An Economic Lesson

When you unschool, you take your educational opportunities where you can find them, and usually they're everywhere. Sometimes they're lessons learned the semi-hard way.

This morning, Louisa (just turned 11) announced she WAS going to have a lemonade stand. We'd discussed this before--you have to get lemons or Koolaid, ice, cups and so on. "I'll ride down to the store, Mom, if you give me the money." So off she went.

She came back with pre-made foo-foo lemonade--$1 per 16 oz bottle--and expensive gluten-free cookies. A nice touch, but at $5/bag for about 40 cookies, not so economical. And she forgot the ice. Luckily we have some in the freezer downstairs. She spent all the money I had in my wallet--$15. *headdesk*

The lesson commenced. How much per serving was this going to cost? After a few demonstrations, we figured out that a serving would cost 25 cents if she were generous with the ice, and that she'd have to charge 50 cents to make a profit. Two small cookies would also be 50 cents retail.

And then, before I could stop or help her, she had the stand set up. Again, no ice, no cooler, no change, no water for herself, and no shade. I decided I'd just be late for my appointment, got a cooler and ice, made her get her parasol and her water bottle. She's out there bravely hawking her wares:

So far I think she's made four bucks, but school's not out and the evening bike commute hasn't commenced. She may fare better after four. Either way, she's learned more about supply, demand, retail/wholesale and measurements than she knew she was in for, and that's priceless.


Katie B. of's picture

I am constantly amazed at how natural learning becomes when children are unschooled. It's wonderful to see your daughter putting her intellect and passion into projects, Lynn!

Guest's picture

So many people just let kids rob the pantry for supplies and let them think that the investment in the stand is nothing. I hear, "I made $$$$" all the time but when questioned, the initial investment never came out of the profits. In my opinion THAT is not a learning experience. The kid still think that something comes from nothing.

Lynn's picture

Skin in the game or no can do.

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