Many homeschooling and unschooling families use every day experiences to teach. Grocery shopping is a fantastic way to teach math, wise choices, nutrition, and how to budget. Below is a list of ways to teach and be productive while grocery shopping. I used these ideas and tips even when my children attended public school. Feel free to add to the list. These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. I hope you find them useful.
1. Make a list for each child. Use pictures and/or words depending on the child's reading level. I usually put different items on different lists so each child is looking for different items and there are no arguments.
2. Bring paper and a pencil to practice math. You can practice adding to find the total, subtraction to find out how much change is due, multiply by the amount of each item you are purchasing, divide to find unit price, or use percentages to find out how much tax you will pay.
3. Allow the children to push a cart, lift items into the cart, and unload the cart as is age and ability appropriate. Not only does this increase awareness of surroundings, it also helps them get some exercise in which helps many children focus even more.
4. Ask your children to read signs in the store. Take time to explain why some words can be sounded out phonetically, while others do not follow basic rules of English. We have completed many impromptu grammar lessons in the grocery store.
5. Show your children how to stay with the list and budget. Have the children check off items as you select them. Also, ask the children to make choices between similar items that are different prices and sizes. Discuss the per unit pricing and how long each item or box will last in your family.
6. Discuss how food gets to the table. Talk about farms, farmer markets, grocery stores, and delivery services. Discuss organic and non-organic foods. Discuss why some foods go bad more quickly than others, often due to a long travel time from farm to store. Find ways to use less processed and less genetically modified foods.
7. Allow your children to help choose the meal plan for the week and then help write the list, as is age or ability appropriate.
8. Discuss needs versus wants and talk about how to plan ahead to save money.