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BRAINSAREFUN FEARLESS FRIDAY BLOG – Bright Futures With Reading, Math and Study-Skills – Friday September 19, 2014


The following email from Lisa provides some great insight:

Dear Brainsarefun, He signed the contract earlier this morning. We made a few revisions after a practice run last week. He made $8.00 last week and he's thrilled to death! (Says he's going to buy a wallet.) Using the skills I learned at Brainsarefun has made a huge difference already. I feel I need to give him points for things beyond what which you mentioned. 

First, I want a reward system to encourage reading during free time and less T.V. , etc. Second, he has developed a weight problem, so I want to encourage more exercise and less T.V. Plus, I have 2 other kids who want to make $$$ now. Just this simple contract has changed his whole attitude. (You'd never know it's the same boy.) He's very motivated (so far). He really likes having a structured schedule too.

Thanks for everything! Lisa

Rory's reply:

Dear Lisa, Let's begin by being clear about the behavior you want your son to change. While contracts can help change all kinds of behavior, Brainsarefun focuses on academic success. I want these kids to continue their educations and hold jobs with a future.

As you know, I like to count and graph the 3 critical behaviors associated with academic success: starting on time, staying on task, completing assignments. 

Brainsarefun does not focus on changing other behaviors and warns against throwing in the kitchen sink. I know. I know. Parents and teachers have so much success with these contracts and agreements that suddenly they’re seen as the cure-all "for all that ails ya."

It’s my experience that you will achieve the most by making it simple and focusing on academics for the time being (You can always add more in a month or two) if you want. Set everyone up for success by keeping it simple.

Keep the focus on the three behaviors associated with academic success (starting on time, staying on task, completing assignments).

  • What are your child's expenses and wants every week?
  • How much money should your child be able to earn every week?
  • How much television, computer and "borrow the car" time?
  • Keep track of points and rewards earned in a notebook

Reward your children for “earning” their points and eliminating all allowances.  Let them spend their wealth whenever and however you (the parent) define as moral. Don’t make the mistake of forcing them to save, that only proves to them that you’re still in control. It’s time for that ball to be thrown into their laps and for you to get out of the middle.

They’re in charge. When they’re broke, that’s good. Being broke is a great motivator and better now, when kids are young, that later in life when the consequences can be so much worse.

Finally. I know from personal experience with many kids, parents and teachers that contracts and agreements can be a lot of fun, contributing enormously to clear communication.

Never, ever, ever give up. And above all, Love!

Thanks Lisa, Rory

HOW DO YOU TEACH KIDS TO EARN FOR LIVING UP TO AGREEMENTS? Download easy-to-use examples and instructions here.

I began Brainsarefun to fill an enormous void. Far too many kids (and adults) were struggling with school (pre-school through college) because they never experienced enough success with reading, math and study-skills. They rarely got the chance to experience the satisfactiion of "earning."

To remedy kids believing they're "entitled" to free stuff I set out to teach them the greatest study-skills of all: how to start on time, stay on task and finish their assignments. This requires living up to agreements.

The place to start is always the same, "success."

Thanks for all you do to flood kids with reading, math and study-skill success,

Click here for sample contracts.

Rory Donaldson, Chief Brain, Success with reading, math and study-skills teacher, Brainsarefun. To save academic lives Brainsarefun's Fearless Friday Blog is published fearlessly every Friday, © 2012 – 2014 by Rory Donaldson,, 860-304-3178. Our kids really can do it!

Rory Donaldson

I flood kids with reading, math and study-skill success.