finger chores. I still love them, because they are so easy to remember, and it puts chores into the "fun" category.

On the hand charts, each child has a velcro piece with their initial on it, for each chore, on each finger. When they complete that finger chore, they move the velcro piece over to the other hand, for when it comes time to do those chores.

EXAMPLE: Its morning time. Adria gets her hair brushed, so she can move the velcro piece on the pinky for "brush your hair", over to the night time chore hand.

At night, while they do their night time chores, they move the velcro pieces back to the morning hand for the next day.

On to the points system. 

Each box in the columns underneath their name represent a point. They each have a push pin, that they move up and down during the day when they lose points or get points.

The black C box, represents their finger chores. They can not have any points above the black line in the morning until their morning finger chores are done. Once they have their morning chores done, they can have all the privileges listed above the black line, except those with a * next to them.

The privileges with the * next to them, can only be obtained if they have extra points above the C box.

Throughout the day they lose and earn points. They can only gain extra points, once their finger chores are done.

How do they Lose points:

Points are taken away for actions such as, not listening to mom, not obeying mom 1st thing, fighting or arguing with a sibling, back talking to Mom or Dad, using a privilege before its earned, Breaking the 10 commandments, you know.....stuff like that. :)

When they lose points and end up under the black line, they have to do an extra chore to earn it back. Sometimes, this chore is just simply saying sorry, and doing something nice for someone else, if the reason they lost the point, had to do with wronging someone else.

How do they earn points?

They must first complete their morning finger chores, before they can earn any points.
Extra points above the C, are given out, when they are caught in the act of good service and good doings. They can do chores for extra points, show good behavior, and things like that.

After dinner each night, I move everybody back to under the C box, for night time chores. The faster they complete their night time chores, the more privileges they have before bed, such as watching a movie or show before bed, having a snack before bed, library time before bed (believe it or not, that is a huge one lately), or computer time before bed. They have to have their night time chores done by 8:30 pm, for bed time. 

What are the finger chores:
The morning finger chores are, get dressed, make your bed, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and do a toy sweep through the house (go through each room in the house and make sure all of your stuff is out of them and put away.)
The night time finger chores are, take a shower, get into jammies, brush hair, brush teeth, and pick up 10 toys in your room. 

I hope this all makes sense!
It has been working so great lately! Even my almost 3 year old loves moving over her velcro for getting her chores done. My 5 year old, who is my most difficult lately, has responded greatly to it all. There has also been less yelling, and less of a power struggle from me too. My kids have been listening pretty greatly, and they are getting a long sooo much better!

You can change up your rules how ever you want, but this is a basic idea that you can use. 
Feel free to leave comments and share your ideas, and if you have questions on how it works, ask away!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Learning the violin!

I am sooo excited! A few months ago, I decided to buy a violin. I have wanted to learn to play one since I was little, and just never did. I fell in love with singing "Amazing Grace", and could picture myself whipping it out on the violin too, even though the only clue I had about playing one, was that the bow goes back and forth. :)
I searched for a good deal on a used violin, and didn't really find anything, and so I searched Ebay after that. I found a source that sells Mendini violins in different colors for $55! They had a white one, that I fell in love with, so I took a chance on buying it. It came with rosin, a bow, a case, some extra strings and parts, and a metranome/tuner. I bought the 3/4 size according to a chart I found online to help me figure out what my arm length would be most comfortable with. I also bought a little fingering guide, to help me know where to put my fingers for the different notes. 
When I got my violin, I was clueless. I knew the rosin needed to be put on the horse hair, but I didn't realize my bow wouldn't play anything, if there wasn't rosin put on first, lol. I learned through trial and error a little bit, how to set my violin up. 
My first sounds on the violin were pretty silent. Then I put the rosin on, and I could get a clear/un-tuned sound. 
I have searched the internet for free violin lessons, and found a couple of sites that I learned a few things from. Like how to tune my violin, proper posture and holding of the bow, and how much pressure to put on the strings. I also learned to never touch the horse hair on the bow, the rosin, or the strings on the violin where the horse hair would touch, to keep it from getting oils from my fingers on it. 
When I started learning a few things, I sounded horrible, lol! Then I went and visited my brother in law Brian, who has taught himself to play the fiddle. He helped me learn the basics of "Amazing Grace", and gave me a jump start in my confidence. I can not wait to see him again and play while he plays his! 
I have since gained confidence in playing amazing grace by memory, but I still didn't know the notes very well. 
I grew up playing the piano, flute, guitar, and harmonica. I also love to sing, so I do know the scales and things, but it has been so long, I have had to relearn them. 
I figured out where middle C is on the violin, and started to match up the notes from there. I was able to slowly and squeakily play Silent night after that. When I did that, finally, I started to remember what the letter notes are on the scales, and in church on Sunday, while we sang, I imagined myself playing the violin to the notes. 
I pulled out my violin tonight, and my progress shot ahead it felt like! I played a few different hymns, and kept up a good tempo, and learned to keep my notes together, and smooth. On, you can pull up sheet music for the hymns, and it will play piano music to it. I learned to play to "I know my Redeemer Lives", "Be still my soul", Abide, tis even tide", and my favorite "Nearer my God to Thee". I got so good, I started to memorize where each note was, and no longer looked at the sheet music while I played a long, and kept up with the tempo! 
My baby needed to go to sleep, so I had to stop. I can't wait to practice again tomorrow. I can't wait to get some lessons going from an instructor. The one thing I can't figure out so far, is how you get the notes to have vibrato. My hand doesn't want to work that way. 
Anyway, if I can figure out how to get a video posted on here sometime soon, I will be sure to show my progress. 
One of my biggest excitements, is when I will be able to play with my sister who plays the guitar and sings. It will be soooooo fun!!!