A few ways to add lessons in finance while homeschooling
Here’s a headline sure to catch any parent’s attention: “Money habits are set by age 7. Teach your kids the value of a dollar now.” In a piece for PBS News Hour, Beth Koblinger shares some interesting information on how children form financial habits early in life. As families across the country are observing various stages of stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic, now might be an ideal time to sneak some math and finance lessons into the new daily routine (perhaps in the same way mom sneaks miniscule chopped veggies into pizza sauce). Here are a few ideas to help teach children the value of a dollar, and sharpen their math skills while spending quality time together:
- Make the most of online shopping trips. While parents may not be taking their children to the grocery store right now, they can still enjoy some teachable moments through online shopping. Use this opportunity to discuss comparative shopping, spending wisely, and staying within a budget with school age children. This is also a great time to review the difference between wants and needs. Before an item goes into the cart, ask “is this something we really need? Or, is this something we just want? If it’s something we don’t really need, maybe we should wait until next time to buy.” This type of discussion will plant the seed for learning how to create savings in the future, which is a great habit to develop early in life. Click here to download the American Bankers Association’s Needs vs. Wants Coloring Sheet.
- Hide math lessons in DIY projects. Hands-on learning isn’t just for art or science. It’s a great way to help children understand math concepts, too. Math turns up in everyday tasks, and DIY projects such as gardening, cooking and baking can help children of all ages sharpen their math skills. Very young children can count seeds during a planting, while older children measure the distance between plants. Bring fractions to life for elementary and middle school students with measuring cups (and enjoy the added bonus of dessert for the family). Need more ideas? Check out Scholastic’s Craft Projects for Math Class and Parents Magazine’s Printable Math and Measurements Worksheets.
- Read! This is great advice for children and parents alike from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency has created the Money as You Grow Bookshelf featuring a selection of children’s books designed to help parents open dialogue with young children about finances. The books are paperback, and available for purchase online. Families residing in areas where libraries are open may also want to check out their local branch for these books as well. Free parent guides to accompany each selection are available for download, too. Click here to access parent guides.
- Rely on resources from trusted organizations. Parents are juggling a lot right now. If they are fortunate enough to be able to work remotely, they are doing so while caring for their families observing stay-at home orders — lending new meaning to the term “multi-tasking.” If they have been furloughed or laid off, they may be dealing with a host of financial hardships and anxiety about the future as they try to provide for their families. Trying to develop financial lesson plans on top of everything else is tall order. Fortunately, there are lots of viable resources available online, including:
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