Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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The Capitalism Unit

Because I had to drive home to pick up two things Skylar needed for school yesterday, I returned right as the kids were beginning their first day of shopping at the "mall." For five weeks they have been learning about business. They went to Krispy Kreme, which was great fun, Bank of America, which was boring as hell, and the Zoo which was totally awesome. They have also been learning about concepts like profit, expenses, and interest. While I wasn't so pleased with the phase of Skylar's engagement that led to her obsessing on collecting money, often from my dresser, I have to admit that the unit has taught her plenty of useful things. And it's only first and second-grade after all.

Anyway, yesterday was the first of two days in which all the children's efforts paid off. They had been making products, planning a business strategy, writing advertisements -- you name it. But the items they were selling -- for the made-up currency of their community, which they'd earned by doing homework and other tasks -- were so adorable that my normal antipathy to the mall experience was rapidly overrun with joy.

Here's a picture of the booth that Skylar helped to plan and run. They're selling rainsticks. That's Skylar's best friend in the black shirt, extracting the requisite "suns" -- their community is called "Sundown City" -- from her pouch full of earnings:

Skylar was slated to be a seller today. Yesterday she got to be a buyer. The girl loves to shop. Here she is checking out the "pillow pet" booth in the adjoining classroom -- the two classes do some things together -- which was one of her favorites. She went there early in her flâneurie.

There were also raffles and contests at the "mall." Skylar played the game where you're supposed to catch a fish with a hook for a magnet. She got one.

By the end of her whirlwind shopping trip --yes, Mr. Dimmesdale, I know that "whirlwind" is a cliché -- the Bean had a bag full of lovingly hand-crafted items. You can tell how much fun she was having:

I'd rather go to an alternative mall where people sell what they made themselves than wander through the perfume-laden piles of pointless imported merchandise at the conventional sort. Not having to use dollars is pretty sweet too. I guess I'll have to give the capitalism unit a grudging thumbs-up after all.
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