Personal finance is essential learning for your teen. Here’s everything you need to know about teaching your child personal finance for real life.
One of the things that surprised me most when my oldest son went away to college last year was how confident he was in overall life skills. Personal finance was one area that he felt capable and confident managing on his own.
In fact, one of the stories I have shared before is about him figuring out direct deposit and how to divide his paychecks so that 20% of his earnings went into his savings (without me being involved at all!).
Looking back, I’m grateful that we spend so much time focused on life skills in our homeschool.
When I was in high school, I did not learn a single thing about finance or budgeting. While my parents did the best they could, the reality is I was woefully unprepared for the realities of navigating renting my own place, credit cards, medical bills, and overall financial solvency.
It took me years to catch up, something that I am committed to changing when it comes to my own sons’ financial health.
How We Approach Personal Finance In Our Homeschool
Because learning about money management has been so helpful for my oldest, I have been looking for ways to be even more proactive about including it in my youngest son’s learning.
Because we homeschool year round, this summer, Personal Finance will serve as my son’s math requirement. As with everything else in our learning, my plan is to incorporate interest-based learning as much as possible with these three tactics.
1. Incorporate Real Life
Any time we learn math, I attempt to make it as practical and grounded in real life as possible.
You’ve seen examples of this in my weekly lesson plans with everyday math word problems.
2. Create Ownership
Personal finance is indeed, personal. Because of this, I want my son to learn personal finance in a way that makes sense for his interests, priorities, and abilities.
At this point in time, this includes allowing him access to his own money, giving him opportunities to earn his own income, and helping him plan to save and spend in healthy ways.
3. Make Personal Finance A Learning Priority
Because I consider this to be such an important element of my son’s high school education, I want it to be weighted accordingly. I find it most helpful to incorporate an actual personal finance curriculum into our learning. It allows both of us to stay on track and take things seriously. The trick is finding one that aligns with our approach.
Our curriculum choice for this summer is Beyond Personal Finance.
Beyond Personal Finance For Homeschooling High School
I chose Beyond Personal Finance for my son because it allows him to experience the learning firsthand.
It’s not just about teaching personal finance. Your teen gets to practice real life.
The course essentially walks the student through their future from age 22-42.
Your child designs their own life by making choices for their career, car, apartment, spouse, house, investment, etc. all while creating 20 budgets to see how those choices will impact their financial picture. There is even a section about pets!
Take a look at the various topics covered in this semester long class:
- College and Careers
- Car Purchase
- Apartment Rental
- Credit Cards
- Marriage and Babies
- Charitable Giving
- Business Basics
- and so much more!
This self paced curriculum has options for both individuals and for group learning.
Money Management For Real Life
Perhaps one of the most “real life” aspects of the curriculum are the “Plot Twists.” In this portion of the learning, the student spins a wheel to determine what unexpected expenses will impact their budget. They then decide what to adjust in their budget accordingly.
Beyond Personal Finance is very low prep, and has both video lessons and an accompanying, full color, engaging student workbook.
One of the reasons I think it works so well is that it was created by a mom, with real life experience, trying to help her son understand the realities of personal finance.
My husband and I learned our money lessons the hard way: high interest rates, late payment penalties, new car depreciation and so much more. I wanted something different for my son but he felt like my advice was out of touch with today’s realities. So I sat down and created Beyond Personal Finance to show him how quickly his choices could get him in trouble.Creator of Beyond Personal Finance
As I said, we will be working through the rest of this class over the course of the next few months, and my son is actually excited about it. Beyond Personal Finance is perfect for your teen’s interest-led learning.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.