Working for Rocks: Updated

So we’ve officially rebooted our Pebble Economy. The new charts are done, and we’ve been doing it for a week. It’s actually much the same as my bio kids and I did years ago, but prices have gone up and I’ve added definitions. Our job chart is now two pages, front and back, and is one of the most coveted pieces of paper in the household.

Pebble Job Chart

Again, the ultimate goal here is that the kids will just learn how to be responsible and do what needs to be done, without reward or punishment. My bio kids kind of grew out of this but kept doing their jobs. They stopped needing so much stuff, too. Can we pull that off as a blended family?

So far it’s been going fairly well, but we’ve run into these issues:

– I tried to go digital with the pebbles, because we have at least one kid who is quite prone to dishonesty, and having physical pebbles would make it easier to cheat. I didn’t trust them enough. But the physical pebbles do make it more “real” to the kids, so I’m going to toughen myself up and hope it goes well. Plus, ultimately I want to be able to trust them within reason (and surely this should be within reason). This will give them a chance to practice being trustworthy.

– Tracking digitally is tedious. Again, the solution seems to be to go with real pebbles again, and also give the kids their own laminated checklist to track the single-point stuff they do all day. They can report to me before they go to bed.

– One child didn’t like the idea of having to earn what was previously a priveledge, and sulked for several days before catching the vision. I encouraged and worked with her. That seems to be going better.

– Several kids have been leaving tasks half done, claiming they’ll finish later, but discouraging others from taking over because “Hey, I started the laundry. You can’t finish it and steal my points!” and thus it sits in the washer and rots. We’re going to have to figure that one out. Maybe it’s as simple as using a timer, but I don’t want to micromanage.

– Two kids aren’t quite groking the whole thing. Once again, I think physical pebbles will help. I’m going to use actual rocks this time, too. :-p

– Two kids felt a bit guilty about busting out chores before anyone else could, and then started just leaving them as opportunities. In a family of eight, this quickly results in piles of laundry and dishes. I’m thinking I liked it better when they’d just get it done & will go back to encouraging that next week, although I will say a certain two kids don’t get to earn pebbles when they should be focusing on homeschool.

– There are a lot of pebbles being lost over disrespectful behavior (tantrums, hollering at each other, etc.) I feel kind of bad taking them away, but I really do value peace in the home. Hopefully they’ll get the hang of it and start valuing peace as well.

– And, we’ve got one older kid who is aloof of the whole thing. I had previously told him that if he does not wish to participate in this fake economy, he’ll need to join the real one. He can get a job and pay for his own non-essentials, while contributing his household work like an adult… at least an hour a day, and he’ll do it for free.

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