Ratio, Percentages, and Shoes

BR was standing there; his hands on his hips; his eyes to the ceiling panels; his lips twisted in thought.  The focus of his highest thoughts was the price of a pair of shoes.  The tag said 80% off the original price and also 30% off.  Initially he had been excited because he though you were getting money back if you purchased these shoes.

After understanding the 30% was off the price after one took the 80%, he wondered, “how much would they cost?”  Standing in the aisle in the shop in the outlet mall, BR began doing the math – practical real world math.  He solved it.  An $89 pair of shoes for around $12.  Wow!

We moved on to other shoes with other discount combination.  He was getting the hang of it – standing there thoughtfully, proudly doing the math.  AR was getting into it too.  She was working on the 50% off items.

Then came the lady.  (Cue the music played in silent movies when the evil character is tying the heroine to the tracks.)

“You know you can just look at the little papers taped to the signs on the top of the shoe rack.”

“We’re doing math.  It’s not that hard.”  I replied.

BR leaned over now to look at the paper he’d not noticed before.  He felt like a fool for not doing it the smart way.

The lady leaned in again, tapping her temple, “Smart people do it this way!”  Smile.  Knowing wink.


I’m still too angry to properly respond.  Feel free to lodge your thoughts on the matter.

What did this lady rob from this 9 year-old?  How did she change his love of math?

How do you respond when people object to the moment or the method of your child’s learning?



Filed under AR, BR, Educational Philosophy, Going outs (Field Trips), Practical Life - Elementary, Shopping

2 responses to “Ratio, Percentages, and Shoes

  1. I could make a really snarky comment here, but I’ll follow your lead and keep mum. It always astounds me how many parents come to conferences to discuss their children’s progress in math and tell me, “well I was bad in it too” as if its inherited. Keep observing the patterns, they are my favorite part of math.

  2. Oh boy… You know how I feel about stealing learning opportunities from children. 🙂 I’d like to think that I would’ve come back at her with some snarky and well-placed comment that would’ve put her in her place, but the reality is that I would’ve been too frazzled by her lack of tact and understanding of human development to have been able to come up with something more coherent than ARRRGGGGHHHHH!


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