Book Review: Earn It, Learn It
By Beth Balmanno
When it comes to chores and allowance, our family has tried just about every program under the sun.
Chore charts, the chore box, the no-chore approach…you name it, we probably gave it a go. Each new
idea was met with enthusiasm and the kids and I would go gang-busters. For about a month. And
then the chores would build and the allowances wouldn’t get paid and we’d end up with some seriously
grumpy kids and mama.
So when I received a review copy of Alisa Weinstein’s book Earn It, Learn It, I figured – what did I have to lose?
As it turns out, nothing. Weinstein’s approach is a fun and engaging way to introduce kids to jobs that
are meaningful and to the true value of money and a job well done.
An Alternative Route to Kids Allowance
How does Weinstein accomplish this, especially when so many other programs fail? The Earn My
Keep program does not focus on household chores and responsibilities as a means to earn an
allowance. Instead, kids are given “careers” for a set period of time – usually a week – with
assignments, deadlines, etc. If they complete the tasks for their career, they earn a salary, just like in
the real world. Sample careers include: archaeologist, costume designer, event planner, geologist, land
surveyor, travel agent and more.
Most of the tasks are fun and educational, tasks kids will be begging to complete. For example, jobs
associated with the Travel Agent career include: making a brochure to promote your home (Casa A La
your last name), exchanging currency at a bank, and planning an extravagant trip to a dream location.
Some tasks are more difficult or time-consuming than others, thus assuring older kids can still take part
and be challenged and engaged.
The Important Lessons about Money
I know what you’re thinking. How does this relate to getting your kid’s bed made and the trash taken
out? By introducing kids to the concept of careers, they can begin to learn about things such as work
ethic, budgeting time, and the inherent value of money. Parents can also use these careers as a prime
example of what happens in their own lives. They go to work (one or both parents) and this is where
they receive their salary. Then they come home and work some more, not because someone pays them
but because they are responsible, contributing members of the family. With kids being paid for their
own careers, the household chores needing to be done take on new meaning.
Also see Beth’s review of Challenging Assumptions in Education
I’m the first to admit that I want my kids to unload the dishwasher and clean the cat boxes and help put
away the groceries. But I also want them to do these things because they should, not because they’re
going to be paid for it. By shifting the focus of their allowance to something else – to “careers” that
have been hand-picked and tailored to suit their needs and abilities – I feel like we all get the best of
Our family is on board with the Earn It, Learn It approach. The first career choice: Outdoor Adventure
Guide. I can’t wait to see what the new recruits come up with for making a homemade trail mix recipe
and planning a (pretend) hiking adventure to the Outback in Australia!
YOU can win a copy of Earn It, Learn It in Parent at the Helm’s September Book Giveaway! Just register before the 9/30/11 deadline.