Quite often our neighbors can't come over to play because they are doing homework. And my daughter thinks that just isn't fair. "Why can't I have homework?" She asks. If something holds someone back from coming over to our estate, it must supersede it in the fun category. What is this magical thing called "homework" that rules others' lives, she wonders.
"I know math" declares my oldest. We were doing some "learnin", and every time I brought up a possible subject, he was suspicious. "Is that called learnin?" he asks.
Formal learning is not something we do too much with our kids. If they get interested in a subject we'll go to the library and get a few books about it, talk about it, maybe watch a youtube video or two about it. We learn by doing, by living. But sometimes they want to "do learnin". So we'll go over some writing, some math, some Jewish history or theology.
Over Chanukah, my kids got a good amount of Channukah gelt (which, contrary to popular opinion, is not a chocolate coin). Zusha, when getting his second dollar, looked it over, turned it around a couple time, "I, I, I, I, I, don't want any more monies" (this was during his stuttering phase). Mendel got a bit more and just gave them to me, didn't care too much. Chanaleh was a bit excited, counted her money, and promptly misplaced it (we found it later, after many tears). Zevi was over the top. He loved getting money, kept on comparing how much he got with how much the others ones did. Over the next couple of weeks we learned a lot about money. How change works, where money comes from (well, we tried talking about that, it's complicated), how to save, how to spend, what costs how, and how costs who, and most of all, how he could get more monies.
29 hours, 98,217 questions later, mostly asked during telephone conversations and late Friday afternoon, Estee and the two older kids decided to make an Orange Juice and Cookie stand. The kids made the OJ (fresh squeezed, it turns out there's a reason people sell lemonade, it's waaaaaay easier and cheaper), and made a large part of the cookies. We made some signs, put them up, set up our little stand, and waited.
We started late, on a chilly (for Southern California standards), afternoon. $.50 for a cookie, 5 for $2.00, $1.00 for a cup of orange juice. They learned how to make cookies, what goes into making money, how to talk maturely to adults, semi-complicated math ("How much could I get for $5.00", "If I want 6 cookies and 2 cups of orange juice, how much will that be", "$4.50? I have a $10, how much change do I get?"), tithing, and customer service.
During the hour and a half they were out there (we had to close shop when it got dark), they pulled in about $30 dollars (minus the 50 cents they gave to someone who needed some extra change for the bus). Which sounds pretty darn good for a chilly afternoon, though after coating the hour and a half of prep, 45 minutes of clean-up, and the cost of the ingredients, the hourly rate drops into the low twos. But I can see some serious income in the Summer…