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One of the biggest challenges you might face as a parent is getting your children to behave. This can be particularly difficult in a homeschool environment, where your child is not only expected to follow your home-based rules but also meet certain learning expectations. Here is how parents can use positive reinforcement and reward systems to help children stay on track under these circumstances. 

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement is a concept attributed to psychologist B.F. Skinner, who developed the Operant Conditioning theory. According to this theory, behavior that follows good consequences is more likely to be repeated. One of these consequences is positive reinforcement, which is a type of reward for performing a desired behavior. 

There are several benefits of using positive reinforcement in homeschooling. These include:

  • More confidence from your child as they learn which behaviors are encouraged and considered “good”
  • More engagement from your child as they pursue various reward systems
  • More positive learning environments that focus on the behaviors and milestones you want to encourage
  • More connection with your child as you focus on their learning progress and behaviors

Using Positive Reinforcement and Reward Systems in Homeschooling

There may be a time and place for punishment if something goes terribly wrong. However, positive reinforcement has proven to be a winning strategy for many parents. Here are some examples of ways you can use positive reinforcement and reward systems in homeschooling. 

1. Verbal Reinforcement

You can start by letting your child know they are doing a “great job” when they exhibit good behavior or complete an assignment. Just as effective, you can give them a high five or other simple reinforcements to let them know you’re paying attention. 

2. Sticker Charts

For your visual child, consider making a sticker chart to track the positive things they do each day. For example, when they perform a desired behavior, a sticker can go on the chart. As your child masters or improves certain behaviors, you can redirect this strategy to reward another desired behavior you’d like to see them learn. 

3. Marble Jar

Put a jar in an area where your child can see it while they are working. When it’s time for positive reinforcement, a marble (or something else) goes in the jar. Your child gets some type of reward when the jar gets full. 

4. Special Experiences

Many children respond to positive reinforcement when they get rewards like special experiences. Some examples you can offer include going to the movies, visiting a local park or historic site, or attending an event like a concert or sports game. 

5. Special Privileges

Sometimes, you can motivate your student by offering them special privileges as incentives. These are things they normally wouldn’t get to do, such as staying up later than usual, having a sleepover with a friend, or getting extra screen time. 

6. Special Jobs

Children love to interact with and work on projects with their parents. You can reward your child by letting them help you with a fun task like cooking or going on a one-on-one excursion together. 

Get the Support You Need With Homeschooling in South Carolina

While it’s important that you establish some positive reinforcement and reward systems with your homeschooler, you don’t have to handle everything on your own. If you’re homeschooling in South Carolina, there is more support available than you might think. 

Since 1990, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) has been supporting homeschooling parents and their children with curriculum assistance, academic programs, bookstore discounts, online reporting, and much more. Contact us today to learn more about SCAIHS membership