Financial literacy, I wish they would have taught that in school!

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I have been doing some thinking about the math that we teach in school. I teach math to fifth graders and I feel like I do a very good job. I follow our school’s curriculum, I work hard to make the concepts easy to understand yet challenging. I show multiple strategies for students to use to solve problems.

Yet, as I look at what is taught in most elementary schools curriculum, I see something that I feel is missing. Financial literacy. That is not to say that some of the elements of financial literacy aren’t being taught. I think when we examine the things that we as adults need to know to make our lives run smoothly when it comes to money, we can see that we are falling short of what should probably be taught.

I recently made a Facebook post asking my Facebook friends to tell me what they thought should have been taught in school but they didn’t learn until they where out of school. And of course, I am sure some of these things were mentioned, and even some of the elements were taught in some sense. However, it appears that the adults that responded, see a need to have some things addressed.

Let’s look at the topics that were listed:

“Creating a realistic budget: Giving, saving, long-term or retirement saving, purchasing big items, shopping for insurances, career choices and paychecks, month-to-month vs bi-monthly vs week-2-week paydays,”

“Sales tax, supple and demand concept, Compound interest!”

“Start saving just a little young and show how it grows!”

“Don’t forget to save a penny, and give to church, charity……I started earning by age 6 and had to save every coin…. even if we wanted a 25cent candy bar.”

“The concept of saving up for something you really want, I.e. not spending more than you have.”

” You can buy lots of little things now, or you can save up for something you really want/need! Needs vs wants (and within that, really wants vs kinda wants)”

“I’m not sure what it was called, but in HS I took a very basic math class because I did not want to take algebra. It taught %’s and how to balance a check book. Loved it!”

“More on Stocks, Mutual funds, 401k, IRA, Roth, etc.”

“Simple things that we over look. how much change you get back after a purchase/ check it. Along with even being able to give the correct money for the purchase, saving and how it grows, etc.”

“I wish we would’ve been taught how important a credit score is(and how to make it better), retirement plans and health/life insurance.”

“Balance a check book, teach what money actually is (kids just think it’s a never-ending piece of plastic), count change, and who/when/how much you should tip.”

“I think the biggest thing is showing percentages and interest rates. If they need practical examples shows student loans and how expensive cars get when adding interest to the car which is a depreciating asset.”

“Credit Cards! I can remember the many offers that used to come to all of us in undergrad and again bring a younger middle school teacher. They can be dangerous to many!”

“Building credit, credit cards, Roth IRA, student loans, health insurance (benefits in general— when I first started my big girl job I had no idea what was even acceptable).”

“How loans work, interest. The importance of credit and what that means.”

And the list went on! What I noticed was that many of the commenters were feeling like they just didn’t understand some basic things about their finances.

So, that leaves me to ponder this idea. As an elementary teacher, how can I support students with learning some basic skills. I am sure that some of these topics are too advanced for 3rd-6th grade students. However, I do think I can address some of these issues.

I will be hosting a digital financial literacy camp for kids in grades 3-6. I want to provide some support for families who see this as an area that they want their child to grow in. While I do not plan to tackle that entire list, I do plan to teach some basic, but very important thing that kids can start using immediately.

I plan to review the basics of money and help students learn to count back change. Afterall, we want our kiddos to learn if they are getting back the right amount change when we send them off with the precious $20 bill! I want them to do some simulations with earning, spending, and saving money. I plan to teach them the basics behind savings accounts and checking accounts. We will do a simulation with checking accounts and go through a month of a pretend account and what that looks like. We will explore the idea of debit cards and credit cards. We will look at the importance of keeping track of spending and not just relying on the ATM to tell us how much money we have in the account. We will also look at different types of savings accounts and look at the pros and cons of those types of accounts. We will also talk about wants and needs and look at creating budgets and do a simulation with that as well.

If this looks like something you would like your child to participate in, be sure to sign up!

I will run this digital camp as two one week sessions in June. I plan to use Google Meet to do a digital meeting. I will provide your child with a list in advance of any items they should have for our camp.

Financial Literacy Camp for Kids (Grades 3-6)

1st Session: June 6-10th, 1-2 pm CST

2nd Session: June 13-17th , 1-2 pm CST

3rd Session: June 20-24, 1-2 pm CST

Cost for this camp will be $100 for the 5 day camp. I will offer a sibling discount. If you sign up with a friend, you will get your name in a drawing for free Kindle Fire!

If you would like to sign your child up for this fun camp, fill out this registration form! I can’t wait to work with your child as they learn about money and how to use it wisely!

Email me today to save your spot, or fill out the registration form.   Registration form.

Published by Tutoring with Sheryl

I have 32 years of experience teaching in public schools in Nebraska. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincon. I hold a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane University. I have 2 Google for Education Certifications. I have been tutoring online for 1 year. I have worked with countless students of all ages to support their education. I also support teachers with planning and management in their classrooms.

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