Veronica and I home school in every moment that we’re together. We home school while we’re driving down the highway, while we’re at the bank, and even while we’re shopping.
Let’s face it, we are all busy juggling multiple tasks all day-every day. Add home schooling to the mix of parental responsibilities and the burden can at times feel too great. That is, however, only if you’re overly regimented or strict about a 5 or more hour learning day.
One idea is to get children to help out with chores while providing them with a learning opportunity at the same time.
In the idea of learning even while you shop, before you head out to the grocery store ask your child to help you with a shopping list. You can go around the house – the fridge, pantry, and the bathroom cabinet to create and categorise the list. Then spend five minutes at the kitchen table with the grocery store flyers to see what’s on sale. Plan for a few minutes on comparison shopping while there. The conversations that arise are educational. Discuss budgeting, organization, distribution channels, lost leaders, marketing and the variance between wholesale vs. retail pricing. Bring a calculator on your shopping trip to discuss the issues of the day, or lessons in life if you will, further.
At the grocery store, let your child do the shopping while you supervise. Discuss items based on the quality and/or price. While you compare prices, sizes, and current sales, do a quick math lesson. Discuss buying multiples of one item, what the total price differences would be for the day or even forcasted use annually. In the produce section, discuss where fruits and vegetables are from, and how those items might arrive in your region. Discuss environmental issues while choosing your organic produce. Have children weigh vegetables and then ask specific questions about final weight and price.
In the meat and seafood section, discuss where each came from, how they are kept fresh, and what would happen if they are not kept cold. Many seafood items are imported, so you may discuss geography. If you are cooking a roast that day, you may have the children use the meat thermometer and determine how cooked it is, and if it is safe to eat.
While you are in line at the check out counter, take out your coupons and ask them how much you can save if you use the double coupons. If you buy 3 Klennex tissue boxes on sale for $3, and have $.75 off coupon, how much would each box costs? How about if you get “buy one get one free” can of soup for $2.50 and have $.50 off coupon?
Don’t forget to recycle those soda cans and talk about aluminum, recycling, and environment! On the way home, talk about how much gas you used for what distance, and how you can save money and environment by reducing the number of trips you take each month. You could even take into the discussion the average life expectancy of your vehicle and wear and tear costs of frequent, disorganized trips to the grocery store.
There are just so many ways to take a boring day of chores and turn it all into a home schooling lesson. This is practical knowledge at its finest as important concepts are discussed within each issue. More importantly by having these types of home schooling lessons, your child is gaining insight into personal responsibility while you set the tone for future contemplation.
This article was originally published in our home schooling directory on Mar 14, 2011. It has been moved in a recent website redesign.