Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Roman Roads Media - Economics for Everybody Curriculum - a Crew Review

Roman Roads Media ReviewQuite often in the world of reviewing, we are given one choice - review item A - or don't. This review from Roman Roads Media included a plethora of choices, which made it hard to choose just one item to request. You may have heard of Roman Roads Media before. They have a lot of great resources to choose from, like Old Western Culture (The Greeks or The Romans,) Visual Latin, and Dave Raymond's American History I and II just to name a few. After watching oodles of intro videos on their website, Emily and I asked to be able to review their Economics for Everybody Curriculum. It has been a big hit in our house! When you're done reading our review, I encourage you to click on the Schoolhouse Review Crew banner at the bottom and go read about some of their other great products.

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. 

Roman Roads Media Review
 In the study guide you will find an introduction to the course that suggests how to divide the work to be done based upon the type of group that is using it, and the ages of the members. Thus, if your teens are going to use it for High School credit, they will probably need to select books from the 'List of Additional Resources' pages to read. Understand that this course IS a complete course on economics, but I would recommend you have your teens read at least one of the additional books to expand their understanding of just how much economics affects all parts of our lives. Since we did this review in the Summer, Emily (age 16) didn't have to complete an additional book while we were reviewing, but she will be reading more this Fall as we continue the course since Economics IS a state required course here in Indiana. I had recently read one of the recommended books, so I didn't do any additional reading during our review period. If you are using this course for a small group study, read through the suggestions and let the group decide if/ when they want to use any additional resources.

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!

If you're looking for other resources from Roman Roads Media, click the banner below to learn more about great Classical Christian education options! If you would like to follow Roman Roads Media on social media, here are their links:

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  1. Thank you for sharing! This sounds like something I will keep in mind for the future!

  2. sounds like a great product, I will have to look into it sometime.

    Annette @ a net in time (http://anetintimeschooling.weebly.com/a-net-in-time-blog)