Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teaching Economics

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In the next few weeks I will share a series on teaching economics in our homes. Some casual everyday ways, some games, and some more formal curriculum resources that are out there.

According to the Federal Reserve the personal bankruptcy rate of 2009 in the United States increased 14.4% from the previous year.  Of those declaring bankruptcy the average credit card debt was 1 1/2 times their annual income.  Creditcard.com reports the average American has 2.7 credit cards with an outstanding balance of $14,743.   The average APR on these balances is 13.44%.     Americans under the age of  35 most likely got their first credit card around their 20th birthday.  

And debt isn't just a problem for individuals.   CurrentUSANationalDebt.com lists nine countries with national debts that exceed their gross domestic product(GDP).   Japan leds the pack owing more than 200% of its GDP.  Owing 97% of our GDP, the United States also has a huge debt load.   In fact, our country is currently worrying about being able to pay their debtors.   

 The Council for Economic Education puts it this way.  "The spiraling rate of personal bankruptcies and credit card debt; the lack of understanding of the importance of saving and investing; the inability to discern the consequences of powerful international economic changes, or even to know the meaning of "profit," are all evidence that we as a nation can no longer afford to make economics an option in our schools. It is especially necessary to give our young people -- who are our future -- a grasp of the basic principles of the American economic system."

As homeschoolers we are in the unique position to teach economics in a meaningful hands-on way.  Our children are with us through out the day as we deal with all different kinds of money issues.   Things as mundane as paying bills and running to the grocery store can be learning moments, if we take the time to make them such.  Like the rest of the nation though we sometimes fall short. 

What are some of the issues that keep us from educating our children about money?   Growing up money was not discussed in my family.   I'm not sure why that was.   My parents didn't have an abundance of money, but certainly used what they had in a responsible manner.   Frugality was a lesson my siblings and I learned by example.   But talking to us about savings, how to save and how they used savings, would have been helpful to us as we left home and started our own families.   

What keeps you from discussing money issues with your children?  

Are you afraid to share personal money details with your children because they might be passed on to the neighbors?

Do you feel you yourself needs to learn a bit more first?

Is it just something you feel your child shouldn't be burdened with right now?

Is it just a taboo issue that brings as much embarrassment as the birds and the bees talk?


  1. Good topic! Thanks for linking up at Math Monday!

  2. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the things you're using to teach economics. This is definitely something I want to work on with my kids.

  3. I look forward to the info you will come up with.


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