So far this year, we've been cruising along with our Math U See books. Both boys have finished with lesson 7, so I decided to start some 'other' math. I have MOTL and one of the things I wanted to start working on with them is counting money. Pooh, although 12, still has a terrible time with money. I just don't think he's especially motivated with it. So, we're going to be working on it for a little while, then I'll drop it, then we'll work on it again. That's how we do things with Pooh that are difficult for him. He needs breaks in between to process what he's learned. It seems to help when we get to his edge of understanding/ability, leave the subject, then come back to push it again later. It has worked with shoe tying, bike riding, speech and reading. I figure it should work with math too.
The first thing I did (a suggestion in MOTL) was about two months ago when I set up a box for each boy for their money. In it we have envelopes for them to put their money into. The envelopes are labeled as follows: Spending, Bank Savings, Donations, Gift Giving. I thought that was sufficient for my boys' ages and the amount of money they receive ($10 per month). If your children are older and/or receive more money, you may wish to add more envelopes. Some make an envelope for different expenses such as the care of a pet.
Their allowance isn't based on chores, it's just for being part of the family. (It saves me having to say no when they ask for things--they learn some money management--they can learn to buy gifts for others, etc, etc) However, they started to realize how long it was taking for them to earn money for things so we instituted some 'Work' they could do for extra pay. They can earn $1 for each wheelbarrow of pine needles they rake, pick up and take to a designated spot. The King paid them $5 each (a little much for my taste) to spend the afternoon helping shovel snow off the the driveway. A cool thing the King did with that was treat them as employees. Pooh, especially, have I been trying to make understand that certain behaviors and attitudes aren't acceptable for people in the real world. You can get fired. He ended up with two warnings while working with Dad and almost got fired. He stuck with it though and I guess it worked out between them because no one came in with an attitude problem. Some other chores we've worked out prices for are:
Pulling weeds-$2 for each wheelbarrow full
Poop patrol-.50 each bag full
Window cleaning-.25 for two windows
I'm sure we'll be adding to these over time. I'm trying to be careful that they don't expect to get paid for everything they do. I may still ask them to help me paint gates in the summer or whatever and that's just going to be part of the family chores. However, if they are ready to earn some extra money and are willing to do the job I assign, they will get paid.
Both of them tend to want to buy something on every field trip we participate in. I'm trying to teach them that they can wait and save up for the bigger items they like as opposed to the gratification of getting little things on a regular basis, but right now it's an uphill battle.
This week we've been actually working with change. I borrowed a book from the library called The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Williams. She very gradually takes them through the value of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, dollar coins and a one dollar bill. Through the photos and the actual coins I had (yes, I did have a half-dollar and dollar coins) we made change in various ways. We practiced counting by 5's and 10's. We counted to 100 with pennies. I think we took about 4 days to go through all the pages of the book. You could go slower, but we went through about 4-6 pages a day depending and I think it was an ok pace. It's interesting that Tigger is able to understand the value of money even at his age, so I have some hope that Pooh will pick up more on it this time. One of the things I tested was whether they could understand that 25 pennies and one quarter were the same. I asked them which was more by holding them in each hand. They both got confused so we counted it all out with a couple of different situations to try to make them understand better that you are trading coins as opposed to getting more/less money. We hopefully understand a bit more about working with change. LOL Tomorrow I'm hoping to put all that into practice by setting up a little store. The boys thought that was a cool idea! I hope it goes well.
Update: We tried the store thing and Pooh was freaking out trying to count the change all together. Sooooo, we've backed up and each day we've been just taking some change and practicing counting it up all together. I do some too that involves adding enough money that I have two or three dollars plus change. I think he's finally got the .25, .50, .75, 1.00 down! Whew!