Let’s get schooly for a moment. Not that I think spending your life comparing yourself to others is a great plan, but when you’re living alternatively, occasionally getting schooly has its benefits. It can help to validate one’s own choices, and help others to understand said choices, by speaking their language.

I come in peace. Take me to your readers.

Side note: I’m here all week.

Back to the point of our story! What I’d like to talk about today is the following:


Yes, that’s right–lemonade stands. Of course many children, from all kinds of educational backgrounds, engage in this time-honoured tradition. They also engage in nearly all the activities that my children do. The difference being that I would argue a child doesn’t NEED any additional education–that it is at best a waste of time and at worst…many things.

Because have you ever considered how much “educational value” is in something like a lemonade stand? This photograph is from just yesterday, so the elements that brought it together are fresh in my mind. Let’s run through them together:

– entrepreneurship: coming up with a business plan and executing it
– construction and creativity: E helped her dad cut and assemble the elements of the stand. She painted the signs; she drilled holes in the tree.
– spelling and literacy: as I said, E wrote all the signs. Just this year she got on the lower case letter train, so it still fills me with joy seeing her write things that way.
– marketing: As well as the stand, the kids made signs to post down the road and around the corner. Their dad explained from his experience ballooning why offering “pay what you can” is not only more democratic (for the cute kids with only a nickel), but actually more profitable. E also spent some time devising a jingle and experimenting with everything from your standard shouting to live action commercials to advertise her business to those within earshot.
– economics: I guess I’m a mean parent, because E didn’t have the capital to fund her venture, so I fronted her–but I made her pay me back. I did offer a deal where she could pay me back at a rate of 50% of her earnings until the full $5 was reached. Lucky for her, she made $9 so she decided to pay it all back upfront. The rest she divided between herself and her brothers, one of which frankly overpaid for product (the six year old, L, gave her $2 of his puny income for a lollipop and a drink of the same lemonade that we could make for ourselves for FREE anytime), and the other, G, who helped at the store.
– team work: E and G worked out a system where they took shifts, using a phone timer, of ten minutes each working the stand.
– interpersonal skills: dealing with adult customers like little pros!
– patience and perseverance: seriously, three hours sitting around for three customers! But as we discussed, the other option was not sitting around and making no money.
– math: adding and counting coins, and in the end subtracting $5 and dividing the rest between three kids.
– money management: E decided to put her earnings into savings. I think she’s come up with some kind of system where her allowance is her spending money and everything else is savings. Don’t know how long term that “savings” is, but anyway it’s a good habit to start!

So you see, a great day in Unschool. And if one were to make these types of lists for all the activities children are wont to do, they would soon discover that nearly every day is a great day in Unschool!

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