This is a series of articles on ways to homeschool on a budget that will cover the core subjects. Homeschooling while you can spend a great deal on materials and supplies does not have to be expensive for a good educational experience. If you are like many, who are on a tight budget or are being affected by the poor economy then it is my hopes these articles will be of help to you, making your homeschool experience affordable yet enjoyable.
Let’s start with Math, as this is a subject where many parents find difficult trying to figure out how to fit in without using expensive curriculum. Many adults do not see that math is all around us and part of our everyday lives. Yet math abounds all around us and raises many opportunities for teaching math if you just become more aware of the math in our every day life or even in the toys we provide our children that can be a math learning experience.
You do not need worksheets or textbooks everyday to teach math, although they can be of help from time to time, they just are not necessary in order to teach math. When going shopping, we can teach prices and comparison prices, unit costs, estimations, rounding up and down and even percentages. Serving meals that come in pieces such as chicken nuggets, pizza, cake or pie, fish sticks and even biscuits can lead to a lesson in fractions, multiplication or division using how many pieces there are versus family members.
Budgets are a great tool and life skill older children can learn and help with, if it involves younger children, sit near them while you do a budget and hold a discussion with yourself as you do it. You would be surprised at how much a young child picks up how much things cost, savings and goal setting by hearing you as you do your budgets. Allowances can be a great math tool for the child to learn with as well, if you dole out allowances. Here they learn a lot about money management, how much to save versus how much to spend, the value of the dollar based on how much their dollar will buy and even about impulse shopping versus researching what you want and making sure you are truly getting what you want.
If your family is into Nature study at all or going for family outings, this provides wonderful math opportunities. Graphing or charting types of birds that comes to a bird feeder daily. How long would it take one dandelion to seed and take over a 10 square foot area of land? Measure the diameter of the tree and try to figure out how much lumber would that tree provide. How many honey bees are in an average bee hive and how many pounds of honey would that hive produce? How much does that pound of honey cost and then how much money per pound of honey is each bee making for its hive?
Pets can be another great math opportunity having the child figure out the yearly cost of owning a pet or how many babies would be produced in a given time period starting with the one pet but then going down the line of the babies it has, all producing babies. Including things as spaying, shots and emergency care, food, toys, grooming supplies and bedding are all math related.
Of course there are many other activities that most do not really consider math but they very easily can be, such as baking, legos and blocks, and even video games and board games can be used for teaching math. How about having a child measure their room then design a floor layout and design for their bedroom? They not only would have to measure the bedroom itself but also the type of furniture and other items they would want in their room. How about if you measure the child’s height and then take their weight and have them figure out how much they weigh per inch?
Other things that can be used for math or even math manipulative would be and almost endless list when you can see the math relation is almost everywhere around us. Measuring cups, tape measures, weights and scales, marbles, pine cones, nuts, berries, noodles, feathers are some items to consider. Migration of animals, animal distribution, garden design, how much a garden can produce per square foot, plant propaganda per square foot, garage sale cost of items versus full price in a store. Calories, Consumption, alternative energy, stones, pennies, paper clips, paper chains, index cards, windows, servings and serving sizes. Road trips, miles per gallon of gas, how many stops needed, how many miles to destination, how long will it take to arrive.
Opportunities for math are endless with a little creativity and thought about the math in our daily lives. These are no way a complete listing of all the different items or methods you can use in order to teach math. This is just a few things to help you see there is math everywhere if you open to it and get you thinking of ways you can create opportunities to teach math without breaking the bank. Math is free if you know where to look.