As promised in Show Me the Money, this week I’ll be talking about how we addressed financial stewardship with our children as part of our stewardship series that began with the post MINE. On Thursday, I’ll talk about some ideas for teaching financial stewardship and economics to middle and high school students. Today, though, let’s talk about preschoolers through fifth graders. I’ll share my ideas and thoughts; and I’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts. We’re walking through this with our second set of students, and I’m hoping to do teach some concepts the same way, and to change others.
Financial stewardship can be a difficult concept for a child who does not yet understand the value of money. Once we taught the concept that everything we have really belongs to the Lord, we set about teaching the mechanics of money.
We taught the value of coins and dollars at the same time that we taught the simple concepts of give, save and spend. We began as soon as I was reasonably certain that our children would not attempt to eat coins, and they could count by tens, about the ages of 3 and 4. Admittedly, 3 was a little young. I had to help my little guy a lot, but there was no way I was going to start one without the other. I knew that as soon as the value of money was realized, we’d have a war on our hands. Our older two came to live with us at the ages of 8 and 10, so we just started them out with a similar system on a higher pay scale (if I remember correctly).
So, to start, I went down to our local dollar store and picked up 3 plastic piggy banks per child: one blue, one yellow and one pink. I came home and wrote give, my child’s name, a big 10%, and drew some pictures to convey the concept with a permanent marker on a the yellow bank for each child. I did the same for the save and spend banks (for save I wrote 30%, and for spend I wrote 60%). Each child then had their own give, save, and spend piggy banks.
To begin with, we gave each child a weekly allowance of a dollar, paid in 10 dimes. I explained (over and over again for months – every single week) that when I gave them one dollar, that equals ten dimes. If you have ten dimes, we give one to Jesus. We put 3 dimes in save, and we get to spend 6 whole dimes! Now 6 dimes won’t go far, so I would take them to the dollar store twice a month to spend their treasure. Once they had the dime thing down, I raised their allowance to 20 dimes a week. The boys began to understand the concept of percentages, they saw their savings growing, and once a week, they had a little cash to spend. I took them to Target to take a look at the things they could buy if they just waited a week or three, and they began to learn to save short-term as well. Eventually, I began to pay the kids in a variety of coins, allowing them to make change for themselves out of their spend bank. They learned to count coins, and to add and subtract. All in all, I think it worked well.
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When the kids were in preschool and Kindergarten, I read them books from Dave Ramsey’s Junior’s Adventures series. The boys loved the books and still read them to themselves. I highly recommend the set. It looks like Mr. Ramsey also has a set of “Junior” banks for sale, if you would like everything to coordinate. I know he has a teaching system, however I have not used it. You can find it at the site the links above will take you to.
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Next year, my boys will be in 3rd and 4th grade, and we feel it’s time for a little more formal economics classwork. I think that whether your children are homeschooled or in a classroom setting, it’s important that we ~ as parents ~ take the initiative to train our children in financial stewardship.
Rainbow Resource Center (in their free catalog which is the size of a phone book!) offers a number of economics classes for the smaller people.
The Uncle Eric books and study guides (written by Richard Maybury) look like an interesting way to begin formal economics. Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? covers basic economics. Money Mystery is the next step in the series, covering career, business and investments. Clipper Chip Strategy covers the economics of business specifically. Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career & Financial Security covers the basic belief systems, or models, we base our decisions on; these decisions underly economics (we may begin with this book as it is the foundation for the series). Each book also has a study guide that goes along with it.
Money Matters for Kids by Larry Burkett covers the basics of economics from a biblical perspective (grades 3-8).
The How to Become an Entrepreneurial Kid Series (preK – 6th grade) covers business through narration, telling a story and helping kids set up their own business.
Fat Brain Coffee (grades 3-7) allows kids to learn about business while actually running their own coffee business.
Common Sense Business for Kids covers a number of issues pertaining to the economics of business (grades 4-8).
How are you teaching money, finances and economics to your preK to 5th grade kids (or how did you)? What curriculum, books, websites or software are you using? What is your main goal in teaching financial stewardship? What are your favorite Scripture verses regarding finances that you find yourself referring to over and over again?
~ Danika Cooley