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Learning Maths doesn’t have to be on a book. there are a lot of practical maths daily problems in real life. We try to connect academic lessons with our real daily life problem solving. Here are some cases we try to connect in:

## Direction and sunshine in the afternoon

I drive kids in the afternoon everyday. The sunshine is still horribly hot. Kids knows the direction of the car based on the position of the sun. That is how the moslem usually look for “west direction” to pray. We try to relate the direction with light. Kids really like the activity. Direction finding is used in many different job like sea and plane navigation. It might be useful when someone lost that doesn’t have map and compass. We do so to get the trip peaceful too. Some question to ask them:

- Which direction does the house face to? How do you know?
- Which direction are we heading now?
- If we want to go to the west, are we going turning left or right?
- Which direction are going when we turn right?
- etc

## Finding direction to get to the same address

We sometimes don’t go exactly the same road to avoid traffic jam. Although I have already got big picture in my head, I “propose” them to be my personal traffic guide. Their head starts spinning. Not on the road, we discuss about the 2D shape, how to get the same corner (vertice). That principe is working on the street. Three of them are really good to be familiar with the street and directions.

## Filling in invoice and saving forms

Ken and Tom have been familiar making invoice. Sometimes I ask them to make handwritten invoice for our customer. I am a supplement distributor who stays at home. Customer often comes and purchase at home. When I am not at home I sometimes ask them to prepare the invoice. It is the time to practice their maths and to show off their handwriting.

They also have to fill in a form to save the money in bank. I always give emphasize to the importance of good, fast, and clear handwriting to fill in forms.

## Order some food in a restaurant

Ken and Tom will take a turn to write order in a restaurant. I don’t know what kind of restaurant you often visit, but some restaurants here will ask the customers writing the order by themselves. There isn’t always waiter or waitress to write the order. Waiter and waitress will leave an empty order memo on the customers’ table.

Here is the time for them to write clearly and to apply their basic statistic counting with tally how many people order certain menus. Finally they have to summarize the order into number. When they have finished with their order, they will automatically estimate how much money I need to pay for all of the order.

## Counting change money

This is the most frequent practice my children have.

- Before they buy something they have to find out the price. Not all market and shop have written price.
- They need to find out if there is another package for the same item in the shop or in another shop if possible and how much.
- They compare between those different package is it is available.
- Then, they will decide which package or item (s) they will buy. If they have to bargain, then they’ll do. Of course they need to consider how economic and how practical they are.
- They decide what kind of money paid to the merchant and how much change they’ll get.

Beside merely maths application, we try to get them analysing before buying.

## Estimating distance, time, and speed

Before we go out of the city (long distance), we used to get the children estimating how long the trip will take, when we are going to arrive, how much speed on average we need to have to arrive on the place in certain time.

Children might not understand any of the speed, distance, and time formula, but we try to explain it with logic, without formula yet.

## Cooking : ratio of recipe and measurement of ingredients

Reading and calculating how many times recipe compared with how many people served is another mathematical activity done regularly. Too much or too less portion will be a problem.

## Sharing time

Children will automatically use division when they have a sharing time. They would like identify the dividend, the divisor, the quotient, and the reminder if any. It will avoid them from disputes and keep them maintaining fairness level.

## Capacity

This point has a wide scoupe of area. Children are used to thinking about:

- Which container is suitable with certain amount of things?
- how much of things are enough to fit certain size of container?

Some situations require the calculation and logical estimation:

- How many books can fit into 45cm width locker?
- How many smaller boxes of milk can fit into children’s backpack pocket?
- Which lunch boxes will be suitable with a couple of apple? (Estimation)

## Discount

Bringing the children with me doing some shopping in a department store will train them to use their mental maths calculating the discount and the nett price for promotional items. Further ore, they can learn how to save money.

Adelientan, what a great way to teach your children about direction. Many adults are ‘directionally challenged’. Your children won’t grow up that way. In fact, all of these exercises are great. Great job!

Amen, Regina. That is always in my prayer. Thanks for stopping by.

This is great! I can’t believe they leave memo pads on tables for the customers to write their own order! I’ve never heard of that!

Actually it will be great if we have a grocery and they can work to practice their skill 😉

Practical Daily Problems are a great way to get your children to exercise their minds. I thought this was a very good idea. I had to write out exactly how I would get home from school when I was young. I had forgotten all about that until now. I also liked counting out the change and asking for a similar item. Good post!

Thank you very much Eric. It is challenging to get kids do practical daily problems and make them habits.

Life is one big lesson. Always. There is always a way to learn. You don’t have to study to read to learn!

Life is our real school, isn’t it?

I never actually thought about all the daily life problems that I can teach the kids. These are some great points. Thanks for sharing.

That’s right. Sometimes we forget about it. Thanks for stopping by.

This is a great list of things we do every day! You are being very observant and applying education to daily life.

I just try to make a list so that I can make sure we are doing it consistently.

I like the point you here Adelien. Real world learning is so important for children. It helps them learn common sense in addition to book smarts. Each of my children have ordered for himself in restaurants since he was 4 or 5, and they all go grocery shopping with me where I teach them about price per ounce, discounts, and the best deals.

You are an amazing mother and teacher 🙂

So are you, Missy. It is quite complicated ordering for Chinese food dinner of 15 people and I found how surprising Tom could handle the task.

These are some great ways to add practice into your child’s day. Did not realize how much math we use day to day without thinking.

My Middle Son used to hate Maths. He is just forced to use maths because he is demanded to solve the real problems. Thanks for stopping by.

I love your real-world connections! It’s so important for learners to see a purpose and the big picture for what they’re doing. I have often thought about your “upside down parabola” statement referring to kids and their self-confidence at varying stages in life. Excellent! Here’s something interesting to try with your kids: Take two pieces of notebook paper, they are usually 8 1/2 x 11inches. Roll one end-to-end lengthwise and tape the two ends together. Roll the other paper end-to-end the other way widthwise. You will now have two cylinders, one shorter and fatter, one taller and skinnier. Have your kids predict which cylinder will hold more beans. they must explain WHY they chose the cylinder they did. Then place each cylinder standing up on a plate. Fill each cylinder to the top. Lift the cylinders. Count the beans. Do you know which cylinder will hold more? (It has to do with the area of a circle…) Kids can learn about this prior to learning the formula for area and circumference of circles. Let me know how it goes!

LOL… What a great idea, Bonnie. Thanks very much. Tell you later 😉

Love your tips on teaching/ learning, these are wonderful everyday tools we can all use to help us remember and learn new things. I’m looking forward to sharing this blog with my daughter who has school aged children. You are very insightful to think of using these every day events and turning them into teaching moments.

I think that is the beauty of homeschooling. We always find things to learn in daily life. Kids are more sensitive about learning objects. Thank you for stopping by.