Friday, April 10, 2009

m&m's, Marbles, and Toxic Morons

Let's start with the toxic morons.

We've had a little too much sibling name calling at our house. That explains the m&m's and marbles, too, but one thing at a time.

Caboose was being ornery to Chatty the other day when they were putting their shoes on right before leaving the house, still forgetting that he wants her children to take care of him someday so he doesn't have to go to a nursing home because he's never getting married. There was some bickering, and eventually his comment was 'because I'm amazing.'

Chatty proceeded to say that he was an oxymoron, probably meaning to say that the comment was, but oh, well, whatever. Caboose came running to his dad, "Dad, Chatty just called me a Toxic Moron!"

Several months ago I read someone's idea about using little Ball jars and marbles (or nickels or something) as a behavior tool. I think it was on a WFMW post, but I can't remember exactly how they used it, and I've been trying to figure out how it would work best for us.

Well, the other day all six of us were in the van. Hubby and I were talking to the kids about using 'ma'am' and 'sir' with 'yes' and 'no' because they have gotten out of that habit. One of the kids brought up how I used to give them an m&m every time they would say 'yes, ma'am' and 'no, ma'am' during the day without prompting for a while just to get them in the habit. All of this brought up a long m&m discussion and some creative juices flowing between me and Hubby.

First, he said that they would have to research to find out how many m&m's were in a bag, then when they did that many good things, determined by us of course, then they could have the bag. I suggested that we implement this with the marble jars, having equal numbers of marbles to the m&m's per bag. Hubby thought that was an excellent idea.

Well, homeschoolers can turn anything into a project. The kids couldn't find any definite answers on the internet on m&m's per bag, and neither could I. So we bought four bags, the kids were happy with a freebie bag to start things off, and they got to do their first excel spreadsheet.

First they had to count the number of m&m's in their individual bags by color, and then total the number of m&m's in their bag.

Then they added up the total from all four bags and divided by four to get an average, because each bag did not have an equal number.

I found a tutorial on to help the kids with the tables. I know how to use excel, but I wanted them to work together without me being all teachy and bossy. I just hung close by.

Caboose read the information off to the other kids to input for the spreadsheet.

This is a little boy who cannot stand still because he is so bored waiting to go eat that bag of m&m's waiting for him downstairs on the table.

Here are the results of my kids' four bags of m&m's.

In total...

...and by color.

The average was 54 and 1/2. We rounded down to 54.

So now for the marbles. First, aren't they pretty?

Each child has one color. The front, middle jar with the darker blue marble is mine and is called the 'Mom marble.' As pretty as they are, you don't want those.

So here's how it works. You want to empty your jar into the large one in the back, including any Mom marbles you might have gotten. When your jar is empty, you get a bag of m&m's.

How do you remove marbles? By saying yes, ma'am, no, sir, being polite, coming when called the first time, not yelling, helping without being asked, not complaining, doing normal things that are expected of you (brushing teeth, washing face) without being told, clearing your dishes from the table, etc. Can you tell manners have become a little issue for us?

Things that make you lose your marbles...calling your siblings names, hitting, yelling, not doing things within a reasonable amount of time when you didn't do it right away, complaining excessively, etc. There isn't a list, but you get the idea.

These are all things that we've dealt with on a regular basis and talked about numerous times with our kids. We've discussed Bible verses, and at times we've even had them write them down. It's time for a different tactic, and for now, this is what we are trying. We sure hope it works well.


Mari said...

The toxic moron story is really funny!
I like your M&M and marble idea and I also think you're pretty smart in getting a lesson out of the M&M's!

Betsy said...

I did laugh out loud at the 'toxic moron'...that Caboose!

The m&m strategy is a great one! I'd do just about anything for an m&m...especially if they were the peanut kind! :)

Lora said...

This is a great idea, Kayren!! I think I may have to try something like this. I have felt like nothing but a referee lately with my two and we are definitely working on the *obeying the first time asked* principle, among other things. Thanks for sharing!

Loved the *toxic moron* story, too:)

Have a blessed Easter!

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