3 Reasons Why Your Freshman Should Take Economics

I like to say that there are state requirements for high school, and then there are Mom’s requirements for high school. One of the requirements of mine, is that the kids must take economics in 9th grade. A full year of economics too–not just a shorter half-credit course. I’ve gotten a few strange looks when I mention taking economics as a high school freshman, but there are three good reasons why I require this.

Economics is connected to all of the history and government theory that they’ll be learning over the next four years.

History is more than just dates, times, and people. Culture, philosophy, politics, religion, science, art, and economics all play into how history unfolded, because they contain the why behind those dates and events. Having an understanding of economics helps you understand some of the reasons why the Articles of Confederation were replaced with the Constitution. Economics also gives better context for things like the Great Depression. And no study of government and politics is complete without understanding the role that economics plays.

Economic study gives context for business math study.

I hadn’t actually considered this reason until my oldest was taking economics during her freshman year and commented on how learning economic concepts had helped her to better understand some of the business math that was being touched on in her algebra course. Because she was studying economics, she understood the terms being used and really grasped the concepts behind the formulas at a deeper level. Learning the math that deals with profit, loss, gross sales, expenses, etc. makes so much more sense when you know what all of those things are.

Economics isn’t too hard for a Freshman to understand!

There are some topics that we tend to think of as too complicated and difficult for most people to understand. While the finer points of many things do require much more study and learning than the average person can devote to the topic, the basics of these subjects are not as far out of our reach as we think. The basics of economic theory are well within the grasp of the average student. I’ve had individuals protest that economics is an advanced class that is too hard for a high school freshman. When we tell students that certain topics are just “too complicated” for them, we are putting unnecessary limits on them. A one-credit high school course isn’t going to turn a teen into an economic expert overnight, but it will give them a foundation that lets them understand the broader concepts. As a bonus, tackling a “difficult” subject like economics in their Freshman year gives them a boost of confidence that they can learn and understand things that are labeled “hard”.

You’ve convinced me! What curriculum should I use?

There are a number of options available for economics curriculum, but one of my favorites is Lessons for the Young Economist by Robert P. Murphy. You can purchase a print copy of the book, or download a free digital copy. A teacher’s manual is also available and includes quiz questions for each chapter. I supplemented this book with additional reading and discussion to round it out into what I felt qualified as a full credit course. You might also require an essay, research paper, or other project to be presented at the end of the year. Suggestions for extra reading include Free Market Economics: A Basic Reader compiled by Bettina Bien Greaves and The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. If your student is feeling ambitious, then they could also read The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. There are plenty of documentaries on various economic topics that you can watch on Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming services. Regardless of what point of view they address the subject from, these can be good jumping off points for discussion. Of course, don’t neglect current events in your study. Discuss the news headlines and how economics relates to them. You might be surprised by some of your teen’s insights!

I know that economics gets a reputation for being a difficult and boring subject, but it’s really not. Once you understand the basic concepts and how they apply to the real world, it’s fascinating how much it enhances your understanding of history, politics, and business. You’re never too old to learn about economics, but I still think that 9th grade is the ideal time to introduce your teen to the topic.

Lesson Planning: Digital vs. Paper

Author’s Note: I am an independent contractor who does work for Well Planned Gal. I was not hired to or asked to write a blog post about planning with their products on my blog, nor am I receiving any kind of compensation in exchange for doing so. I have been using their paper planners for the past 9 years, and talk about them in this post because that’s what I still use today for my own homeschool planning.

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in lesson planning this month. New Book Day for us is on September 2nd, so after finishing up final grades and sending off reports back in July, I jumped right into making sure that I was ready for the upcoming academic year. Well, as ready as I can be!

I’ve been using the Well Planned Day paper planners since Munchkin was in first grade. I still am too attached to my paper planners to give them up completely! A few years ago though, I added the My Well Planned Day online planner to my planner line-up. While having a nice paper planner on my desk for day-to day reference is still my preference, I’ve been surprised by just how helpful the online planner has been, and can’t imagine not using it at this point.

My Well Planned Day does require some extra time and effort to set up before the beginning of the school year. There are some lesson plan add-on options that will let you “plug in” pre-planned assignments so that you don’t have to type in anything. These are wonderful, but they aren’t an option for every course that I use. For the ones that don’t have an add-on option, I create the course and then add assignments myself. This does take a fair amount of time for a full year of assignments. In the past, I’d avoided planning out a whole year at a time on paper because inevitably, something happens that requires shifting things around. If you’ve written out a year at a time, then it really is a headache to try and update the paper planner. With the online planner though, I can move things around with just a click or two of my mouse! I can also see when our projected finish date is for every course we’re working on. That’s a huge help for staying on track through the year. I can enter grades for assignments right in the online planner, and things like grade reports, attendance reports, and even a high school transcript are generated for me. This is a wonderful feature when I’m getting semester reports put together. The student log in option has been perfect for one of my boys. He much prefers digital planners, so being able to log into the website on his mobile device and check off his assignments is perfect for him. (He can only see his assignments and check them off as completed though. He can’t add grades or delete assignments from the student log in!)

So, why do I still use the Well Planned Day paper planner if the online planner has all those helpful features? There’s something about me that still loves paper, pen, and beautiful planners. Since we do a year-round school schedule, we take every seventh week off. I transfer lesson plans to my paper planner in six week blocks. That way I’m set for the block of classes between breaks, but if something changes our schedule, there’s not too much to shift around. I personally prefer having a paper plan to refer to throughout the day, rather than needing to log into my planner account. You can print assignment lists and teacher lists from the online planner, but the paper planners are spiral bound and truly beautiful.

If I had to pick just one, I’d probably switch to the online My Well Planned Day. For now, I’ll keep using both! But what if you don’t want to use both? How do you decide which is a better fit for you?

Pick the paper Well Planned Day if:

  • You would rather plan with paper and pen
  • You want to record what you’re doing as you go along instead of planning everything out ahead of time
  • A physical planner that’s beautifully designed helps you stick with planning and record keeping better than a digital planner
  • You don’t mind calculating semester grades yourself as long as you have pages to keep track of the grades and attendance for each semester
  • You’ve tried digtial planners and calendars and they just aren’t a good fit for you
  • You don’t want to enter a year’s worth of assignments up front

Pick the My Well Planned Day online planner if:

  • You are comfortable using digital calendar and planner tools
  • You want to plan your whole year ahead of time, but still maintain the flexibility of updating and changing plans as needed
  • You want a planner that will calculate attendance, grades, and even generate a high school transcript for you
  • You want your students to be able to log in and check their own assignment list
  • You want a paper sheet to refer to each week, but you don’t mind printing off a weekly assignment list to hang up or put in a 3-ring binder
  • You don’t mind investing the time to enter a year’s worth of assignments at the start if it means saving time while still being able to be flexible later on

If you still aren’t sure which planner is a better fit for you, head on over to Well Planned Gal and check out the options. There’s a Peek Inside button under the description for all of the paper planners that shows you an online preview that you can “flip through” to get a good idea of the page layouts. You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial of the online planner. You don’t have to enter a credit card, so there’s no sneaky auto-renewal at the end of the trial!

If you have a question about how I use either of the planners, leave a comment, or use the contact form to send me a message. I’ve been using these planners for years, and I’m always happy to answer questions about them!

What about you? Do you prefer paper planners and calendars, or are you a digital planner?

Book Review: Beginner’s Bible

Note: Because the FTC has nothing better to do than make life difficult for us bloggers, I’m required to disclose the following at the beginning of this post: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation, and the opinions expressed, whether positive or negative are completely my own. Personally, I’m waiting for sponsorship disclaimers from all of the politicians in DC, but I’ll probably be waiting a long time…

My sister had a copy of The Beginner’s Bible back when it first came out. (It’s one of the books that Mom used to carry on the shelves in the bookstore!) She held onto it and passed it along to my kids, and it’s been a favorite with each of them! When I heard about the updated version being released with new illustrations, I was more than anxious to take a peek!

As soon as my review copy of The Beginner’s Bible arrived, my daughter asked if she could look through it. She’s 11, so it’s been a few years since she had been in the target age range, but she was curious how it compared with the original design. She was most impressed with the new illustrations, as was I! My daughter said that there was more color on each page, so that’s what she found most attractive in the new version. Next came the real test, handing it to my 5-year-old. He’s not reading quite yet, but he still enjoyed looking through all of the pictures, and asked us to read the stories to him. As he works on learning to read in the coming year, this will be a wonderful book for us to use for reading practice!

All of the usual Bible stories are presented in the simplified way that you would expect from a story Bible aimed at the younger set. The pictures really are beautifully done, and still in a style that’s reminiscent of the original illustrations. While a story Bible is by no means a substitute for reading the actual scriptures to our children, I think The Beginner’s Bible is a wonderful tool to encourage interest in the Bible stories. It’s also perfect for beginning readers to practice their skills!

Whether you’re an old fan of The Beginner’s Bible, or have never picked one up, the new version is definitely worth checking out if you have younger kids, or if you’re involved in children’s ministries. Now, how would you like to win a copy?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway fine print: Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.