Now whilst I'm yet quite to think about GCSE'S for my four (lots of thought, just not sure what's right for them/us yet and in no rush to make a decision) I am very much of the opinion that whilst qualifications are great, life skills are much more valuable. One of the great things about home education is that your children are involved with many different social situations, my children are all aware that their is only one wage coming in and that we are on a tight budget. Whilst I don't want my children to have to worry about money, the reality is that our children are growing up smack bang in the middle of a recession. Whilst we have been lucky that Hubby's job has not been affected too much, the reality is our budget is being squeezed tightly by other factors such as gas/electricity prices, fuel prices, rental costs, food costs rising and the cost of clothing. I have never shopped as much at carboots, charity shops and budget supermarkets as I have in the last 12-18 months. I'm glad that I have discovered these things though because it has made me look at myself and my own shopping habits. Once a girl who used to love shopping and buying new things I have come to literally HATE shopping centres so much that they put me in the worst moods. Hubby has in the last few weeks refused to go to Meadowhell, hmmm I mean Meadowhall with me ever again because I was so horrible for the rest of the day. I think I've got around in blissful ignorance for a while not realising how much the recession is affecting us, until I needed to buy shoes/clothes/wellies/winter coats etc for the children. Now I'm quite appallled at the cost of a pair of jeans for a seven year old boy that spends his life crawling on the floor/mud/grass/concrete etc! With Christmas looming in the very-near distance and two of the children's birthdays, we have to begin to plan and think about these things. So, with this in mind I have set the children a task: For the next 3 weeks Bailey, Piper and Cordelia are not only going to plan what meals we have but are going to buy all the ingredients online and have it delivered. Sometimes I shop online and sometimes I go to the supermarket but to be honest I don't enjoy it that much and resent a quarter of my weekend being spent inside there. So very eagerly Cordelia has volunteered to go first, I have set them all a budget and any left over they can have as a contingency fund incase anything runs out. They have to have enough for 7 meals and not forget pet food for the dog and 3 cats either. So here is Cordelia with her full week's shopping. I haven't dictated meals, they were her choices and all I requested was hubby and mine's treat of Cherry Coke (not alcohol as we would much rather have a glass of coke!!) and I left the rest to her. She used so mnay skills in the hour and a half that it took her to do the shopping, obviously maths but problem solving too. Like for example an offer of fresh chiken meant that if she bought 5 extra ingredients in the offer then she would get the whole meal for £1 less than the chicken cost! She thought it was bonkers but she did it. And realising that we couldn't afford a £3 cheesecake for a pudding! I've designed a worksheet specifically for this task too! Will be intersting to see how it goes.