Video | Farmers Market Math

by , posted on September 23rd, 2013 in video




I got my first babysitting job when I was 11. It was watching my neighbor before school. I’d basically hang out with him until it was time to go to the bus. It was a pretty easy job and I made something like $15 a week doing it. I’d never had that type of cash before.

Now, I’m not sure what other 11 year olds would spend their money on. I guess nowadays it’d be on itunes, new skins for Minecraft, or gems for some dragon game my daughter is obsessed with that I can never remember the name of. As for me? I spent my hard earned cash on high shelf snacks like Mint Milano cookies and tins of General Foods International Vienna Coffee.

I would tag along with my mom during her shopping trips and buy the items myself. Oh, did I feel big. I was Queen of the World. I’d go home and graffiti my name in big thick sharpie letters across my purchases. And if my little brother touched one? The fury that would rain down would be epic. Have I ever mentioned I was a difficult kid? Although to be fair, some consider me a difficult adult too.

A summer back, I had my daughter go into our neighborhood corner store to buy a loaf of bread. I walked with her, but waited outside the glass door. I had the dog, so I couldn’t go in with her. In went my girl with some money and instructions to buy one loaf. As I stood outside the door, I watched panic set in. She kept turning back and forth unable to commit to either the loaf, or, the cashier. She froze.

I opened the door and yelled in some instructions. They only added to her confusion. She was on the verge of tears. The cashier seeing the dog I was holding said, “It’s okay, you can come on in.” And so I did: dog in arm, kid in hand. The bread was purchased, my daughter calmed, and we walked home.

Walking home, thoughts ran through my mind like, “that did not go well. And, “I have scarred her for life.” And of course, “How much therapy will this take to recover from?” So I made a note to try it again one day. But next time, with more prep and hopefully, less pressure.

farmers market math

That brings us to this episode of Adventures in Learning where kids take over shopping. The kids enjoyed this one so much, Jonah asked to do it again. Probably, because it ended with donuts covered in a mountain of sugar.

This time, rather than freak out, Ellie beamed after making her first purchase. I think it’s important for girls to practice being assertive. I’m sure there are boys out there who need it too, but in our society, girls are still given such mixed messages about assertiveness. We should discuss that more fully one day. For now however, I know this is all very deep for an outing, so I’m going to be quiet and let you watch the episode. I hope you and the kids enjoy it!


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27 Responses to “Video | Farmers Market Math”

  1. Sandra Says:

    September 23rd, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I laughed when I read the International Coffee – I drank Vienna Coffee flavour in my first year of university with my high school best friend. It was our little ritual at her apartment after classes were done for the day.

    Love the video. This is SUCH a great concept and so well executed.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Hahaha! It’s totally good stuff. I’m currently hooked on a vanilla mint chai, but I could totally see me going back to GFIC one day. I ain’t above powdered coffee. ;)

    And thanks about the video!

  2. Mrs. Pear Tree Says:

    September 23rd, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Lol! The first thing that jumped out at me, too, was the International Coffee! I, too, lived on the stuff in university, and I am strangely impressed that you were buying it (yourself!) at the age of 11. Obviously too cool for my non-caffeinated 11-year-old self ;-) Loved the video, and so did my kids, who have long been fans of Ellie and Jonah (aka “The Ellie Bellie Kids”).

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    To be fair, I could have been closer to 12. By college, I had graduated to high-octane coffee. Now, I’m caffeine free. I peaked early.

  3. Shalagh Hogan Says:

    September 23rd, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Oh, what a lovely video and yes about the empowerment for children to buy stuff especially veggies. I did that with mine at the grocery store recently and the produce guy helped him. I hear that farmer’s market is incredible. And counting up the change and tallying the leftover moola for donuts!Love the son’s mouth full shot. Hurray for your family!
    Love,
    Shalagh

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    So cool! I have to say, I was mightly impressed with all the vendors who were so thoughtful and responsive to the kids. They were awesome. Sounds like your produce guy was as well!

  4. julia Says:

    September 23rd, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    love this! great video! Kinsey has the same orange purse :) Our kids are younger but I like the idea of having them help at the farmer’s market, and its less overwhelming from a sensory standpoint than shopping at a grocery store

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Kinsey and Ellie have similar taste! Love that.

    If you do end up trying it, let me know how it goes!

  5. amy c Says:

    September 23rd, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    You guys are so cool. And you are such good guides for your children. They are going to be amazing adults. Hurray for assertive women!!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Hurray indeed!

  6. Caroline Says:

    September 24th, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Next time you guys go to the Farmer’s Market, please give us a call! Can you believe I have never been here in MD?

    I LOVE your approach with the kids: your instruction, your encouragement. It’s so rare these days to see young people who have the confidence to do something like this and Ellie and Jonah just absolutely nailed it!

    And, your story about Ellie buying the bread for the first time–I think it was just a terrific learning experience. I admire so much in you that you parent in a way that gives your kids real confidence because you trust them to try things on their own. I am taking notes!

    Also, I love that you bought the fancy cookies Vienna coffee with your sitting money! I did something similar when I was a child, except I would buy shampoo. My mom would only but the generic stuff so I saved all my babysitting money for the fancy Aussie shampoos! I remember going into the store and smelling them–the one in the big purple bottle was my favorite.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Funny, because I am wholly certain that in my circle I was considered the ‘helicopter’ mom when the kids were younger. I would often step in. Now that they’re older and have more ‘tools in their toolbox’ I think it’s probably good to let them use them every now and then.

    And omg, yes! Aussie shampoos! We always had the generic stuff too so I was all about hair products. Once I bought and used hair product for African American hair because I had no idea about what I was buying. I grew up in a predominantly white area, so I had no frame of reference for anything outside of white culture. It just said something about curly hair and I always wanted curly hair. ha!

  7. Helen Says:

    September 24th, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Can your son be any cuter waiting for his donuts?? So, so sweet. And I love how bog sisterly Ellie is.

    Totally agree with assertiveness in girls. Nola has been trying to tell her teacher for a week now that she doesn’t like sitting in the back row, but she is too scared. Last night we practiced to the point of her yelling it at the top of the voice. I hope she can manage today.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    How did Nola do? It’s such a big transition year for her.

  8. Jane@Buzzmills Says:

    September 24th, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I love this video!! So fantastic. Violet and I just went to the farmers market this weekend together and I let her be in charge of paying for a few things as I stood next to her, and she helped me pick out and choose things throughout the trip and then, our last stop was at a stand where we wanted to buy only lima beans…I showed her the lima beans, we discussed how much it cost, and I gave her the money and then said “you got this? I’ll be right back here.” And she stood in line all by herself and paid…oh man did her face beam! Great job. :)

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Go Violet!! Rock star!

  9. Kristen M. Says:

    September 25th, 2013 at 12:20 am

    That was so awesome! Both videos have been so inspiring to me as a mom. Totally trying that at the fm this week! What a sweet family you have.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thanks so much Kristen. Have a great time at the market this week!

  10. Andrea :: Crafting Connections Says:

    September 25th, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Another fantastic video Jen, really! I was particularly impressed with your direction on making eye contact and speaking loudly and clearly – things that we adults often take for granted, but was such valuable instruction for your kiddos.

    The thing I love most about your posts and videos related to parenting, though, is how empowering it is. I completely come away feeling like I could do that – that I’ll be OK with school aged kids, preteens, tweens, and even *gulp* teenagers! You make me excited to parent my children – that’s a really special thing :) It’s probably because you’re awesome.

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    I’m so happy to hear you say that because *I’ve* been worried about the teen years since the kids were tiny. Probably, because I was such an awful one. That, and teens so often get a bad wrap in the media.

    I’ll say that Sheri Silver over at Donuts, Dresses and Dirt has given me hope. I look at the relationship she has with her older kids and actually get excited to think about how my relationship with the kids with grow and develop as they mature.

  11. stacy Says:

    September 25th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I love you lady.

    stacy Reply:

    Difficult and all … :) (you so aren’t)

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Love right back!

  12. Danielle | Crafting Connections Says:

    September 25th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Oh my goodness! I’m so impressed! It is so so important to give our kids real tasks and jobs! Such confidence builders. Well done!

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thanks. I’ve been thinking it’s like Montessori on steroids. That market is HUGE!

  13. stacy Says:

    September 26th, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I know I already commented once … but I just watched it again and what fabulous young people you are raising here :) I <3 this series

    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Thanks so much Stacy. I’m thrilled you like it!


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