Do your kids cry when they don’t score 100% on tests or exercises that involve some kind of reward? My 9-year old spent 10 minutes on the couch today bawling, because he forgot the $-sign in three of his math-test answers, which in our family warrants a 0.
I don’t push my kids very hard, I don’t make a big deal out of these things; I just tell them to fix the mistakes and encourage them to believe that by thinking about it, they won’t make them again. I have started trying to use carrots and rewards to eliminate unnecessary mistakes in works that they deliver. E.g. once/week I’ll tell them, “If you make less than 3 mistakes on this math lesson and mixed practice, you only have to do the lesson practice tomorrow, and can skip the mixed practice.” This is what we tried today; since William forgot the $-sign in three answers, and made two other minor mistakes (similar – forgot the units), he doesn’t get the reward today, but gets to try again tomorrow. No biggie, right? Wrong! This whole incidence resulted in a complete meltdown.
We don’t learn for testing - in fact, we have probably done just a fraction of the testing other kids have done at their school - but I do want my boys to develop skills that will help them score well, when testing becomes necessary later on in life. Eliminating silly mistakes is a step in this direction. But how to motivate it without tears and disappointment? Or maybe learning to handle failure is part of the educational experience?
Later today, William had a grammar test on which he scored 49/50. It cheered him up a little, but then of course he spent quite some time fretting about his one mistake.