When high school graduates were asked about the one subject they wish had been taught in school, it’s inevitably financial literacy.
Kids are always watching and learning. So the way that you talk to your students about money, and how their parents handle money within the family, will shape their future financial success.
Real world skills
Geography, history and calculus only get you so far, and perhaps only a handful of your students will pursue careers in the subjects that they choose after year 10. But finances affect everyone, from superannuation to knowing how to lodge a tax return, create a budget and open a bank account.
It’s not something kids should be left to learn from the very banks who will gain from their lack of financial savvy.
Teaching Home Economics beyond the kitchenx
High school students should undertake a subject in practical money management, which is an essential skill for their futures, no matter where their career takes them.
The practicalities of budgeting with roommates are something many students will face once they leave school to go to TAFE, start a career or study at university.
Here’s a template you can use to start the discussion on how the household will manage a practical budget that fits around an agreed roommate designed to minimise conflict and promote smooth home-sharing.
Making any subject a chance to explore financial management
Using roleplay to teach personal finance in an English literature is one way to take a dull, compulsory text and make it relevant to your students.
There’s a great resource for high school age kids at Spent though it is US focused. It walks you through how you spend your money each week on a low income, with compromises for health insurance, rent and location, travel costs and unexpected events.
The goal is to make the right decisions to see how long you can go before you run out of money. It highlights the importance of careful planning on a low income. The game is the perfect companion to any text exploring poverty, like “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zuzak.
You’re really only limited by your own imagination in finding ways to incorporate this learning experience into your lesson plans.
Get the parents involved
With younger kids especially, it’s important that their parents are involved early. There are lesson ideas available starting from third grade, to teach students about managing small amounts of ‘money’ and the consequences of spending decisions.
There’s reading that can assist as well, including “Aldo Ice Cream” by Johana Hurwitz, “The Bunnysitters” by Kate Banks. You can even explore theoretical investing and comparison shopping.
In parent-teacher meetings, discuss the lessons taught in class and encourage parents to talk to their children about money.
Bank accounts in schools
These are good for the banks, but not for the children. While some of your students may already have bank accounts or ‘Bump accounts’ set up by a conscientious parent, if you’re a primary school teacher, ward the bank marketing team away.
Financial advisor Scott Pape believes that kids don’t actually need a bank account until they reach high school, and when they do, they should be able to select their own bank account based on the fees and interest rates.
These resources are all free to use.
- Rich Kid Smart Kid has four games about real life finance scenarios aimed at primary to high school.
- Stock Market Game an online simulation of global capital markets. There’s 4 sessions for grades 4-12.
- Spent recreates real life decisions and consequences of choices for high school students.
- Econedlink has resources for high school teachers, like this resource on good credit habits and paying off a credit card.
A financially responsible society starts by educating children about how to manage their money. As a teacher, you play an important role in contributing to the education that will ensure that Australia has a healthier economy with secure and savvy consumers in the next generation.
Article provided by Positive Lending Solutions