My girls love couponing. So I decided I was going to use couponing to teach some math.
I like my girls learning more about life skills math instead of useless math they are never going to use like algebra. When was the last time I used algebra? In my algebra class that I failed. Unless you are going into a career that specifically uses it, I think its useless to learn. We could discuss this all day and there will still be those who think you should learn it just in case, but reality is, if your going to use it in your career, your going to be taught it (again) in your courses.
There are skills needed for couponing so you will sharpen these skills as you do it.
- Mental Math
- Figuring Percents and Fractions
- Basic Math: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
I am sure that you could come up with more but this is my list.
I really think its important to learn mental math because you will need to figure out how much an item is, how much you are going to save, etc. all figured in your head and not on your calculator.
Have you ever been to DSW? They actually have a list of prices per percentages. They do this because most kids coming out of school can’t figure percents (as in you remember long enough to take that test then its gone), or for lazy people like me who just don’t want to take the time to figure it out. I am personally not very good at doing math under pressure or on the spot. Heck, I am not good at doing much of anything under pressure except cleaning (I do my best cleaning when I am mad 🙂 )
So for beginning, I am going to first go over the basics of percents, how to figure them.
Once I make sure we have that mastered.
I will be working on worksheets using real coupons as our manipulatives.
I will need to figure out how much each “item” costs, or you could make up your own prices for ease.
Then make up some problems.
I am sure it will go something like this:
You have to buy 50 candy bars. You have 20 coupons for 20% off a candy bar. Each candy bar costs .90 cents.
Now figure how much each candy bar will cost per coupon.
Now figure how much your total bill will be.
Now figure how much money you saved using your coupons.
Bonus: Figure out how many candy bars you got free (from the money you saved).
Something like that. To really challenge your children, your going to have to use extreme couponing.
For younger kids, make it more simple by using whole and half numbers.
I hope this gives you some idea’s on how to incorporate real like math skills into your child’s learning. This can play into unschooling really nicely though you may chose not to write the problems out which will help with the mental math more. At least that is my personal opinion.
There are lots of coupons out there on the web you can use. Major brands offer coupons on their sites as well as other sites that all they do are printable coupons. Do a search, they are easy to find. You can use those, easily printed or take a screenshot to add to your worksheets if you do that.
My youngest really enjoys couponing a lot. She does this with her dad. The girls and I cut the coupons out and make the list, then my hubby and my youngest go to the store and shop. They both love the thrill of couponing and my hubby especially loves to save money and get things for free. I personally don’t have the patience for it. He can wait because he knows something is not on sale yet and the coupon expire weeks down the road so he will watch that item for when it goes on sale to maximize the savings. I just want to get in the store, get the stuff I want, and get out.
We don’t buy a lot of packaged food so most of our coupons we use are beauty items, house hold items, things like that.
So, off you go… go teach and save money at the same time!! Have fun.