The Price of Learning

Living is the art of getting used to what we didn’t expect.” – Eleanor C. Wood

The other day my friend Katie asked Miss O what she’s been learning in second grade. Miss O said that she’s been learning a lot about coins. Not only the value of each one but adding them up – they are doing a lot of math using coins.

This reminded me of the experiment I tried with Miss O based on a beautiful post written by Chaya Sheela. In the post, When my children were rewarded with the Westminster family, she recounted how her kids learned to save and the bank awarded them with new ceramic pig figurines. Chaya is an experienced and talented teacher as well as beautiful writer so she inspired me to try something new with my kids.

Drawing from her wonderful story, I thought I’d try to create a similar lesson for Miss O about making buying decisions when we went clothes shopping. At the store I told her she had $100 for buying the clothes and shoes she needed. Anything that she didn’t spend of that money was hers to keep and save. My estimate was that she’d spend about $45 on a good pair of sneakers and $45 on clothes and have about $10 left over.

We went through the clothing and it worked. After we calculated the prices out, instead of buying six items, two of which were very similar to things she already had, Miss O decided to buy only four. It reduced the total to about $30 instead of $45.

But then we looked and looked for a pair of sneakers that would fit her narrow foot. And with all the choices, we never found a pair that was just right. I loved that she was being responsible about finding a pair of shoes that would really work and last for the year.

But it meant when we went through checkout and she paid for everything, she pocketed $70. I reminded her many times that she’d have to use that money to buy sneakers when we found a good pair that fit.

Eventually we went to multiple stores, found the right pair and she used the money to pay for them. But she’s been telling people that she pays for her own shoes even since. 😊

So I’d say she’s doing fine in the money and math department. If that’s all they teach in second grade she’s going to do fine and I’m grateful that it’s the school teaching, not me.

However, Mr. D swallowed a penny yesterday so it seems like we are all learning about coins, one way or another.


57 thoughts on “The Price of Learning

  1. Oh my, I hope Mr. D is okay!! But I was smiling big at Ms. O telling people she buys her own shoes now. That’s the cutest thing. 🥰 You’ve given her a sense of pride in negotiating and being wise in her shopping/spending. 🤍
    P. S. I need to take a lesson from Miss O. 🥴

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I told Mr. D’s preschool teacher that he swallowed a penny and she said that’s the 4th one in the class she’s heard of this year. Apparently this isn’t rare. 🙂

      Thank you for your delightful comment! I need a lesson from Miss O too!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, Wynne…is it fair to say ‘ditto’ to what Kendra, Art, Dr. Stein and Deb have already said? I agree with all of their comments. 😉 Great job, Miss “O” and darling “D”….sweet dude, what did you DO? Somehow the ‘swallowing a penny’ thing seems to be a rite of passage in childhood. Hope he’s feeling okay, given his unusual copper deposit in his tummy! xo! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Vicki! Yes, Mr. D seems to be fine. I told his preschool teacher and she said that’s the 4th one in the class she’s heard of this year. You’re right – it’s a rite of “passage.” 😉 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is great. Your daughter has a head for figures and an understanding of quality. Those two abilities alone make her more mature than some 40 year olds I know. As for narrow feet, I have them too. It’s been a lifelong burden to find shoes that fit– and have a bit of style to them. My sympathies.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right, Ally, Miss O is doing fine in those areas — sometimes better than me when I just buy the most available thing. Sorry to hear about the narrow feet – it is a tough one!


  4. You guys crack me up! Miss O declaring she buys her own shoes now! Don’t let anyone teach her about gambling, or she’s going to take the phrase “Come on, mama needs a new pair of shoes!” too seriously! Mr. D swallowing a coin, he may be a foodie in the making, adventurously tasting different things! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like Ms. O is up on her big dollar consumer finances, while Mr. D has his chump change ‘consumable’ finances down . . . this from an ole ragamuffin who once swallowed 6 carpet tacks as a toddler 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful post with a twist in the tale! Haha.
    Miss O is a fast learner. I am so happy that… “She is doing fine in the money and math department.”
    May she continue to thrive in second grade. (My favorite grade to teach).
    Thank you, Wynne, for linking my post and for your kind words about me.
    I am grateful to have you as my friend and to learn from your insightful, humorous and beautiful posts.
    Have a great weekend with the little ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice story with a lesson, and perhaps Miss O should run her own class for the neighborhood kids. She could start her own little business and make extra, and more children would grow up knowing about money and how to be responsible with it. (IMHO there are too many people sitting back waiting for handouts these days – it is encouraged in society – when they could and should be working their way through life.) Anyway, Miss O is very cute.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great life lesson, and I am so happy that she did not settle on shoes, but had the patience to wait until she found her perfect pair. You are doing an amazing job parenting, and doling out the life lessons.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful way for hands on learning, Wynne. Good job Miss O!

    And Mr D is getting a great lesson in the digestive system. Have you fished it out of the toilet yet? 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh gosh, you reminded me of something long forgotten! When my granddaughters were little, I’d take each one to the mall for lunch on her birthday and hand over money to spend on whatever they wanted. It was fascinating to watch how each one reacted—surprisingly, they all became introspective and responsible, giving great thought and consideration to what they wanted, and weighing options about how to spend their windfall. One of them told me it was the best present she’d ever received. It was the best gift I’d ever given. What a great lesson—for all of us. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a lovely present and ritual with your granddaughters! I can imagine you are the best grandparent at all stages of life. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Julia!


  11. I didn’t make any choices when I was growing up, somehow that also floated over into what clothing or shoes I would wear – my mother seemed to have arrangements with stores, and I just wore what was bought, we lived in rural New Zealand. But I did grow up understand financial side of life…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing!!.. Miss O is a good example of the words from a song by Louie Armstrong (It’s A Wonderful World) ;
    “I hear babies cry
    I watch them grow
    They’ll learn much more
    Than I’ll never know”

    And a song by charlie Daniels about Little Folk (children)…. 🙂

    Little folks are people too
    Very much like me and you
    The little things they say and do
    They kinda make your day

    Foolishness and common sense
    Through the eyes of innocence
    Skip a rope or jump a fence
    Gettin’ in the way

    Daddy, why are you so tall?
    Daddy, why am I so small?
    Daddy, who makes snowflakes fall?
    Could it be the Lord?

    Chasing puppies, climbin’ trees
    Bumping heads and skinnin’ knees
    It’s not very hard to see
    That kids are God’s reward

    Little folks get down and out
    The girls will cry and boys will pout
    Before you know what it’s about
    They’re smiling once again

    Colored kites on summer breeze
    Jingle Bells and Christmas trees
    Too soon they’re only memories
    Do you remember when?

    Daddy, what makes eagles fly?
    What makes clouds float in the sky?
    And Daddy, if I really try
    Will I grow up someday?

    But little folks slip through our hands
    Like so many grains of sand
    You’d best enjoy them while you can
    So soon they fly away…

    One day she will be asking for the keys to the car… 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Hope yours is a wonderful world and until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fantastic story! I’m soooo grateful to my father for teaching me about money early on. I actually LOVE finances and money and see it as an alternate career path if things in this one don’t work out 🤣 And even when he taught me so many things, I still didn’t really learn the value of money until I had absolutely none, and when in 2008, he didn’t either, and I knew I couldn’t rely on him for help. That’s when I really learned it was up to me to make changes, and I did! I have so many friends whose parents never taught them about money and they are sooooo clueless! So it’s so good to start children early I think, and to get females comfortable about talking about, learning about, and dealing with money in an empowered way! Yay!! 💸💸💸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such an amazing point to get women talking about it. And wow, I love how you frame the lesson of 2008 with an attitude of learning.

      I suspect you’d be good at anything you put your mind to, Libby. But I also think you are right where you need to be. Still, always good to have a backup career in mind… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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