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Economics is usually a 1/2 credit, semester-long class taught during senior year in high school. Sometimes homeschoolers want to provide a full 1 credit class on economics, or want to prepare for the AP exams in economics. There are a lot of different ways to cover economics as a homeschooler. Here are some options you might consider.
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Fast and Easy Economics
Not everything in high school has to be hard. Sometimes you can do things the easy way. Remember when we were in high school? At my public school, there were definitely some classes that we fondly referred to as "underwater basket weaving" because they were so easy. At my high school, that's what our economics class was like. We learned supply and demand and how to fill out the 1040EZ, and that was it! Of course I was completely unprepared for economics in college, and rumor has it that I almost failed Econ in college for that reason. (The rumor is "mostly true" because I actually got a 0.7 my first time through the class. When I took it again, I was tutored by an awesome guy named Matt Binz, and earned a 3.7 the second time around. And no, that's NOT why I married him!)
If you want to teach high school homeschool economics the low-stress, simple, good-enough way, consider this option. Use the Whatever Happened to Penny Candy Book plus the coordinating workbook. Presto! 1/2 credit of high school economics. This material is "Free Market Austrian Economics" for those who know or care.
If you want to beef it up a little, you might want to add the Basic Economics class from The Great Courses. That's a simple college level lecture that can help bring it up to a more challenging level but without making it a hard class.
If you wanted to beef it up a little more, and make it even more challenging, you might consider using Economics in One Lesson, by Hazlitt. I found the book as a free PDF download on the Mises.org website, or you can purchase it on Amazon.
If you want to teach economics in a challenging, thorough, literature-rich way, then I love to suggest Economics in a Box! This might be a semester of year-long course, depending on how many resources you use or add.
Economics in a box includes books, DVDs, and CDs, and is taught from a Christian perspective. Again, this material is "Free Market Austrian Economics" for those who know what that means or care deeply about economics. You can read the syllabus here, if you are interested. These are the key ingredients of Economics in a box:
Common Sense Economics by Gwartney, Stroup, Lee and Ferrarini Money, Greed, and God by Jay Richards Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury The Law by Frederic Bastiat DVDs with John Stossel Acton Media DVD The Common Sense Reader CD from the Heritage Foundation
Love Disclaimer: Big Mama Pride Warning Here! My son worked on the book Money, Greed and God by Jay Richards, providing some research, and he is mentioned in the Acknowledgments. Be aware that I love my son, and so therefore I love this book!
I homeschooled two boys. My older son did the bare minimum, and had a 1/2 credit homeschool economics class based mostly on Economics by The Great Courses. My younger son loved economics more than anything, and ended up with a whole credit of economics every year, using almost every resource known to man, it seems. He had a credit of economics, a credit of microeconomics, and a credit of macroeconomics. It was all delight directed learning. He loved the resources at Discovery Institute where he first met Jay Richards, attended Acton University during summer breaks, and presented at the Westerm Economic Association International Conferences as a high school student. If your child loves a subject, follow their interests in delight directed learning - even if you find it annoying. (Even when you failed the subject in college, like I did.) Try to find a mentor, if you can. And for goodness sake, include delight directed learning on the transcript! Just because they love something doesn't mean it can't be on the high school transcript. Loving it just means you can give them an "A" in the class!
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What do you do when you just aren't done with math before the year is done? Let me give you a few options, and you can decide which is best for your situation.
One Book In One Year is Impossible
You could measure math credits by counting hours spent on math. Some moms know their child can't complete a whole level each year. For them it makes sense to embrace the way God made your child, and give math credits not by textbook, but by the number of hours worked. In other words, it your young person worked at math for 45 minutes to an hour a day, then give credit for math, 1 credit per year. The title of the class is extra important in this option. You don't imply that your child got farther in the textbook than actually accomplished. To clarify that, you can call the class Algebra 1A, for 1 credit, for a whole year of work, for the first half of the textbook. Then call the class Algebra 1B for 1 credit, for a whole year of work the following year, for the second half of the textbook.
One Book Completed In Random Intervals
You could decide to give credit based on the completion date of each textbook. Some parents know the child is just working on their own time-table, being successful while only slightly slower than the average bear. Sometimes families will do year-round schooling, with math completion dates occurring at random intervals throughout the year. For them, it makes more sense to just give the credit on the month and year when each textbook was completed. So for this situation, math classes on the transcript might look like this:
Pre-algebra, 1 credit, completed 06/2014
Algebra 1, 1 credit, completed 12/2015
Geometry, 1 credit, completed 09/2016
That way is sometimes easier, I think, because there is less to keep track of other than completion dates. This may not be a good choice if a child is FAR behind, while still working hard all day, because they get short-changed for all the work they did just to get 1/2 way through a textbook.
Measure by Semester, Not by Year
You could decide to embrace the random start and stop time of your homeschool classes. Some parents prefer to give grades each semester, rather than each year, because the timing is just too difficult to figure out when each class begins and ends otherwise. If you do that, then each 1/2 textbook you can enter half the number of usual credits and give a grade. So on the semester system, a math book is still 1 credit, but each semester is 1/2 credit. I to have some transcript templates with semester grades available for you to look at, but templates are usually just by semester or by year. You can still add one class at a time that ends at the semester, if you like. This works well if your child starts and stops many classes at somewhat random intervals. Every 6 months, update the transcript with what was completed in the previous 6 months.
Over-Picky Parents Expecting Perfection
You may need to just lighten up, and your child can complete a math book per year. Other moms are just expecting more than a public school expects. In other words, expecting a child who struggles to complete every single problem in the book, from beginning to end isn't always the best choice. After all, a child only needs enough practice to learn, not all the practice problems that are provided in the universe. And homeschoolers don't need to complete all the chapters in every textbook, either. If you complete 75-80% of the curriculum, then it's done. So maybe Algebra 1 or Geometry will be done sooner than expected. If you need more help, I have some math articles to encourage you!
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"Occupational Education" is the easiest class you will ever teach! It is a homeschool requirement in some states (i.e. Washington State). I'm convinced it's the easiest class to cover in your homeschool.
Here are five easy steps:
1. Wait until your child becomes motivated by money 2. Your child will seek (or be forced to seek) a job 3. Count hours on the job 4. When your child accumulates 150 hours, call it a credit 5. Retroactively write a course description
All done! Piece of cake.
What did you include in your Occupational Education credit in your homeschool? Please share!
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