n this 2-session course, intended for Jr. high and high school students who have completed or are currently taking algebra, we will discuss the basics of economics; principles, guidelines, and strategies for personal finance and record keeping; and, in the second session, students will practice filling out sample tax forms.
We will use Life of Fred’s Financial Choices, which is a fun, lighthearted introduction to these topics from a Christian worldview, as a framework for the course. Students will be expected to read 1-3 short chapters of this book per week in preparation for our class discussions.
In addition, we will, over the course of the year, complete all six modules of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)’s High School Financial Planning Program, which is a hands-on approach to helping students develop and practice skills to make informed and intentional financial decisions. This curriculum requires limited written homework and lends itself well to discussions with parents about priorities and future goals. Upon completion of the course, students will receive a NEFE Certificate of Participation.
On the economic side, we will focus on the “Twelve Key Elements of Economics” (incentives, benefits, and costs; scarcity and choices; margins; trade; transaction costs; prices; profits, value, and waste; income; production of goods and services; investment and improvement; the “invisible hand” of market prices; attention to long-term consequences) and microeconomics in the form of the “Twelve Key Elements of Practical Personal Finance” (comparative advantage; cultivation of productive skills, attitudes, and entrepreneurship; budgeting; financing pitfalls; credit-card debt and careful purchasing decisions; habitual saving; compound interest; diversification; investing without excessive risk; stocks vs. bonds; risk reduction in decision making; insurance). For this, we will use Parts 1 & 4 of James Gwartney’s book “Common Sense Economics.”
The course fee includes the NEFE materials but you will need to borrow or purchase the two additional books (Life of Fred and Common Sense Economics, 3rd ed.), each of which cost around $20.