Unlocking hidden talents … and developing your child’s learning skills


Introduction

Parenting challenges for the 21st century

¨Parents often complain about their children watching too much TV, or spending hours on their PC or mobile phone.

  • Schoolwork suffers, academic standards fall
  • Basic life skills can be difficult to develop at a young age
  • Only a few excel at sports … and many children are put off by their early experiences of sport
  • Many parents also worry about the physical nature of sports and potential injuries

But what else is there ?

Is there any single activity where students can learn to compete + socialise + develop useful academic skills ?

Yes, there is … and it encompasses a myriad of primary school subjects !

… and it also gives pupils a head-start for many secondary school subjects too

This relatively inexpensive hobby can improve all of the following for primary school children …

  • Language skills
  • Spelling, grammar & vocabulary
  • Typing and computing skills
  • Mathematics, Trade, Commerce and Economics
  • Geography, History, Politics, Culture, Design and Art
  • Knowledge of Archaeology
  • The ability to research, summarise and present findings
  • General knowledge

All of this is possible via numismatics and/or notophily (coin and/or banknote collecting).

A brief synopsis of how Coin or Banknote Collecting can be used as an educational hobby

With sports equipment and computer games so expensive, many parents are looking for ways to divert their children away from TV sports and computer games into something more educational but still entertaining. The modern buzzword is ‘edutainment’ but I prefer to use the old-fashioned term “hobby.”

Coin and banknote design reflects

  • The unique history and culture of a country
  • The great patriots, scientists and other famous people (artists, poets, etc.)
  • Its geography, flora and fauna, economics, politics
  • Its sports, the arts and other human achievements
  • Its place in the world via membership of political and trade organisations
  • Its links to the rest of the world via historical events and cultural similarities

In fact, you can learn quite a lot about any country in the world by simply studying its stamps

  • For example, Irish coins and banknotes in the past 100 years show 3 different currencies !
  • We have also “jointly” issued commemorative coins with other countries – covering many different subjects

Irish Coins

A set of educational mini-projects for your child

  • Why did Ireland have 3 different currencies from 1928 onwards?

  • UK Sterling from 1928 to 1978
    • What was the ‘face value’ of each of the 8 coins ?
    • How many of each coin was in one pound ?
      • Why did we wait until 1928 to issue our own coins ?
      • What coins did we use between 1922 and 1928 ?
      • Where were the first Irish coins made ?
        • These coins will help children understand fractions
    • Irish Punt from 1978 to 2001
      • What was the ‘face value’ of each of the 8 coins ?
      • How many of each coin was in one pound ?
        • Where were these ‘new’ decimal coins made ?
          • These coins will help children understand decimals
  • Euro from 2002 to date
    • How many euro equals one Irish punt ?
      • How many Irish punts in one euro ?
        • These coins will help children understand percentages
  • Why did Ireland go Decimal in 1971 ?

    • What animals were on the designs of the first Irish coins ?
    • What was the name of each coin in Irish and in English ?
    • How did the new decimal coins differ from the older coins they replaced ?
      • Why did Ireland introduce a 20p coin in 1986 ?
      • Why did we make the 10p and 5p coins smaller in 1992 and 1993 ?
      • Why did we introduce a new one pound coin in 1990 ?

European Coins

  • How did we prepare for the switch to the new Euro currency on 1st Jan. 2002

    • How many other European countries did this ?
    • Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain
      • What was the ‘fixed’ conversion rate into euro for each of these currencies ?
      • Look at a map of Europe and find these countries
      • What are the names of these countries “as Gaeilge” ?
      • What are the names in their official languages (as shown on their coins) ?
        • Why does Belgium have two versions of their country name on their coins ?
  • What non-EU countries also joined in 2002 ?

    • Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican State
      • Look at a map of Europe and find these countries
        • What currencies were they ‘tied to’ before 2002 ?
      • What are the names of these countries “as Gaeilge” ?
      • What are the names in their official languages ?
  • How many EU countries have joined the Euro since 2002 ?

    • Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
      • Look at a map of Europe and find these countries
        • What was the national currency of each country called ?
        • What was the ‘fixed’ conversion rate into euro for each of these currencies ?
  • What other countries have applied to join the Euro Zone ?

    • ?

World Coins & Banknotes

Thus far, this article was written from an Irish and European perspective. But, there is so much more than this. Collecting stamps from all over the world also teaches us about …

  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Rise & Fall of Empires
  • World Currencies / Inflation / Currency Collapse
  • World Alphabets
  • Country Names (old & new)
    • How and when countries became independent
    • Who previously colonised and governed them
  • Human Achievements
    • Great scientists, literary figures and social reformers
    • All of these are commemorated on world coins and banknotes
  • Global Sporting Events such as the Olympic Games, World Cup (hockey, football, rugby), etc.

Recommendations

How to start

  1. Bring back €5’s worth of coins or low denomination banknotes from a foreign holiday or business trip
  2. Encourage friends and relatives to do so as well
  3. Buy a selection of old coins from a dealer or at a car boot sale (at home or abroad)
  4. Bring your child to a museum with a coin collection on display

How to bring it to the next level

  1. Buy a coin album to ‘tidy up’ the beginner’s collection of loose coins
  2. Buy a coin folder for a set of specific coins
  3. Buy a book or catalogue for coins or banknotes
  • For example,
    • Euro coin folder
    • USA State Quarter folder

Even if your child doesn’t get past this beginners and improvers stage, they will have learned quite a lot about their world and how it works. If they do make it past these initial stages, they will probably collect for life and continue learning for the rest of their lives too. Every major city in the world has coin and banknotes dealers, and they all have collectors fairs and exhibitions, so travelling takes on a whole new dimension for the collector.

There is an old Irish myth about a boy who 'tasted the salmon of knowledge' and this fish featured on the Irish pre-decimal florin and the Irish decimal 10p coin. This might be a good metaphor for the benefits of collecting and studying coins as a child. 

There is an old Irish myth about a boy who ‘tasted the salmon of knowledge’ and this fish featured on the Irish pre-decimal florin and the Irish decimal 10p coin. This might be a good metaphor for the benefits of collecting and studying coins as a child.

The Salmon of Wisdom or Salmon of Knowledge (bradán feasa) is a creature figuring in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. In Welsh mythology, the story of how the poet Taliesin received his wisdom follows a similar pattern.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s