November 29, 2015 posted by littlewhitecottage

The little shop of fun… (A home education blog learning about money)

This week in maths we will be learning all about money. I’ve noticed that Henry has some large gaps in his knowledge with quite a few things we’ve decided to take the learning outcomes from the numeracy strategy and work through them from year 1 (Henry is in Year 3). This will suit Henry better I believe as he will begin his learning from the starting point of at least knowing something about the subject we will be looking at. This works well with money.

I got some coins out and let the boys have a play with them. 7

It’s funny how money has this mysterious aura about it. Children love it. They want to collect it, put it in special places, hide it, spend it and even, in my family certainly, build with it. I knew Henry would like to work with money and, at first, he was very enthusiastic.

They could both confidently name all the coins and notes so we moved on to making a given amount using different coins.

Tobes could do this easily.


I got them to make 10p and then 17p. Tobes has a natural curiosity and once he gets his teeth into something he really wants to carry on. Currently he’s badgering to do more Geography and can’t wait to join Henry in being Home Educated which is happening in January.


Henry is a little less resilient. He’s disillusioned with learning as yes he finds it harder but he’s hesitant to try so he needs gentle support and time to get started but once he does he can really show us what he understands.

Here’s their work.

This is Tobes’ answer to ‘How many different ways can you find coins that make 17p?’


And here’s Henry’s answer.


I challenged him into finding ‘1 more solution than someone else I know could do…’

This is a gentle challenge that he knew referred to Tobes but he was motivated to have a go.

Tobes was able to count in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s easily so he was able to use the coins very independently counting and arriving at his answer by himself. Henry had much more of a problem. I believe that he is able to do more than he appears due to his stress at even approaching his work so I have the boys separate at the moment when doing Maths. Tobes needs to feel his success every bit as much as Henry needs to be supported. I also need to change my teaching method with Henry quickly when I see he isn’t able to express himself or he doesn’t understand.

I encouraged Henry to start counting with the larger coin (amount) first and then count on tapping each coin with his finger corresponding to his counting. This gave him a physical movement while pointing the the coin he was on so he didn’t’ lose what he was doing.

With personal reassurance from people that he knows love him I believe Henry will find himself again. Here he is with a smile on his face. Hubbie has his arm around him and they are talking about how Henry feels.


What I want for Henry is a much more playful, freer and above all fun approach to learning.

I’d seen a play shop in IKEA so I suggested that we all went out to buy one for the boys to have a play shop. They seemed very excited about this. In school Year 3’s wouldn’t be given the chance to learn through play as they would be sat behind a desk listening to a teacher talk. This works for some children but I believe an awful lot of other children need much more multi-sensory approach. It’s fun to play and I only wish this didn’t stop with small children.

We arrived in IKEA and I asked the boys to find price tags. IKEA is a bright and colourful place that my children love to be in so they were more than happy to go on a ‘price tag hunt.’ 


They noticed the different fonts…


We talked about how this 1 looked like a 7. We looked at the £ sign and saw how the £’s and p’s were separated by a decimal point. We also looked at how when you had just pence only a ‘p’ was used and when there was pounds and pence then just the £ sign was used.

We then looked to see who could find the most expensive item. This fired them up and there were eagerly looking at all the price tags!


They were cross that the £100 was crossed out!






Notice how Henry’s body language has totally changed and this shows how confident he can be. It’s lovely as a Mummy to see that he’s not always sad…

Tobes beat him with £229


Then Daddy cheated by looking up our sofa on the computer!



We then switched round and asked the boys to look for the cheapest thing they could find.

Henry found this price tag of £1.50


Then £1


The 50p!!


But there was much looking about to see if they could find anything less than 50p.


Then Tobes spotted the fabulous and winning price tag outside!!


Go Tobes!

When the boys went to bed I then got to build the shop we’d bought.

I’m not great with flat pack furniture and this was flat packed card so I knew it could go either way!


It filled the sitting room…


But I did it and I was very pleased with how it turned out.

The boys were so excited when they came down in the morning. Tobes made a sign for the shop (in the white frame) and Henry went off by himself and made some price labels. He found the paper and used the scissors by himself. He was motivated and didn’t need any help which was lovely to see.


Here’s his labels.


And here


They’ve gone off to rugby for this morning but they can’t wait to get back and play.

They are 6 and 8 and still very much want to play and if I can make as much maths as practical and fun as it can be then I think we’ll see Henry being happy to learn.

And if we have a happy Henry, who knows what he can do…



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