The borrower is slave to the lender. That's wisdom straight out of Proverbs.
Sadly, it's truth that often gets learned the hard way.
One glance down Main Street America shows a nation in bondage because of a lack of contentment...because of overspending...because of a wanton lust for more. The bonds of poor money management and piles of debt are not easily broken and have ruined countless lives and marriages.
I want each of my kids to leave my home with the tools of freedom, not slavery.
From the time they were young, they have all received allowance. We dole it out in a rather un-orthodox way. But, having money and learning to spend that money wisely are two totally different things.
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So, when planning my daughter's high school math courses (Yes, we've come to that!), I knew that a course in personal finance from a debt-free and Biblical world-view would be in order.
Enter Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance for High School. (homeschool edition)
Foundations in Personal Finance PROS
The entire course is based on a Biblical view of money.
Managing money is about more than just accumulating wealth. Money has a purpose. God has given it to us for a reason. Dave Ramsey makes it very clear that money should always be handled God's way, that we are to be good stewards of what God has given us, and that wise money management allows a person to give freely. Scripture and Scriptural principles can be found on every single page of the student workbook.
The lessons are engaging and funny.
How often do you find your child laughing out loud during a math lesson? I mean belly roll laughing?! My daughter has said on more than one occasion that this has been her most favorite math course EVER because the lessons are so easy to understand and the speakers (Dave Ramsey, his adult daughter Rachel Cruz, and popular financial podcaster Chris Hogan) are so hilarious. The videos and workbooks are packed with the real life financial case studies of both the famous and the ordinary throughout history...the tragedies and triumphs.
The Scope and Sequence covers every facet of money management.
From savings and budgeting to investing and retirement...insurance and taxes to identity theft and mutual funds...the course leaves no stone unturned. Every area of personal finance is exposed and is generously sifted through a grid of debt-free living.
The course uses a multi-media approach to learning.
Students watch the video lesson of the lecture, take notes and answer questions in the workbook, and use Dave Ramsey's FoundationsU site and others to prepare mock versions of budgets, purchase assets, buy stock, and much more. The course is designed for REAL world practice of money management.
The lectures and lessons include more than just numbers.
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 becoming a WISE consumer who makes informed and responsible financial choices.
Foundations in Personal Finance CONS
The daily assignments are mis-weighted.
When setting up my daughter's year-long math schedule, I popped open the Teacher's Resource disc (one of six CD-ROM discs included in the program), and discovered that the lessons were severely mis-weighted. Some lessons had multiple activities and workbook pages assigned to them and other lessons had none. In addition, the program was designed to be completed in one semester, or 90 school days. Since I wanted my daughter to use this course for the entire school year, I ended up re-working the lessons...spreading the activities out evenly from lesson-to-lesson and rewriting the scope-and-sequence so that the course could be used for the entire 36-week school calendar.
The workbook-style pages aren't all in the workbook.
Every few days, I had to print out activity pages from the Teacher's Resource disc. These were worksheets that presented real-life scenarios and case studies but which did NOT come in the workbook. At first glance, I loved the idea of these activity sheets. They allowed my daughter to put her book knowledge to the test...to develop a real action plan for a mock situation (buying a car, balancing a budget, saving for college, etc.) However, printing pages every few days became tedious with my only-works-when-it-wants-to printer. All too often, my daughter was at the mercy of our printer or my forgetful brain that didn't always remember to print the pages the night before. So she'd be standing around ready to start math each afternoon while I fumbled around trying to locate the right disc...the right lesson...the right page...in order to print it out for her. I found myself mumbling, "Why couldn't all the pages be included in the workbook?" more times than I'd care to admit.
|Printable student activity sheets|
The grading process is not always homeschool-momma friendly.
Because the printable activity sheets presented mock scenarios and were designed for REAL WORLD use, they rarely came with an answer key. That made it kind of difficult to grade each sheet. All the calculations had to be recalculated by number-phobic-me.
For instance, when learning the true cost of ownership when "buying a car," my daughter was instructed to pick any make/model of car she wanted, research it, and determine its true cost with depreciation, insurance, gas, maintenance, taxes, and hidden fees in mind. Because the starting point (picking a make/model) was up to her, all of the answers on the worksheet were very specific to HER scenario. To grade the worksheet for accuracy, I had to recalculate all of her calculations. That was sometimes quite a drain on my time. ("I'll take 'Inefficient' for 100, Alex.")
Also, the 12 end-of-chapter tests were difficult to grade at times. In addition to containing the standard true/false and multiple choice type questions, the tests also included "short answer" sections. Many of these required multiple answers and full sentences that were to be given in the student's own words. Consequently, "answers will vary" was inserted into most of the answer key blanks of the Teacher's Key. Since I don't have a strong background in personal finance lingo, I had to find many of the answers in the student text in order to grade her work. Test days were the REeducation of ME.
The workbook is missing an index.
It's funny how you never notice an index in the back of a book unless it is missing. There were numerous times (especially while completing a review sheet or after missing a question on a test) when my daughter wanted to go back and look over a particular key term or concept, but because of the very conversational format of the workbook, she couldn't find the proper page. Sadly, there's no index in the workbook and no troubleshooting helps in the Teacher's Key. So she often wasted a bit of time randomly searching page after page trying to find the particular concept she was looking for. Admittedly, the glossary of terms was helpful for the basic definition of a keyword; but it did not help to reteach the concept.
The final verdict
While Foundations in Personal Finance for High School was not always user-friendly for ME, it was definitely a highlight of my daughter's school year. She learned so much about handling money God's way and now has a solid grasp of personal finance. Due to the nature of its multi-media approach to financial case studies, the program was project-based-learning-in-a-boxed-set. As an added bonus, she really enjoyed math this year! I will definitely be revisiting this course in the years to come with all of my boys and look forward to giving each of them the gift of financial freedom. In other words, the PROS of the program far outweighed the CONS, in my opinion anyway.
Foundations in Personal Finance (homeschool edition)
This 90-day financial course includes the following:
- 12 hours of video lessons (5 CD-ROM discs)
- 150+ page Teacher's eGuide (1 CD-ROM disc)
- 35+ real life activities and case studies
- 288 page softcover student workbook (workbooks can be purchased separately from year-to-year or for additional students)
The 12 chapters cover the following financial topics:
- Introduction to personal finance
- Life after high school
- Consumer Awareness
- Bargain shopping
- Investing and retirement
- Money and relationships
- Careers and taxes
The one semester course is designed for 9th-12th graders and retails for $149.99, but is discounted to $119.99 when purchased directly from DaveRamsey.com.
Other Dave Ramsey coursesThe Hubs and I are Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University graduates and credit our debt-free lifestyle to what we learned while taking that course many years ago. Although my experience of FPU is limited to the original adult course and now the high school class, I have no doubt that the other classes are just as excellent. They include the following:
Financial Peace, Jr. (ages 3-12)
Foundations in Personal Finance for Middle School (jr. high)
Generation Change Home Study (teens)
The Graduate's Survival Guide (graduates)
Foundations (College students)
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