I’ve always taught my kids the importance of money. If you have enough and aren’t in debt, you have freedom. Freedom is something homeschoolers value — the freedom to educate our kids the way we believe they should be educated, and the freedom to teach them personal values throughout the time we school them at home. The reason I’ve been so adamant about teaching my kids the importance of money is that I learned the hard way. I got caught up in overspending, wanting something that I didn’t budget for, wanting more for my kids, saying yes to them more than I should have, etc. Many of us fall for this. I know I’m not alone. When my husband and I decided to start focusing on living well, instead of living with “stuff,” everything changed.
From the time they were young, they have all received allowance. For a few years, we didn’t ask for much in return. If they did their chores, they received money for it. Not until a few years ago did we start implementing what we call “smart money.” If they spend their money wisely, they get 10% more on their next allowance. For example, let’s say Sarah gets $20 a week for doing her chores around the house. If she spends that money wisely, next weeks she gets $22/week. If she doesn’t spend it wisely, it goes back to the normal $20/week. This allows her to choose what she wants to do and she gets rewarded for thinking about her decisions.
It may not seem like much, but it started a conversation around money that our household never had before we implemented this. That’s why I was so excited to be able to review Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance – Homeschool High School Edition. My husband and I have wanted to do more with our kids around personal finance and this was just the right curriculum to do it.
My kids started the course over a month ago and I am already seeing a change in their behavior around money. My oldest is talking to me more about student loans, how to get away with not having any, and finding a way to work through College. While he and I have talked about that in the past, it has now become a true focal point in our household. He goes off to college next year and we’ve now had many discussions about budgeting, money management, and how that will fit into his college life.
This course starts out fairly basic, allowing high schoolers who haven’t had anyone teach them about money, to get up to speed. My kids already had a good handle on many of the concepts because we practice them at home, but I don’t want to discount the basics. They are SO important! If I hadn’t taught my kids the basics, we would have spent a lot more time at the beginning of the course. If your kids already have a working knowledge, breeze through it — but don’t skip it. I promise the refresher is worth it. You can even get the first Chapter completely free and you can view their FREE video lesson.
In Unit 1, you get an introduction to Personal Finance, Saving and my personal favorite, Budgeting!
“Becoming wealthy does not happen accidentally. It is a journey that requires intentionality, persistance and discipline. But with all of life’s distractions, how can you stay focused on your money goals? A budget is the perfect solution. It’s simple — just write down a plan for your money and intentionally follow it every day. Surprisingly, when you put boundaries on your spending, you end up with more freedom!”
Budgeting has always been hard for our family. I am an editor and writer — my income fluctuates based on my work load. Some months I have more work than I can handle, and other months I don’t have enough to pay all the bills. That’s where budgeting comes in. I have been vocal to my kids about this since I can remember. This course really dives deep into budgeting and why it is so important. My kids asked a lot of questions after this section of the class. They wanted to know how I did our family budget, and what I found to work well for our family. We spent a few hours going over our budget and the kids created their own. We’ve revisited it every week or so to see how they are doing. So far, so good. They will surely have ups and downs with budgeting, but I am so proud of them for starting at such a young age. This class really helped solidify the importance of it.
Unit 2 goes into Credit & Debt. It teaches about life after High School, and how to be an aware consumer.
Unit 3 goes into Financial Planning and Insurance. It also goes into Bargain Shopping. Something my sweet daughter absolutely loves. There are many good ways to bargain shop — but also some pitfalls. We talked at length about this and this class allowed me an easy way to discuss my concerns about her shopping habits even at this early age.
Unit 4 goes into Income, Taxes & Giving. The kids and I spoke at length about taxes and why they are an important part of life. While it can be frustrating to give so much of your income away, we all have to remember that we have freedom because of taxes, we have roads to drive on because of taxes, and we have infrastructure that allows us to work from home, to commute into work, etc. We also have social programs for those less fortunate than us. We even took advantage of those programs when we had our first child. My husband and I fell on hard times and we couldn’t afford medical care. We received Medicaid for almost a year when my husband lost his job, and I was caring for an ill-child and unable to work. It was such a blessing. I get teary eyed just thinking about how we got through that time — from government assistance to friends and the church helping us with food and clothing. We almost lost our home. It was the most trying time of my life, but I am so thankful that there were services and kind people in our life that could help us. Now that we are on the other side financially, we tithe, pay our fair share in taxes (as we always did), and we give to those in need. This chapter in the class was something that hit home and one that I wanted to spend more time on with the kids. We spent a good week or so on Unit 4 as I wanted the kids to really understand how income, taxes & giving all work together in harmony. Money is so much more than dollars and cents. It’s personal. It evokes emotions and prompts life-changing decisions. I love the fact that each lecture teaches the black-and-white facts of finances, but also the necessary tools to become a WISE consumer who makes informed and responsible financial choices.
The videos are such an incredible resource in addition to the book. Dave Ramsey has a way with teaching and Rachel has enough meaningful experience to get the kids interested in what she has to say. The fact that she is younger also makes a difference in my opinion. Parents can tell their kids how and what to do until we are blue in the face, but if they notice people their age or slightly older doing something, they listen more intently.
Here are some highlights from the curriculum that I think you should know about.
- Comprehensive, flexible, turnkey personal finance curriculum
- Teaching delivered via video by the Foundations team of experts
- Homeschool version of student text with added Scripture references
- 150-plus-page digital teacher’s guide
- Meets standards and benchmarks in all 50 states
- Meets all Jump$tart national standards
- Blended learning site with calculators, tools, and resources
- 35-plus student activities
- Digital Teacher’s Edition – This brand-new addition to the Foundations in Personal Finance for Homeschool curriculum is a 160-page teacher guide on CD-Rom with more than 35 activities, case studies, and assessments.
- Instructional Videos – This set of five DVDs offers more than 12 hours of engaging classroom instruction taught by Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze and Chris Hogan.
- Student Text – The Foundations in Personal Finance for Homeschool student text is a comprehensive, 288-page student softcover consumable. It provides students an opportunity to learn, practice, and apply important personal finance knowledge and skills. The 12 chapters are aligned with the National Standards for Financial Literacy.
- foundationsU.com Blended Learning Site – Our Foundations in Personal Finance for Homeschool curriculum comes with access to our blended learning site. foundationsU.com is full of interactive tools, relevant articles, and real-world activities on a student-focused website designed for all devices.
- Introduction to personal finance
- Life after high school
- Consumer Awareness
- Bargain shopping
- Investing and retirement
- Money and relationships
- Careers and taxes