The Difference Between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy

A number of homeschooling parents have asked us to explain the difference between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy.

The Difference between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy

The Difference Between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy

Our homeschool high schoolers were required to earn a Consumer Math credit for their homeschool transcripts. We think that is an excellent idea because we remember the financial disasters some of us 7Sisters created when we graduated from high school with NO Consumer Math training. (Many states are now requiring Consumer Math or Financial Literacy for high schoolers to be added to the Math requirements for graduation.)

However, we have found that Consumer Math is just the beginning. For our teens to truly be prepared for adulting, they needed the in-depth look at finances that a Financial Literacy course would give them.

Financial Literacy is worth so much more than simple Consumer Math. Although high school, our students need a Consumer Math credit, we can offer them rich life skills when we go beyond that basic requirement and equip our teens with Financial Literacy.

Here’s help for understanding the difference between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy.

There is a difference between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy.

The difference between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy is this:

Consumer Math

Consumer Math is the study of practical mathematical techniques that are used in commerce and normal, daily life. Teens learn practical skills like balancing a checkbook and starting a budget. This is good.

Financial Literacy

On the other hand, Financial Literacy is a course of study that equips students to use those same Consumer Math techniques, but also:

  • equips them to understand the implications of attitudes toward money
  • teaches the vocabulary necessary to understand finance in the news
  • also teaches them to observe and evaluate the use of money in the world
  • and encourages them to explore a variety of ways to make money, to invest money, to give money away, to save money, and to wisely spend money.

So, let’s compare the two:

  • A Consumer Math credit teaches a student to understand an amortization schedule for a loan.
    • Financial Literacy prepares a student to decide when taking out a loan is a worthwhile risk and when it is simply foolish.
  • A Consumer Math credit teaches a student how to compare and take advantage of sale prices at a retail store.
    • Financial Literacy prepares a student to understand how the strategies used to set prices can also be employed by an individual in an entrepreneurial endeavor.
  • A Consumer Math credit explains, “This is HOW money works in this situation.”
    • Financial Literacy starts by explaining how money works in a situation and then goes on to reveal much more.
    • “This is WHY money works that way, and you can apply that understanding to all sorts of life scenarios for greater financial success!”

With this in mind 7Sisters is delighted to make Financial Literacy from a Christian Perspective available in our ebookstore!

financial literacy
Click image for full description.

7Sister Sara explains her reason for taking on the daunting task of creating this curriculum? She says,

“As your children graduate high school and move on to college and ‘real life’, you (and they) will be thankful if they have learned the difference between needs and wants, and how to master their money, rather than being mastered by it.”

  • Click here to see what Luke Hayes has to say about what he learned from financial literacy.

While Consumer Math is important, Financial Literacy offers so much more.

Click here to read what the Money Advice Service has to say about teaching teenagers to manage money.

Also, be sure to check out the many FREE resources available for download in the EBookstore. Making use of good FREE materials is a financially literate choice! AND here are 7Sister Sara’s top picks for financial literacy.

Are you teaching Financial Literacy in your homeschool co-op this year? Here are a couple of posts that can add some sparkle to your class:

My youngest son worked through 7Sisters’ Financial Literacy text when he was a junior in high school. When he was nearing his college graduation, I knew he was serious about the girl he was dating for several years. I asked him if he should start saving for a ring for her so that they could get engaged. He quickly showed me the budget he had been keeping since Financial Literacy in high school- with a special savings category for engagement rings! (Seth and Caroline are married now, BTW. Check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview with them about college safety.)

Give your teens these wonderful financial skills by downloading your copy of Financial Literacy from a Christian Perspective. Your homeschool high schoolers will thank you.

Free Christmas Play for your Church, Homeschool, or Community Group

Consumer Math and Financial Literacy

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Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for 7SistersHomeschool.com. Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

9 Replies to “The Difference Between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy”

  1. I am considering using this for Consumer Math this year for my senior. My concern is how many of the web links are no longer available/found. Have you updated them since publication? If not, this could be frustrating for a student/parent.

    • Greetings, Angie.
      The weblinks are frequently updated and an addendum is published (no charge, of course). However, if you ever landed on a link that broke before we could get the addendum out, simply contact us and we’ll fix it up.

  2. I am considering using Financial Literacy from a Christian Perspective for my senior this fall. I am wondering if you have updated any of the web links that may not be available since the time of publishing. I was just wondering how many might be unavailable because this could be a frustration for a parent and student.

    • Greetings, Angie.
      The weblinks are frequently updated and an addendum is published (no charge, of course). However, if you ever landed on a link that broke before we could get the addendum out, simply contact us and we’ll fix it up.

  3. Agree with Vicki all the way. My youngest did exactly that for his senior year, Carrie, after we decided he did not need to tackle Pre-Calc in high school for his post-graduation plans to work. I’ll be sharing little snippets of Sara’s book here on the blog over the next few weeks on Mondays. You can get more of a feel for the structure of the course in the coming posts.

  4. Would you use Cosumer Math and Financial Literacy as a 4th year math for a Senior who does not need 4 years of math and does not want to take pre-calc? Would it be able to count as a full credit? We are leaning towards Consumer Math or Financial Literarcy as an option in place of pre-cal. Thoughts? Will your e-book be a course or just a resource to supplement a Consumer Math course like Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance for teens course?

    • Good questions, Carrie. The curriculum is a full-credit stand alone course. Very comprehensive and homeschool friendly. Our local homeschoolers have actually been using this course for years (Sara has just this year decided to publish it.) Often it is their senior year math- especially for those who don’t need pre-calculus for their college majors. Because our local state requires a consumer math/financial literacy for graduation, even our pre-calc students will do the course (although they tend to take the course earlier in high school when the maths are less intense).

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