Homeschool Consumer Math Often Misses the Mark

Homeschool Consumer Math often misses the mark. This is what I found out the hard way!

Homeschool Consumer Math Often Misses the Mark

Homeschool Consumer Math Often Misses the Mark

Consumer Math used to be almost a throw-away course. When I was in high school it was what we decided to cover for a non-college-bound teen, a kid who needed one more Math credit on the homeschool transcript. It was supposed to be easy-peasy, mostly obvious stuff, with a few amortization tables thrown in and some practice keeping a checkbook.

I am a bit red-faced to admit that this is pretty much all I provided for my four homeschooled kids in high school. Now that the youngest has graduated, I wish I had understood sooner that homeschool Consumer Math often misses the mark.

A simple definition of Consumer Math is this:  

The set of practical arithmetic and other math skills used in commerce and daily life.

Financial Literacy is what our kids need!

Simply put, Consumer Math covers the bare basics for managing day-to-day finances. However, Consumer Math does not prepare young people to for a financial life- in the present and in the future. That’s where Financial Literacy comes in. Homeschool high schoolers learn to be literate/skilled in finances for life!

(For more on the difference between the two, you can read The Difference Between Consumer Math and Financial Literacy here.)

High School Financial Literacy is how 7Sisters has addressed the issue of Consumer Math.

I have been facing the hard truth that I left a big gap in my homeschoolers’ learning in high school. I am thankful that they are all still somewhat open to my guidance even now that they are young adults. So, I hope to take some of the new things I’m learning about Financial Literacy and fill in some of that gap.

An international study by the OECD yielded this sobering observation:

Developing financial literacy skills and knowledge is critical now that individuals are becoming increasingly responsible at an ever earlier age for financial risks affecting their future…” (OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría)

I, for one, had not thought of it quite that way before, but the Secretary-General is right.

Think about this:

  • The internet has changed the world forever.
  • Along with that, the advances in technology and gadgets have done away with the idea that a teen is saving up only to try to buy a car (because he also needs a smartphone, a tablet…).
  • Money is physically handled differently than it was even ten years ago
    • (plastic does not mean what it did when I was a teen).
  • Therefore opportunities for debt are so readily available.
  • The impact of social media on credit reports is not an urban legend.
  • Also, the constant bombardment of the media has led to an epidemic of “affluenza” in our young people,
  • and on and on!

Our teens are living in a different world than we grew up in!

Instead of simply knowing:

  • how to track the flow of money in and out of checking and savings accounts
  • and how to plan for major purchases and budget for day-to-day expenses

Our sons and daughters now need to have a much broader base of literacy in regards to financial matters.

Instead of just practice accurately reading interest tables and amortization schedules, our sons and daughters now need a whole vocabulary to make sense of the financial world. They need a way to discern what is a reputable source of information and what is a scam instead.

I am sad that homeschool consumer math missed the mark with my own kids.

I spent an uncomfortable evening with one of my grown children a few months back revamping the budgeting strategy that was not quite cutting it. I was helping that young adult deal with a hefty piece of humble pie even as I choked it down myself.

Since that night, our conversation has been much more often focused on looking into expanding our true financial literacy. (Yep, I am learning a bunch of new stuff right alongside my kids!)

I will be sharing about our adventure from time to time here on the blog. If sharing honestly about my mistakes can help someone else whose kids are a bit younger than mine, I will be so happy! God has a way of redeeming our messes. He’s cool like that.

Want to see what Sara’s Financial Literacy Curriculum is all about? Click to learn more!


financial literacy

5 things from Financial Literacy/Consumer Math that aren’t obvious to most kids.

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Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for 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.

4 Replies to “Homeschool Consumer Math Often Misses the Mark”

  1. I was at the bank yesterday and the banker was telling me about accounts they help set up for teens to help them with money management and learning how to use a debit card responsibly before they enter college. Sounded like a good program.

    The financial literacy e-book would be a great resource for teens and their families!

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