Homeschool Economics Curriculum
Homeschool economics curriculum is an important part of any homeschool curriculum. This article looks at national standards for economic curriculum as well as some practical approaches to teaching economics at home.
Economics is often taught as part of the high school curriculum, but economics can be a good topic to incorporate into a curriculum for younger students as well. This article offers suggestions for how to create your homeschool economics curriculum.
First Steps for Planning Your Homeschool Economics Curriculum
As you plan your homeschool economics curriculum, check with your state’s department of education to find out what their requirements are for teaching economics in a homeschool curriculum. Most states also offer useful resources for planning an economics curriculum. You can find the web site for your state’s department of education at nces.ed.gov. Other states’ web sites may also have resources or lesson plans that you can incorporate into your curriculum, following your state’s guidelines. The article “Getting Started with Homeschool Curriculum” can give you more detailed information.
Though economics will probably be listed as a high school topic in your state’s curriculum requirements, economics has important connections with other topics, so you may also find economics-related curriculum information under topics such as civics, history, political science, social science, financial literacy, and business.
Using the National Standards for Planning Your Homeschool Economics Curriculum
The Council for Economics Education has established some national goals and standards for economics curriculum planning. Always compare national standards with state standards because some states have stricter economics curriculum requirements.
The Council on Economics Education states that by the time they finish high school students should be able to understand and reason about basic economic concepts and issues, know basic facts about the American economy, and understand that there are different opinions among economists about economic issues. They set five economic education goals for all children:
- Idenitfy economic problems, alternatives, benefits, and costs
- Analyze the incentives at work in an economic situation
- Examine the consequences of changes in economic conditions and public policies
- Collect and organize economic evidence
- Compare benefits with costs
The Council on Economic Education also created 20 standards that students should learn from their homeschool economics curriculum:
- Scarcity - Resources are limited so people cannot have everything they want and must choose what to give up.
- Marginal Cost/Benefit - To make choices people must weigh the benefits and costs of a decision, and not all decision are “all or nothing.”
- Allocation of Goods and Services - There are different ways for individuals or government to allocate goods and services
- Role of Incentives - People will respond to positive and negative incentives.
- Gain from Trade - Voluntary trade only occurs when everyone involved expects to benefit in some way.
- Specialization and Trade - Individuals, regions, and nations benefit from specializing in what they can produce best and trading it with others.
- Markets: Price and Quantity Determination - Interactions between buyers and sellers create markets and market prices.
- Role of Price in Market System - Prices adjust to supply and demand, and influence buyers and sellers.
- Role of Competition - Competition among sellers lowers prices while competition among buyers increases prices.
- Role of Economic Institutions - Institutions such as banks, labor unions, and corporations help people accomplish their goals.
- Role of Money - Money makes it easier to do business.
- Role of Interest Rates - Interest rates change to balance the amount saved with the amount borrowed.
- Role of Resources in Determining Income - Income is generally determined by what a person can produce and how well and fast they can produce it.
- Profit and Entrepreneur - Profit is an important motivator in encouraging entrepreneurs to take the risks of organizing businesses.
- Growth - Investing in people, ideas, and resources can raise future standards of living.
- Role of Government - Government plays a role in the economy through national defense, regulations, and legal frameworks.
- Using Cost/Benefit Analysis to Evaluate Government Programs - Do the benefits of a program outweigh its costs?
- Macroeconomy-Income/Employment, Prices - The decisions of and interactions between people, institutions, and government influence a nation’s income, employment, and prices.
- Unemployment and Inflation - Unemployment is costly to people and nations, while inflation costs most while benefiting some.
- Monetary and Fiscal Policy - The policies of the federal government and Federal Reserve System influence employment, production, and prices.
The Council for Economic Education also offers online resources to help with teaching each of these standards.
In addition to economic concepts and theories, homeschooling parents have the opportunity to teach children practical, day-to-day economic skills, such as:
- Setting a budget
- Working for an income
- The benefits of saving money
- Making and meeting financial goals
- For teenagers, how to establish and keep good credit ratings and use credit wisely
Many states have curriculum requirements that cover these topics, under titles such as financial literacy or healthy and responsible living.
Council for Economic Education, "National Standards," - councilforeconed.org
US Department of Education - nces.ed.gov