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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in elementary education from the University of South Florida. His...
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Teaching Kids About Money

One criticism of education (and there are many :)~ is that schools fail to teach kids about money. If you haven't come across a money system created by fifth-grade teacher~ Rafe Esquith~ you need to read his second book "Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire." There's a lot of good ideas in that book~ but the money system is something I believe should be taught in all classrooms across... the country.
Essentially~ the kids work jobs and have to pay rent for their desks. They also earn fake money for getting As~ doing their homework~ etc.~ and are fined for messy desks and other offenses.
Once a student saves three times their rent~ they can buy their desk and no longer have to pay rent. After that~ they can also buy other students' desks and charge them rent.
At the end of the month~ students can use extra money to buy items at an auction.

The system teaches students to write checks~ balance checksbooks using ledgers~ save money~invest~ spend wisely and work hard. Furthermore~ the method really does not take much class time and can be done during cleanup time at the end of the day or when the students first come in~ etc.

In my six years of teaching~ I have yet to see something that really motivates students to work harder and gets them excited than this system. It is a fun way to fill in some of the gaps in terms of providing an education about money.