Homeschooling Through the Holidays – Economics for Grade School

Holiday Economics Study for Homeschoolers
Holiday Economics Study for Homeschoolers
Image via Angela England

One of the keys to homeschooling through the holidays without turning your kid into a resentful bah humbug is to find ways to approach the topics that are fun and entertaining. For some kids, math can be especially dreary, so the holidays are a perfect opportunity to think outside the box and make it a bit more fun.

Let your homeschooling grade-school age kiddos learn economics concepts through the filter of gift-giving and the holiday season. Here are two challenges to give your kids to put their economics skills to the test! 

The Great Thanksgiving Serve Challenge - Holiday Economics Challenge for Homeschoolers
Images via Angela England

The Great Thanksgiving Serve

Recently our church decided to give away some meals over the Thanksgiving holidays. My kids helped me plan a week's worth of meals that we could buy most of the materials for within the given budget of $75. There are a few steps to this process your kids will need to work through. 

1. Make a list of a few different meal possibilities – you need 7 total but some may end up being too pricey. For example, ordering pizza out could take up 1/2 the budget allotment in a single meal. At this brainstorming phase let your kids write down any meal they come up with. You'll edit later.

2. Figure out the cost of each meal. Kids will probably need your help figuring out all the ingredients of a particular dish they listed. A field trip or search of store circulars will help narrow down a price range for each meal.

3. Finalize your list of 7 meals that will allow them to stay within the budget. While the delivery pizza mentioned above will surely be cut, spaghetti with red sauce, rolls, and green beans would only cost about $4 and might be a great meal to keep on the list. 

This challenge is a fantastic way to give back while gaining some much-needed insight into the cost of meals and budgeting for a family. 

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Christmas Shopping Spree Holiday Math Challenge
Image via Angela England

Christmas Shopping Spree

Similar to Thanksgiving Serve, the Shopping Spree activity has your child putting together a shopping list of Christmas presents within a certain price range. If your kids use their own money to buy real presents for real people, you can help them prepare for that as part of their school work. Otherwise use play money to set a budget and help them stay within it!

1. Create a list of the people they will need to shop for. Give them their allotted amount of money for shopping. 

2. Help guide them through the process of planning a gift for each person, shopping for the best price, and making their selections. With older students you can begin to discuss concepts like coupons, taxes, etc. 

3. Show how $50 divided by 5 people in a family = $10 per person on average to spend. Explain how if they find something awesome at Dollar Tree for $1 for one person, they'll have more per person moving forward. Sometimes it's not about spending the exact amount on each person, but more about finding the right gift. A dollar store gift might be perfect for one family member while another might be found elsewhere. 

If your child is using his own money, this is a great time to help him plan ahead and learn to budget.  Either way the math concepts can end up being very complex, but kids tend to really enjoy the process instead of getting frustrated or tired. This is likely due to the real-life application and the fact that it's a skill they will always use. 

We recently had a 9th birthday party for my oldest and he got to take his birthday money shopping. He was so proud to compare the prices, look for special discounts, and get two for the price of one because of a great clearance find. These hands-on learning experiences, especially when it comes to math and money, will set strong foundations for learning and budgeting in the later years. 

How do you teach your kids economic concepts like budgeting, finances, spending money, etc?

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Homeschooling Through the Holidays – Economics for Grade School

Angela England is a renaissance woman who doesn't let five children stop her from many pursuits, interests and tasks. Angela is a freelance writer, professional blogger, speaker, labor doula, massage therapist and can usually be found with a coffee nearby. Angela recently published her first book, Backyard Farming on an Acre (more or less) and has since published her first Untrained Housewife Guide - Getting Prepared. ... More

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