Every high school student should take Foundations in Personal Finance because the skills taught are vital to life. For once, you will actually have a myriad of answers when your student asks, “When will I ever use any of this stuff? Why do I even need to take this course?”
Below, I have broken down different aspects of the course to give you an idea of how it would fit into your homeschool.
Scope of the course: This course covers everything from the nitty gritty of budgeting and investing, to more general topics such as career planning and goal setting. The variety made the course quite enjoyable. For example, while chapter 9 covered the basics of insurance, chapter 11 went into job interviews, resumes, personality assessment, goal setting, and career plans. One of the assignments for lesson 11 was to create your own resume. Chapter 3 coached the student through the process of creating a budget. The workbook provided links (mostly to their own website) along the way to assist with activities like creating your own budget and resume.
Level of teacher involvement: If your student is motivated, then they can complete this course entirely without help. While there were activity pages and practical application at the end of each lesson, there were no graded assignments. This course is self-explanatory, fast paced, entertaining, and highly interactive. As you are watching the DVD lessons, you have blanks to fill out in your workbook. This makes staying engaged and paying attention to every word a necessity.
Time needed to complete course: This course only has twelve chapters, thus it does not comprise a full school year. I believe this course took me less than a semester to complete. I would often finish a chapter in a day with plenty of time left for other school activities. For example, I completed one of the easier chapters (Money and Relationships) in one hour. While this course should definitely be included on a high school transcript, it will not fulfill a main math credit.
Intensity level: I took this course while I was a junior in high school. I was glad that I waited until my junior year because by that point I was seriously considering large financial decisions such as purchasing a car and paying for college. While they may not be as interested, I think a junior or sophomore in high school could complete this course with relative ease. This course requires attention and dedication, but is not strenuous.
Authors of the course: Four experts contribute to the course: Dave Ramsey, Rachel Cruze (Mr. Ramsey’s daughter), Chris Hogan, and Jonathan Acuff. Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze taught in a majority of the videos, but Hogan and Acuff’s contributions were also engaging and insightful. Many of the videos that address subjects like insurance and investing were taken from one of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University seminars.
Other benefits of the course:
- Motivation to stay out of debt: In a culture where debt is normal, even expected, this course does a fantastic job of showing how debt is destructive and should be avoided at all costs. After covering debt’s destructive nature, this course gives practical advice specifically geared towards high school students on how to stay out of debt. Much detail is given on how to buy a car and go to college without accruing debt. This course made me feel empowered to use my money wisely. While living below your means requires sacrifice and humility, the sacrifice is well worth it in the end.
- Biblical world view: This course is clearly built on a solid Biblical foundation. One of the introductory pages is titled, “Managing Money God’s Way” and lists a number of Bible verses about money. Every chapter includes at least one Bible verse, usually more. This course shows that our faith is not something that is contained by a church building. Rather, our faith should be the foundation of every major decision we make, including money management. Not only does every chapter have a Biblical slant, the last chapter, 12, titled “Giving” teaches on Biblical generosity. According to all of Dave Ramsey’s materials, giving should be automatically included in your budget. Since most high schoolers have a rather limited income, the chapter focuses on how they can serve with their talent and time.
In conclusion: Even though this course does not count for a general education credit, it teaches priceless skills that every teenager should have in their tool box for the future. Invest in your teenager’s financial future by having them take Foundations in Personal Finance. This course will solidify their determination to carefully avoid debt and train them to be godly stewards of their money, talent, and resources.