Thursday and Friday saw preparations get under way for our first ever car boot sale or table top sale as Jenson has been calling it. He's desperately trying to save up for a new LEGO box and came up with this idea over the Summer.
It was strange to have Wren in nursery, the house felt very quiet but it did set the mood for some rather more formal home schooling. Before getting down to the business of pricing up all his toys for the car boot, I asked Jenson to write a thank you letter to his cousins for the birthday presents they recently gave him. He performed the task very well, even sounding out the words himself with only minor help from me. We then practised some letter writing and tried to think of ten words that start with the letter A.
Next we sat down together and worked out his target figure, (£50) for the car boot. He then rounded up his entire toy collection and said he wanted to sell everything for at least £5. We had a little conversation about how much he thought things were worth and how much people might be willing to pay for them! A tatty old comic for example would likely not achieve a figure that was more than he actually brought it for in the first place!
We did plenty of number work, adding up how much our estimated prices came to to see if we had hit our target figure of £50. I would read the numbers out, Jenson would find them on the calculator and then he would punch them in. I helped with the plus and equals but it was a good introduction to the calculator.
We also did plenty of work with money and recognising different coins. We looked at different units and values and used them to work out how to make various amounts i.e. 2x 5p coins equal 10p and 10x 1p coins also make 10p.
He then got the sticky labels out and stuck red labels on all of his toys so we knew which were his and which were Wren's.
The writing and number work only took an hour or so but by the end of it he was simply exhausted so I took him to the park to unwind. He instantly found some children to play with, a sure sign that he's feeling more confident in himself. He's a very happy little boy these days who is maturing into a lovely person.
Friday came around and he still seemed exhausted from yesterday's writing and number work. Below is his attempt at a letter to Granddad but he was unable to finish the first word and most of the letters I had to tell him. This after he wrote an entire thank you card just the day before practically by himself. It just highlights the amount of concentration it takes him and how exhausted that leaves him feeling. I can understand why he doesn't enjoy writing yet because, mentally, it takes so much out of him.
Not to give up completely with the whole English thing, I suggested we might like to snuggle in Mummy and Daddy's bed with some of his reading books and a few chocolates.
It wasn't long though before his attention quickly turned to LEGO. He flicked through the pages of his favourite book and found a building project that had him inspired for the whole morning. His lack of enthusiasm for writing is more than made up for with his ability to build, and ironically, he was more than able to read the instructions. This particular project was all about bridges.
The first challenge was to find enough blue bits that would cover one of his green base plates. I helped search the vital components out but he was the one that worked out how to make them all fit together without any overlapping. A very good applied maths project.
It took us over three hours to complete this LEGO project and this is the finished piece. I was most impressed with his attention to detail and how he had been so determined to copy it brick by brick from the book. The position of animals and people is also really interesting. When I quizzed Jenson about this he told me that the horse was the heaviest animal and so he had placed it on the strongest bridge, whilst the penguins, which are much lighter creatures,were on the weakest bridge. He told me he had placed the LEGO man directly over the bridge support because that was the strongest point of the bridge.
Sunday morning arrived and Jenson helped Simon load up the car at an hour that Simon would rather have spent in bed! Nonetheless, we headed up to the Cheltenham car boot near Crickley Hill. It was pretty grey but despite the weather there was still a good turn out. As we opened the boot of the car, hoards of eager punters swarmed around us. They'd have bought Simon's jacket had I not stepped in! I am usually one of these enthusiastic buyers on the hunt for the next bargain so was accustomed to this surge. Simon on the other hand looked genuinely shocked by their over zealous behaviour!
After initial interest had passed we had a chance to unpack boxes and bags properly, during which I gave Jenson a few tips about how to increase his sales. First off I suggested he might like to come out from the warmth of the car and drum up business - things don't sell by themselves and good customer service goes a long way.
Secondly I asked him to think about the presentation of his stall - display things well so people can see everything there is for sale. Make the stall look appealing - hang up the bunting and wear a smile - make your stall the most attractive one there to draw in customers and stop them going else where. Make your stall look better than everyone else's. This prompted him to lay out his old robot fancy dress costume and stick books in its hands!
Finally, I talked to him about his sales technique. I suggested he might like to give a friendly hello when someone approaches. He could then strike up a conversation with them by pointing out how much some of the items cost and perhaps what's so good about the item they are looking at. Sales started to role in and Jenson got very excited!
Eventually the heavens opened and everyone packed up. When we got home I helped Jenson to count out how much money he had made - £25 - half way there. He has the money in his wallet and we will be doing another car boot sale in the next few weeks so he can try and raise the rest of the cash. Skeffer's Independent Trading Co. here we come!