Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Teaching Consumer Math

One of the hazards of homeschooling is that you start looking for educational opportunities in just about everything you do.  We can be driving up north and the kids will ask, "How long until we get there?"  Normal parents would say, "Two hours".  Homeschooling parents would say, "Well, we are traveling 70 mph and it's 137 miles so how long do you think it will take us to get there?"  Sometimes just to be evil I'll throw in, "and if the train has 183 miles to go but is traveling at 80 mph - who will get there first?"  I think that's hilarious.  The kids don't.

I guess I never thought about it growing up since I was a product of the public school system but playing Monopoly is an awesome way to teach consumer math.  There's lots of addition and subtraction and plenty of opportunity to find that fine balance between having cash on hand and being a slum lord.  I mean land baron!

We started with a children's Monopoly game when the kids were pretty young but didn't play all that often. It was still really hard for Motocross Boy and his patience to sit through a game was just about 0.  Later we moved on to regular Monopoly but kept it at the cottage so we didn't play very often.  Recently I bought a new game and we broke it out on Thanksgiving after dinner.

Scott is considered the king of the game.  He always wins.  We work on ways to strategize into blocking him from becoming the land baron and squeezing every last dollar out of the rest of us.

Motocross Boy started out strong with a ton of cash on hand landing on Free Parking almost ever trip around the board (along with many troublesome trips to Jail) but he must have made it around 60 times before he finally landed on a property he could buy - Boardwalk.  He was very happy!  Then he made a critical deal in buying Park Place from Dad for over $2000.  This left him cash strapped and minutes later he was mortgaging both properties and was out of the game.

It wasn't long and I was out too having had to hand over all my money and properties to Equestrian Girl.  the head to head battle with Dad was viscous.  Thousands of dollars were going back and forth as they collected rents from each other on properties with hotels but Equestrian Girl was getting the lucky dice and landing on safe zones WAY more than Dad and in the end...she was the victor!

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