Last Thursday the boys' school held a 'Fun Day' - a day of fund raising for the school and for the parents' association, a day for making money and getting rid of unwanted and old stuff for some parents who came and set up stalls in the school compound, and a day of games and spending money for all the children and also parents who wanted to join the fun.
Back in Malaysia, from the the tender age of 7, school children were given pocket money to spend at the canteen during lunch time but over here, there's no where to do a spot of 'jual-beli' at school - you either have 'packed lunch' i.e. have your lunch from your lunchpack/ lunchbox your mum packed for you from home, have 'home dinners' which means a parent/ carer would come and pick you up at lunch time to bring you home for lunch, or you were having 'school dinners' which means your parents paid for you to have your lunch at the school dinner hall (in some cases, this could be free if the children's parents were getting benefits from the government - how cool is that?).
Self explanatory, really. ;p
Basically the children here would not be very exposed to using notes and coins, unless they do so outside of school.
So of course, the boys were excited to be allowed to take some money to school on their Fun Day. Mr S didn't give them much - only £3.80 each, of which £1 is for a compulsory donation to the school. So they had only £2.80 to spend which was more than enough because I know that at the Fun Day, cakes/food and drinks would be sold at 10p or 20p each or at most 50p. (I told them not to buy anything else besides food and drinks.)
Since they were excited about spending money, I was excited too to know what they would buy for themselves. So, I instructed them to write down what they had spent for the day, knowing from previous experience that sometimes they just misplace their coins and didn't spend much or in some cases, they actually did spend their coins, only they couldn't report back to Mama because their young minds have forgotten exactly what they spent on and how much the things had cost.
I told them before they went off to school, "Write exactly what you spent your money on and how much - write them down on a piece of paper at school before you forget, okay? Don't wait until you reach home to do it!"
The moment I saw Little H running towards me from his classmates and friends when I came to pick them up after school, I knew he had listened earnestly to what I had said. He showed me 3 pencils and 2 rubbers which he had won in some of the games stalls - which, he said, he didn't have to pay anything to participate in - and he showed me that he had £1.04 left over in his pocket. He then began to tell me about his list of expenses which he had written down but said that he didn't want to show it to me first because he had some 'corrections' to do.
"Alright." I said to Little H. "Well done, masyaAllah!"
Big H however admitted that he didn't do what I told him to do, which was really, typical of him. "It doesn't matter," I said to Big H, "You can write them down at home - try to remember what you bought - start from the beginning!"
"Okay.." he said slowly, obviously dismayed that he still HAD to do it!
A little later, at home, this was what the boys showed me;
Little H's Expenses for Fun Day
Big H's expenses sheet which he did at home!
Little H's explanation of what transpired during the day was complex - he spent a lot of his money on food and drinks but there was also a lot of 'swapping' money - or giving away, really - but my friend didn't have any money so I gave him some! - and then somehow the person whom he gave the money to would also give him a certain amount back!
But believe it or not, after all the trading and exchanging he did that day, what he wrote on paper and the amount he had left in his pocket TALLIED!! Which means he had written everything down correctly!
I was SO amazed!
Big H however, tried his best to remember what were his purchases for the day exactly but in the end, he had 50p unaccounted for. Hmm..Tu la, Mama suruh buat terus kat sekolah takmau!
But guess what, that £1.04 Little H had in his pocket at the end of the day? £1 of it was actually generously given to him by none other than his own big brother, Big H! - "Go buy a lollypop", Big H had said! Aww..sweet isn't he?(Pun intended!)
All I can is, WELL DONE Little H for listening to Mama and for doing exactly as you've been told - you've been very responsible and you've paid attention to the details. Good job! Ada gaya boleh jadi CA like Mr S ni! ;p
And Big H, there's always a next time. (Listen to Mama next time!!)