Education in the Everyday

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Bales, Kris. "Education in the Everyday." ThoughtCo, May. 17, 2017, thoughtco.com/education-in-the-everyday-4011719. Bales, Kris. (2017, May 17). Education in the Everyday. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/education-in-the-everyday-4011719 Bales, Kris. "Education in the Everyday." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/education-in-the-everyday-4011719 (accessed October 19, 2017).
Girl reaching for juice on shelf in market
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Learning opportunities surround us every day, but we may miss them because the tasks seem so mundane. As you go about your daily activities, look for opportunities to capitalize on the educational moments in your everyday life.

Grocery-shopping

 It’s become something of a humorous homeschool stereotype that homeschooling families can turn a trip to the grocery store into a field trip, but the fact is there are many educational opportunities your kids can experience in the grocery store.

You can:

  • Learn to read a scale by weighing produce
  • Practice estimation and rounding by keeping a mental tally of the amount you’re spending
  • Discuss a variety of measurements such as bushel, pounds, gallons, and pints.
  • Practice percentages by figuring sale prices
  • Learn how to do comparison shopping using unit prices
  • Discuss healthy eating habits

Used car shopping

We recently bought a used car for our teens to drive and the whole shopping experience, while a bit outside the ordinary, was an excellent opportunity for real life training skills. Some of the skills we were able to work on included:

  • Learning what to look for in a used car, such as dependable reputation, safety, gas mileage, and vehicle history
  • How to comparison shop and use tools such as Consumer Reports and Kelly Blue Book to gauge value and dependability
  • How interest rates and the age of the car affect the price - For example, we were better off purchasing a newer car through our credit union at just over 2% interest. Cars older than 10 years only qualified for a signature loan and those rates were 10% and higher.
  • How to figure taxes on automobiles
  • Considering the cost of insurance when purchasing a car – newer cars and sports cars will mean higher monthly premiums
  • Learning what’s involved in registering and titling a car

Doctor and dental appointments

If you’ve got to take time out of your busy schedule for appointments, you might as well make them educational.

You might learn about:

  • Preventative measures for disease control
  • Proper oral and personal hygiene
  • Why doctors check your blood pressure and how it affects your overall health
  • How dentists screen for diseases like oral cancer
  • What causes cavities, illness, or infection
  • What is involved in becoming a doctor, dentist, nurse, or dental hygienist

Ask questions – especially if you’re at the dentist; it will give your dental hygienist something to talk about, rather than asking you questions that you can’t answer because her hands are in your mouth.

Cooking

Home ec is one subject that you never really have to go out of your way to teach. You may just need to be a bit more intentional about bringing your kids into the kitchen with you to help you prepare meals. As you do so, talk with them about:

  • Food prep and safety
  • Measurements such as cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons, along with common conversions for increasing or decreasing the number of servings in a recipe
  • Following directions on a recipe
  • How to properly use cooking utensils
  • Various cooking techniques such as baking, broiling, sautéing, and simmering

You might want to include some specific recipes as you teach your kids about food, such as biscuits, cookies, a few family favorite main dishes and sides, and some deserts, but all of this can be accomplished in the regular day-to-day of your life.

Random educational moments

Don’t miss the random educational opportunities all around you. Look for opportunities to use daily activities that we may take for granted to put to practical use the abstract concepts your kids are learning in school. For example, we’ve been pricing having a concrete pad poured (so we’ll have a place to park that used car we bought). We’ve been able to talk about area and perimeter in concrete terms. (Pun intended.)

We’ve also been able to use real-world math to figure up how many bags of concrete we’d need and what the cost would be to do it ourselves, along with comparing the cost, in both time and money, to hire someone to do the job.

Use sales and dinners out (tipping your server) to teach your kids simple ways to quickly calculate percentages in their heads. Ask your young children to choose a color and count all the cars of that color that they see as you’re driving down the road.

Encourage your older kids to tally the variety of colors they see and create a graph to see which color is more popular.

Learning opportunities are all around us if we just look for moments to capitalize on the educational in the everyday.