I have an eighth grader taking a careers class. It is by far the most influential and favorite class my kids take in middle school.
The reason this class is so great is the subject matter. Every week, the students learn about real life responsibilities and decisions. The last three projects my son worked on were:
- learning about taxes,
- credit cards and stock investments,
- planning a family vacation for four,
- and purchasing a car.
When my son came home with his investment project, he spent a considerable amount of time with his dad looking up stock prices. My son had to find companies to invest his allotted $5,000. He was required to track his ‘pretend’ earnings or losses, over the course of a month. And just like that, my son had an interest in and understanding of investing in stocks.
After working for several days planning a family vacation, my son came home exhausted and exclaimed, “taking kids on vacation is expensive!” He had planned a two week Hawaiian cruise, including meals and additional costs, right down to the Uber from the house to the airport. Unfortunately, we could not capitalize on his hard work, due to our much larger family size and incompatible trip date.
This week my son told me about the Jeep he has planned to buy. He also informed me of the importance of looking for a car with less than 50,000 miles and the best month to buy a car. (December is the best month because auto dealers are anxious to clear their lots for new inventory.)
My kids enjoy learning about all of these topics and I enjoy the excellent job the teacher does communicating with the parents. She emails regular updates (twice a month) about the topics she is teaching the students. Her emails include suggested discussion topics and questions to ask our child. Last month she sent a link to a TED talk titled, “When Money isn’t Real”, to watch as a family.
How do you talk to your kids about life skills and future planning?