The Value of a Roadside Stand for Homeschoolers
The past several years, my kiddos have asked to have a roadside stand, but we only had a small garden which was just enough for us and to share a little with neighbors. Well after years of asking, we decided it was a great year to expand our garden and give the kiddos an opportunity to set up a roadside stand. So, we went from a small 10 by 15 garden to two gardens, the original 10 by 15 plus a 20 by 40 garden, allowing for us to grow enough for the kiddos to sell some goods and begin some summer life learning.
We live in a small, rural town but have a good bit of traffic on the weekends of “out-of-towners” on their way to the lake or campgrounds, which provides for the perfect customer base. When we shared the kids would be having a stand, the family and community was beyond excited and eager to help. My parents made the kiddos a reclaimed and pallet stand with shelves and the works. Their one aunt has shared homemade earrings for them to sell. Our one neighbor shared eggs for the kiddos to sell, and they had an abundance of locals and others stop to support them.
Of course, being a homeschool family this has become a life lesson learning opportunity. For all the kiddos, they have learned the process of rototilling and turning the soil, planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting the goods. We even have learned the process of seed germination, hello science lessons galore (We utilize Gentle and Classical during the summer months and just happened to be on that science lesson at the perfect time: https://shopgentleclassical.com/products/preschool-bundle.)
Now for my oldest, who is nine. She is definitely the one leading the roadside stand with momma supervision, of course. This has provided a great opportunity for life learning for her. For each customer, she writes out an itemized receipt, including the product(s) purchased, the price(s), total, how much money received, and if they got change. I have started a ledger notebook with her where we work together to document each day’s sale: the starting funds, income, any expenses, commuting profit or loss, then closing out with how much money (by denomination) is on hand. One thing we are really working on is her business social skills. She is a talker and sometimes discloses things you should not during a business transaction (such as how much another person bought or tipped her or how much she has made that day so far) so we are working on scripting some more appropriate conversations to help mitigate the topics which should not be discussed.
Along with the goods growing in our garden, we are adding some baked goods, which means even more life learning skills. Baking and cooking is one of our (well my favorite) favorite ways to learn. In the kitchen, kiddos learn a lot. Reading a recipe, learning new words from those recipes, measuring, basic addition and subtraction, with the opportunity for multiplication and division if a recipe needs reduced or enlarged, fractions, time management, organizational skills, following directions or steps, and so much more.
Needless to say, our life learning has been abundant this summer simply by starting a roadside stand. Obviously, this is not attainable for everyone, depending on where you live, but allowing the kiddos to try new things (within a budget) helps them to grow themselves (independence, confidence, self-assurance), continue to learn even when they do not realize it, and to help build many skills they will utilize as they grow into adulthood.
Our gardens are really just starting to take off and produce so I am sure this life learning will continue to grow. I am hoping to successfully have the kiddos harvest and keep seeds to plant next year, as all our produce is heirloom. I am also planning to can some of our goods, which opens up another opportunity to life learn in the kitchen. (Can you tell I absolutely love learning and teaching around food?)
So, seize the summer with the kiddos, be it in the garden, a lemonade stand, baking up some treats to share with the neighbors or whatever opportunity presents. Life learning is more than learning; it is making memories which will be kept and eventually passed on.