Economics for Everybody Curriculum is a solid, Biblically based explanation of economics, that includes 12 video lessons and a 236 page study guide. For the review, we received the downloadable form of the video lessons, and a PDF of the study guide. The course is also available as 2 DVD's and a printed study guide. The downloadable format costs $36, while the DVD version costs $45 (plus shipping.) This course can be used by families, small groups, or co-ops where the members are 6th grade (around age 12) and older.
The study guide could teach you all that is contained in the videos (since it has a detailed outline of each video,) but you would miss out on all the fun 'shorts' included in the teaching videos. Your teacher for this course is R.C. Sproul, Jr. He includes a lot of humorous and/ or instructive shorts (like Charlie Chaplin) and videos of his family doing an activity (like washing the dishes or purchasing yarn) to illustrate his points. Both of the girls laughed at some of the videos (even though Arlene, age 14 claimed she wasn't ready to learn about economics yet!)
I appreciated the way that Mr. Sproul uses passages from the Bible to help explain the basic principles of Economics. With lesson titles like "And God Created Economics," "The Economic Problem of Sin," or "The Route From Scarcity to Plenty" you can imagine there is a lot of Bible teaching going on in this course, and you would be correct! As a Christian, I find this refreshing and encouraging. What is the use in teaching our children about economics if they're not understanding why it is important? We need to have a goal in mind for our family. Our family's goal with learning about economics is to better steward the resources God has given us. In lesson One "And God Created Economics" you both hear and read this definition: Economics is man making choices as to how to best use his limited resources in order to be a good steward before God.
Each lesson builds upon what you have previously learned. Now that we are about halfway through, Emily has a good grasp on basic economics principles, and I have had a refresher course (taught from a Biblical perspective, not a materialistic one.) Kurt watched one of the early videos with us and was impressed with the quality of the teaching. If you choose the downloadable version, know that you can either stream the videos, or download and save them for later viewing. We chose to download and save them to my computer. At times, it seemed like everybody in the house wanted on the internet for something at the same time that we were trying to watch a video. That can put a strain on even the best DSL connection, so I found I preferred having them already downloaded so I didn't run into a buffering issue.
We chose to view the study guide on the computer instead of printing it out. 236 pages is a lot of ink! Each chapter in the study guide begins with suggested Scripture readings, lesson objectives, and a quote about economics. Then comes the detailed outline of the video. After the outline comes multiple choice, short answer, and discussion questions all related to what was just covered. Even if you had a High School aged independent learner, they would still need help from someone to 'discuss' the last set of questions.
There is nothing to keep you from watching these videos as a family. There is nothing inappropriate for younger children, they just probably won't understand some of the concepts. This course can lead to a lot of great discussions even after the lesson questions. Emily is learning to evaluate everyday actions in light of their economics impact. I think she better understands now why we often bake our own bread, and save the $ to spend on other items (like field trips!) It doesn't take much time or many resources for one of us to make a loaf of bread, and when you figure we can easily spend $16 or more a month on bread... see my point? In the past, Emily didn't understand it very well, but now she does.
If you are a plan-ahead type (A) person, you can read through the outline before you watch the videos. We aren't and we didn't. We watched the video, then we answered the questions. If your student needs to keep a record for their portfolio for an annual review or evaluation in your state, you could easily just print out the pages with the questions for each lesson, and have them write out their answers instead of doing it orally.
Overall we really liked the Economics for Everybody Curriculum. Emily did point out that by lesson 5, the video clips are sometimes more modern (from the 1970's as opposed to the 1920's and 40's.) Don't worry, there are still a lot of silent film/ Charlie Chaplin clips used to illustrate Mr. Sproul's points in each lesson.
This course would make an excellent homeschool curriculum, as well as be beneficial for families and small groups. If you are mentoring a younger family (especially one that wants to know why they should stick to a budget) this would be helpful for them as well.
If we are good stewards of what God has entrusted to us, we can better use HIS resources to help spread the Gospel. If it's time to get your family in line with solid, Biblical economic principles, click on over and order your copy now. I think you'll be glad you did!
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