Monday, March 10, 2008

Budget Class

This morning during our school time I asked Cole to help me prepare the budget (our
"month" starts on the tenth). Those of you who read this blog regularly know how behind I am on our finances. I decided that today was the day to begin ironing out the wrinkles. I seem to never get it done because of the kids interrupting my concentration, so I decided to throw them purposefully into the mix and see what happened.

The first thing I did was get out the Monopoly set and pay Cole one month's salary, in mixed bills. He was amazed and kept exclaiming about how MUCH he had in his hot little paws. I was thinking, Just you wait and see....

The next things we set out were the ten-key, a piece of paper, and a pen. I asked him to tell me as many things he could think of that we would need to pay for over the course of the month. He surprised me with some (he remembered insurance on his own) and I surprised him with the vast NUMBER of the others. Soon we had a good long list, and his face was starting to fall when he looked at the money in his hands.

I wrote our salary number on the piece of paper, and away we went. One by one we went through our list, subtracting out all the necessary expenditures. After each one was recorded on the paper, Cole subtracted it on the ten-key, read me the new number, and then "paid me" for the bill. The closer we got to the end of our list, the more melancholy he became, finally saying, "Mom, I don't think we're going to have enough for gymnastics or the quilts (a future project)." I encouraged him to not give up too soon, and when all was said and done, we did have just enough for both the gymnastics class AND the quilts!

I was surprised at how many tangents a simple budget discussion created. Cole learned how to calculate ten percent, how to perform simple functions on the ten-key, and how to read numbers in the thousands. We discussed where and how a tithe might be given, why it is important to save a portion of every check, and what the difference is between health insurance and disability. We also worked hard to prioritize our expenses, making sure that the basic needs were satisfied before moving on to any luxuries.

I'm thinking now that this jointly affair should become a monthly occurrence. Having a helper certainly got me out of my finance rut, and I loved being able to see Cole's whole world expand with every new topic. He definitely has a new perspective on the daily workings of the checkbook!

On an unrelated note: A few days ago, the boys asked for some sliced cheese with their breakfast. They hadn't been eating more than a minute when Reese suddenly arranged his slices in his hand and said, "Got any 3's?" Cole immediately followed suit and they spent the next 20 minutes or so playing Go Fish with their cheese. I think it is hilarious how intently they are studying their "cards"!


Jill said...

What a great lesson in finances! Now that is hands on learning. Cheese cards - I love it!

Lynne Paulus said...

I'm so impressed at your creativity and realization of a great teachable topic. What a great visual lesson! I think using the Monopoly money would be helpful for adults to visually see where all the money goes too!

Cheesy Go Fish, so funny! I love how little minds work!

Heidi said...

What a great way to involve your kids! Thank you so much for the inspiration. I'm gonna have to try that with my oldest and see what we come up with. Definitely need to get a budget in place this month!

Anonymous said...

Isn't this what homeschool is all about? I love how homeschool kids think...and that they have the freedom to use their imaginations and learn by their own style/format of learning. AWESOME work my friend! Love, Kristie

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