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Grocery Shopping With a Pencil

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The kids are usually really excited when they go shopping for food, (as I am), but this week they had a scare when we did the grocery shop.

Jackson and Grace love to see what’s new in the menu and find where the ingredients are in the big aisles at Wal-Mart.

And – this is a bit embarrassing – one of their favourite parts of the trip is deciding which microwave meal they are allowed to put in the trolley! (This is a throw back from when we were staying in the Motel… but they still love them!)

So when I suggested that we combine some schooling with the shopping it went down like a cup of cold sick. But, as always, they were up to the challenge.

Their tasks were pretty simple, when Mum mentioned something on the list they had to:

a) Find the best value item by comparing price and price per serving (this is on the price tag)

b) Keep a running total of the amount we had spent (using a pencil and their brain)

Sound simple? Well, it went smoothly for the most part and the kids did really well.

I had set a limit for the weeks groceries at $80.00 so they all (including Mum) had to keep an eye on how they were going, what the total was and how much more they had to buy. This meant they had to remind each other when someone tried to put too many “extras” into the trolley. This even worked against me when I tried to sneak some beer into the trolley!!

You may have noticed in the tasks outlined above that the mathematics had to be completed using their brain. That’s right, that means no calculators. You know we often take for granted the simple task of doing simple addition, but let me ask you how you would go?

Luckily Jackson and Grace were using pencils so we were able to correct any mis-calculations along the way. We compared answers, which is not always the best way to keep harmony, but our kids are used to it. It’s part of my “learn to get over yourself” parenting philosophy!

I’m pleased to report that the kids did exceptionally well helping us with this different approach to doing the shopping. They learnt a few new lessons, like how to compare grocery items to determine the ‘best deal’ and how to prioritise between needs and wants. Not bad lessons for any school classroom!

Oh yeah, and the final total for the shopping was $78.16. So they were right, no room in the budget to buy a box of beer this week……. Maybe next week?

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