Thursday, September 30, 2021

Business 101 for Kids

 As I mentioned in my post "Diving into Another Homeschool Year", entrepreneurship and financial literacy are an important part of our homeschool learning experience. Children are never too young to learn how to make and manage money. Children are often excited about working and want to work, but we deny them the opportunities. I remember looking through the classifieds when I was about 12 years old and being crushed by the fact that I could not work. I begged my dad to walk me down the street to the neighbors with horses to see if they needed help mucking stalls (I was willing to do anything to be around horses). I was denied - too young they said. I also was never taught how to manage money, or at least not how to be responsible with money. So I learned my financial "wisdom" from credit card companies - swipe this enough times that you cannot afford to pay it off and remain a slave to the lender. A few years into marriage we found ourselves maxed out on all our credit cards and having way too many money fights. Thankfully, our sister-in-law introduced us to Dave Ramsey, and we determined then that we wanted to do better for our children. 



One snide comment we often receive is, "Haven't you heard of child labor laws?" Please, listen carefully. Child labor and exploitation is WRONG and we one hundred percent are against it. Child labor and exploitation by definition "deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially, and morally harmful." (Wikipedia) Teaching your child to think, create, and use their God-given abilities is just the opposite of this. We want to enrich their childhood, enhance and personalize their education, and lift them up mentally, physically, socially, and morally. We want to teach them problem solving, goal setting, creativity, financial literacy, delayed gratification, and so much more!



Our children have come up with several creative business ideas throughout the years, but when the opportunity presented itself for them to have a kid run booth at Quitman Fest, we decided to take a break from our usual study and dive into a two week Business intensive unit study. I could not find a workbook to use to guide us through our business study, so I created our own. My Business 101 for Kids workbook guided them through the why of having a business, how to do a SWOT analysis to come up with business ideas, marketing and promoting, setting prices, goal setting, and more. 



In the workbook they actually do a SWOT analysis three different times. A SWOT analysis has you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Our older girls (6th and 7th grade) really enjoyed this part and found it helpful in coming up with some new business ideas for both the vendor event and future business endeavors. Based on their SWOT analysis, all of our school-aged children came up with a product idea to make and sell. Coming up with business ideas can be the most difficult part of starting a business, so here is a look at some of the ideas our children came up with. You can also check their Etsy page. Perhaps they will inspire your little ones.



Our first grader decided to make fire starters using recycled material. He has helped me make these in the past for our personal use, and he noticed that we had a good size pile of egg cartons, a bag of old candles, and a bucket of dyer lint collecting in the laundry room. 



Our second grader had recently received some paracord and a book on paracord projects for his birthday. He decided to practice some new knots and make some keychains and bracelets to sell.


Our fourth grader loves working with his hands. He had wanted to make some toys and birdhouses using some scrap wood, but my husband has been wanting to teach him leather making and encouraged him to make knife sheaths and gun holsters. He was hesitant at first, but once he got going he loved his new project and spending the extra time with his dad. The finished projects were gorgeous and he already invested his earnings into more leather to try to expand his skills and products.



Our sixth grader is our artist. We encouraged her several months ago to come up with ideas to turn her artwork into something useful. It was then that she started printing her drawings on notecards, and has been very successful with that. So her project was more on expanding her present business idea. She created a set of Birthday cards and is working on a set of Christmas cards.



Our seventh grader is our girly girl who loves to craft. We grew some loofah in our garden this year, so she decided to make some loofah soaps. She also made up some different bath salts and sewed scrunchies. She described her part of the vendor table as "everything you need for a perfect at home spa day."



Teaching entrepreneurship in your homeschool classroom certainly breaks the stigma that homeschoolers are unsocialized. In one day alone they were able to capture the attention of and speak with a couple hundred people. We teach them the FORM method of communicating with others. The FORM method is simply striking up a conversation with someone by asking them questions about their Family, Occupation, or Recreation and then using the information you gathered to deliver your Message. Our daughter once used this method to sell bath salts to a man for his wife that he did not yet have! 

If you would like to teach Business 101 to your children or students, the workbook is available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. The workbook covers FORM Communication method, SWOT analysis, goal setting, basic business plans, cost analysis, and more. I cannot wait to see the business ideas your children come up with! Be sure to follow and tag us on Instagram @Pocketful_of_Treasures.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Bangladesh Geography and Culture Homeschool Unit Study



“Nomoskar” from Bangladesh. We begin all of our countries with a brief tour in our “Passport to the World” book and questions from Masterbook’s Elementary Geography and Cultures workbook.  


The children each made the country’s flag and located the country on the map.



On the back of each country’s flag I have the children draw something that reminds them of the country. Here, one of our girls decided to draw a rickshaw.

I chose three books to guide our study through Bangladesh. I knew that I wanted to incorporate a study on the Bengal tigers, so first up was Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins. The book not only gives a lot of incidental information on tigers, the Sunderbans, geography, weather, and culture, but also encourages readers to always do the right thing. 



The Sunderban Tiger Reserve is a real place and has some excellent articles on the Sunderbans and tigers on their blog. We used Art for Kid's YouTube video to draw a Bengal Tiger Head.



One of the things that helped Neel, the main character of Tiger Boy, find the missing Tiger Cub was his ability to draw a map of the area and recall details of the island. We did a little test to see how much we could recall about our neighborhood by drawing a map of our area from memory.


The moral theme of integrity is woven strongly throughout the book. Neel's Father said, "Many things are worth more than money." Our older children used that line as the opening line to an essay, where they wrote about what in life is worth more than money. You can purchase my Writing Around the World worksheets for Bangladesh, which teaches how to write a five paragraph essay, from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. It also includes alternate activities for little learners that may not be quite ready for writing an entire essay yet (or even writing at all!). 



Yasmin's Hammer by Ann Malaspina is a motivating tale on overcoming adversity and working towards a goal. It is set on the noisy streets of Dhaka and shows city life in Bangladesh. Yasmin longs to go to school and learn to read, but instead she must work to help provide for her family. She begins working extra hard at the brickyard and earns up enough extra coins to get a book. When she brings it home, the family realizes that none of them can read and the parents determine to work extra hard so their daughters can go to school. Her father takes on extra rickshaw routes and her mom weaves baskets, which brought us to our next project. After exploring some how to videos on YouTube, we attempted to weave a grass basket. The girls quickly realized what hard work this was and how hard is is on your hands.



Rickshaw Girl, another book by Mitali Perkins, captures the culture of Bangladesh and addresses gender inequalities. Naima's talent for drawning alpanas helps her save her mother's golden bangle and fix her father's rickshaw. We drew some alpana like designs on paper.



We then made a rice paste to attempt to draw some alpanas on the asphalt. This, we discovered, was quite difficult to do!




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Friday, September 3, 2021

Armenia Geography and Cultures Unit Study




We said “sayonara” to Japan and “parev” to Armenia. We started with our readings about Armenia from Children’s Atlas of God’s World and Passport to the World and answered the questions in MasterBooks’ Elementary Geography and Cultures workbook. We found Armenia on our map and each made an Armenian flag out of construction paper.



I found a free Google presentation on Teacher Pay Teachers that had embedded videos showing an overview of Armenian culture. From it we learned that all students in Armenia take Chess, so naturally we had to break out the chess boards and play some chess.



We also decided that we wanted to make some Lavash bread, or something as close to it as we could being that we are gluten free. A google search led me to Unicorns in the Kitchen's Easy Lavash Bread Recipe. I substituted Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour, and even though it did not rise as much as regular flour, I think the recipe worked quite well. 



We then brushed the Lavash with some olive oil and garlic, added some cheese and tomatoes, and baked it for our own Armenian inspired pizza lunch. It was a huge hit with the kiddos.



We read two Armenian folktales with great lessons. Once There Was and Was Not is a great story warning against envy and encouraging sharing, hard work, and reaping what you sow. 



If your kiddos are complaining about why they have to do school, a Weave of Words holds the answer. It is a tale of a lazy prince that learns to read, write, and weave. In doing so he not only wins love but it also saves his life. 



Inspired by the illustrations in the book and other examples of classic Armenian illustrated letters, the children illustrated their initials.



I did not want to leave Armenia without studying the Armenian Genocide. As much as we would like to hide some of the monstrosities of the past, I believe it is important to study and discuss the past with our children. I chose the book Forgotten Fire by Adam Bagdasarian as a family read aloud to base our discussions of this time period off of. It is the story of Vahan Kenderian, a wealthy Armenian boy who grew up living a life of privilege until 1915 when everything is stripped from him. I often choose historical novels that are written through the eyes of a child, because I feel like it gives a more relatable experience. The Armenian genocide was a horrific time period. Adversity can either consume a person or make them stronger. Against all odds and with an incredible strength and will, Vahan survives and is stronger (like steel as he says). The recommended reading age for this book is 14-17, which is typically the age group I choose from when deciding on historical novels to read aloud to the entire family. However, you should know that this book is graphic and descriptive when describing the horrors Vahan and his family faced, so discretion is advised. There were some paragraphs that I chose to summarize as "she/he was assaulted" when reading it aloud to our children. I reminded our children as we read to "look for the helpers" (as Mr. Rogers would say) and to be mindful of the blessings. 

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