There are more practical matters too. I hope that my kids leave high school with an understanding of what taxes are, how to figure out how much money you will save over time if you pay a little extra on your mortgage every month, and how to make a budget. A lot of this learning is going to happen at home, but might I suggest a free resource that could help kids along the way to better financial literacy?
It’s called ZipBooks. (Full disclosure: I helped build this program.) ZipBooks is a free accounting software program designed for small businesses. It works great for anyone who wants to keep track of the money their business makes, and its expenses, in one convenient place.
It’s also great option for teaching kids since it’s not as intimidating as many other accounting programs. While still providing a range of accounting features, it’s intuitive enough for a student to start exploring on their own after only a few minutes of instruction.
I think ZipBooks would be an especially good fit for the high school and middle school context. You can show students in Math, Finance, or Home Economics classes how to track their expenses, create accounting reports, and balance their books.
For example, you could give groups of students a budget ($5-$10) and ask them to record all their expenses for an assignment. That assignment could be anything from cooking a meal to presenting a business plan. Maybe as part of the assignment, they could turn in a financial report, which is easy to generate in ZipBooks.
Another way to use the program would be introducing basic budgeting to high school students. You could also ask each class member to record their individual expenses in ZipBooks over a month-long period and then require them to make a budget plan based on their findings.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of ways you could use ZipBooks to help teach personal and business finance. I’d encourage you to check it out and see if it would be a good addition to your classroom. To get a kid to where they need to be to thrive and succeed, there are going to be a lot of teachers and a lot of free tools. ZipBooks is nice because it integrates with Google Apps for Education.
I’m a big believer in ed tech, so I hope ZipBooks is one of those tools because I want to feel like I am giving back to an educational system that helped me succeed. But regardless of what you prefer, I think we can all agree on the importance of preparing our kids for the wider world out there. And once they’ve mastered their own finances, there is nothing holding them back to reach the stars!
About the Author:
Brad Hanks is a veteran marketing consultant. He is currently working on ZipBooks, a QuickBooks alternative for small businesses. In his free time he likes to work on his drone and make math and science fun for his 3 daughters.