As homeschoolers, we are always looking for ways to incorporate practical life skills like money management with our teens and tweens. In this post, I’ll share a few tips for teaching your older kids about money plus our experience with MoneyTime, a financial literacy course designed to help kids understand earning, spending, saving, investing, and beyond!
Money Management – Teaching Practical Life Skills to Teens & Tweens!
Kids start interacting with money early and are usually interested to see how it all works. If you’ve been homeschooling for a while, you likely started with the value of coins and later worked on imparting the value of money as your kids hit middle and high school.
Money management is a practical life skill that our teens and tweens need to know. They’ll learn through experience as they get older, but we can set them up to make better financial decisions and save them some headaches if we teach them money management skills before they actually have to manage money. We can help our kids understand money in a variety of ways. It helps to teach them early and keep it relevant to real-life situations.
Teach Them Early
Some families start teaching the value of money with an allowance or paying for chores or odd jobs around the house. But this gets complicated as kids get older, especially if you have multiple kids or are on a budget yourself. Handing out difference allowances and payments for chores has incited “fairness” riots in our house. What’s fair when your six isn’t still fair when you’re sixteen, and when you have a six- and sixteen-year-old under the same roof, there’s bound to be some battles.
As your kids get older, they’ll notice more about how you spend money, especially if you are homeschooling and have three little birds peeking over your shoulder at all times.
“How does a credit card work?”
“How much money do you earn?”
“Why do some people have more and others have less?”
“How can I start earning money?”
“Can I spend money before I earn it?”
“Hey Mom, can I get a loan?”
How money works and the value of hard work are probably already an ongoing conversation in your home. As your kids get older, it’s important to stay open to these conversations and get some support in teaching your kids about money as they are ready.
Keep It Relevant
By the time you hit middle school and beyond, there’s more to learning about money than how to spend your parents’ hard-earned cash. Part of most middle school math curricula now includes spending per capita, sales tax percentages, and interest rates.
However, that’s only a small portion of the time you spend in math, and it may be difficult to make a solid connection to your child’s real-life experiences. To them, learning how to calculate a compound interest rate in math is an isolated occurrence.
It’s often left up to you to make that connection.
“We have to wait to buy XYZ until we have the money instead of just putting it on a credit card. Why? Because if we haven’t earned the money yet, we’ll be paying interest that makes it far more expensive than it actually costs!”
Explaining financial concepts to kids is difficult, though. Without actually earning money, seeing where it comes from, and how it’s spent, most of what we talk about are still theoretical. It’s helpful to have some support in teaching these important and practical life skills, especially when our kids hit that middle school age and beyond.
Homeschool Help for Teaching Money Management to Teens and Tweens
Homeschoolers have a unique opportunity to work on life skills on a regular basis, but it’s not always our top priority. Teaching life skills like financial literacy may not rank as high on your priority list as algebra or writing, especially if you find yourself in the trenches with multiple kids. One is learning to read, one is in the yard making observations for a lab report, while another is climbing your leg, asking for a snack.
When can we find time to teach important life skills like money management?
I’d like my kids to be more versed in managing their money than I was, especially while they’re still young. If you’ve experienced financial situations like student loan and credit card debt or huge fluctuations in our economy that we can’t control, you probably understand how important money management is. We want to give our kids the knowledge they need to face these challenges and make smart decisions when they’re on their own.
When I find myself stuck between a rock (limited time) and a hard place (limited knowledge), I lean on online resources and outsourcing. One fantastic program specifically dedicated to teaching money management for teens and middle schoolers is MoneyTime.
If teaching your kids financial responsibility is important to you, MoneyTime checks all the boxes. You can start as early as age ten all the way up to 14. (And probably a bit beyond if your kid is interested.) It’s an engaging program designed for kids using real-life situations. Your child will choose a job, learn about spending, saving, investing, rent or buy a virtual home, and more.
Teaching Practical Life Skills With MoneyTime for Kids
MoneyTime is a financial literacy program that’s entirely online. They’ve gamified the process, which is actually a very authentic way of learning when it comes to money management. Especially because as they age, by far most of their money will be managed online and through apps. Spending time manually balancing a checkbook is really a thing of the past.
The program is made up of 43 lessons. The first 30 focus on personal finance and can be done independently while the final 13 are optional and are designed for the parent and child to do together. These lessons focus on everyday tasks like earning, saving, spending and more advanced topics like owning property, investing, and business. Everything’s broken down for tweens and teens in a way that makes managing money easy to understand.
Engaging Money Management Game for Teens and Tweens
Lessons focus on different money management and financial topics. At the end of the lessons, kids take a quiz where they can earn in-game money. They can also earn money through their “job” and more by “furthering their education.” Smart.
Kids can then use this virtual income in an interactive game that goes along with the lessons. As in real life, they can spend their money on fun purchases, like new clothes for their avatar. They can also invest their money, choose to make bigger purchases like buying a home, and more.
The game allows kids to experiment with money in a safe space. They can apply what they’ve learned in their lessons and see the consequences of how they spend their money. Kids are trying to have the highest net wealth. There’s even an online leaderboard where they can see how they compare to other kids who are playing the game. Perfect if your kids were born with a competitive spirit!
Support for Parents Teaching Money Management for Teens
The 13 parent-child modules are designed to help parents talk to their kids about money on a personalized level. These modules give kids context about they’ve learned in the previous lessons and encourage open communication about money between parents and kids.
Of course it’s always important to keep these lines of communication open. But let me tell you, it’s far easier to spark these conversations with a little help. My son now has the background he needs to ask the questions he really wants answered. And, with the game as a frame of reference, he has more knowledge about how earning and spending works than many other kids his age – and even older!
Our Experience With MoneyTime
First, let me give you a little background about our family. I’m a homeschool mom of three, ages six, eight, and ten. I also run my own business from home. My kids see me working at all hours of the day and night, and we celebrate my milestones. They’re used to hearing about business finances (but in a kind of superficial way).
My kids have apparently inherited the entrepreneurial spirit. They can often be found sitting at the end of our driveway selling lemonade (or coffee once, which was pretty hilarious). They’re interested in working and earning money, but are probably more interested in spending it. I think most kids are.
This year, my oldest started pre-algebra with a unit on calculating sales tax and interest. He really lit up. I could see him making connection between what we do at home and in the world and what he was learning.
Of course I want to follow him down this rabbit trail… But as I described, I’m a working homeschool mom of three. Time is always an issue.
Screen Time You Can Feel Good About
MoneyTime has been a great solution for us. It allowed us to extend what my son was learning in math and dig into his new interest. We were able to dive deeper into learning about money and personal finances – topics I’m still learning about myself. It also opened up some meaningful conversations about earning and spending. All more helpful than me repeating, “money doesn’t grow on trees!” To which he always replies, “we technically paper is made from trees, Mom.”
This program was easy for me to integrate into our homeschool schedule. We can do two-three lessons each week for about 30 minutes per lesson. Plus, my son can complete the program independently, so I can work with my other kids while he learns.
This is the type of screen time he looks forward to that I can also feel good about. Yes, it’s a game, but he’s learning the entire time, whether he’s earning his online “money” through modules or deciding what to spend it on. I love that even the bonus activities, like dressing up his avatar, relate directly to learning. I never have to worry if he’s wasting time. It’s all time well spent.
Money Management for Teens and Tweens With MoneyTime
MoneyTime is an excellent math supplement that also teaches important life skills. I highly recommend this program. It is a great way to teach kids about money beyond allowance and the grocery store checkout. It’s especially great for homeschoolers looking for an online supplement that’ll keep your kids engaged and learning the entire time.
MoneyTime offers a subscription and annual membership options for homeschool families with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Plus, you can see what all the modules cover right on the website. So you can prepare yourself for when your kids start asking you about your home loan!!
Find out more about MoneyTime and see what the program has to offer. Plus, save 25% during the Summer Sale!
Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.