Needs, Wants, & Finances – Studying Economics with Boundary Stone

My son will be a junior this fall and has expressed a growing interest in economics. He loves watching YouTube videos that explain supply and demand – particularly in relation to aviation and luxury cars.

Knowing that government and economics are required courses for high school students in Oregon, I was eager to find a curriculum that was both engaging and informative. Boundary Stone’s Basic Economics fit the bill.

This post is sponsored by Boundary Stone. I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and a positive review was not required.
As always, I only review products that I find useful and think you will enjoy!

When the kids were younger, we enjoyed listening to the audio book, Smart Money, Smart Kids, by Dave Ramsay. It provided a good starting point and from there we developed a financial plan for our family.

Teaching Our Kids About Money: Earning Commissions

Teaching Our Kids About Money: Developing Entrepreneurs

While Ramsey’s resources provided an introduction to finances – which we circle back to often as things come up – I knew we needed something more. We need the bigger picture of how our family resources fit into the puzzle of global economics.

Boundary Stone’s Basic Economics Course

I selected Boundary Stone’s Basic Economics course. I liked that it offered both an asynchronous / self-paced online course (with embedded videos and quizzes) and a physical textbook (a chronological presentation of information with glossary and index for easy reference).

When you flip through this book you will see no math, and very few graphs. The focus is on ideas.

What’s Included:

  • Basic Economics 4th ed. textbook
  • Student access to online course for full year
  • Student access to Budget mini-course

Basic Economics includes 4 units of study divided into 6 modules. Each module is further subdivided into daily lessons for a total of 79 lessons. Used together with Government, Basic Economics would provide a full year of high school credit.

The course builds on what you should have covered previously in Boundary Stone’s government class.

We did not begin with the government class as we had covered this topic previously but I can see how it would have been beneficial to review. The two courses are offered in a bundle. This makes planning a full year of high school social science courses easy.

Benefits of Boundary Stone’s Basic Economics course

As a Dave Ramsey fan, I loved the term project whereby my son had to prepare two personal monthly budgets. One used a salary of $25,000 and a second used minimum wage. This was an eye opener for him and provided us the opportunity to discuss payroll withholding, housing options, loans, car ownership, insurance, and more.

The Budget Project’s real-life budget project, offered as a free mini-course, is a great balance to the faith-based textbook. It can be used as a stand-alone project. However, using it alongside the online course you will need to account for one day per week in your schedule.

I also like that the course includes a hardbound book. He gets so much screen time as it is. I appreciate that he can read the assigned chapters the “old fashioned” way, in print. I encouraged him to take notes as he read and to use the Getting the Point questions to ensure he understood the concepts. We also went through the review questions at the end of each chapter together so I could stay abreast of his progress.

Boundary Stone also has bundles designed for homeschool co-op teachers. These include multi-print licenses for the government study guide. The economics study guide can be found in the textbook.

Boundary Stone’s homeschool Economics curriculum also incorporates online lessons, videosand outside reading in addition to the textbook (which is lacking in color and photos). This adds that little spice and helps ensure students are engaged.

Tell Me More

Upon purchase, students have access to the online material for 12 months. Students have the freedom to develop a schedule of their own and to work through the course at their own pace. If you follow the suggested syllabus the course can be completed in a single semester. If you go at your own pace, the 12 month window is still generous.

Allowing a student to work at his own pace is important to me. It gives them control over their schedule and allows them a sense of autonomy. The quizzes though are limited by time and can only be completed once. This may be a concern for students that have processing delays.

The online lessons keep track of where he left off which makes it easy to pick it up again the next day or so. Once he has completed everything in the lesson, he marks it complete. When he takes a quiz, an email with his score is emailed to me.

An optional teacher’s guide (including an answer key) is also available as a digital download. It includes lesson plans that are very similar to the layout of the online course, however it lacks the linked articles and embedded videos.  

Using each component will transform the textbook into a comprehensive course, deeply based on both Christian and free-market principles. Boundary Stone’s economics course is based on the premise that our rights come from God. It follows the premise that we have rights, those rights come from God, and we need to protect our God-given rights.

Boundary Stone Giveaway!

If you’re looking for an online economics curriculum for high school, you can’t miss Boundary Stone’s Basic Economics for high school.

Use coupon code StoneReward2020 to receive 15% off all purchases through 8/23/2020.

Elections 2016: A Visit with Our County Clerk

With the current circus that is our current election season, the kids have had many questions about the elections process. There were only 7 and 9 years old during the last presidential election, so it is no wonder that they’ve taken a greater interest now.

A short time ago, an article in the Wall Street Journal showed a picture of people lined up at a polling station somewhere in America. “What are they doing?” my son asked. “Voting,” I casually responded. I further explained that in Oregon, we have a mail-in ballot system. We thereby don’t have to wait in line. We cast our vote by mailing our ballots to the county clerk. He didn’t inquire any further so I didn’t think anything of it until a few days later.

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Jeffrey recently joined Boy Scouts and one of the first merit badges he began to work on was Citizenship in the Community. One of the required tasks reads:

Choose an issue that is important to the citizens of your community. Find out which branch of local government is responsible for this issue and interview one person from this branch of government. Ask what is being done about this issue and how young people can help.

“People are interested in the elections. I’d like to know more about that,” he said. “Can I interview the county clerk?” 

Later that week, a homeschool friend posted a picture of kiddos visiting the county clerk’s office in Deschutes County. Serendipity! I picked up the phone and made arrangements for a visit to our own.

A Visit with Our County Clerk

In our county, the clerk’s job is twofold – elections and records. She is responsible for filing vital records or important documents related to the county’s population, including birth, death and marriage certificates. Services provided are:

  • Land Records
  • Public Records
  • Marriage Licenses
  • Dog Licenses
  • County Filings
  • Board of Property Tax Appeal

2016 electionsThe county clerk is also responsible for coordinating all voting processes in the county. Services provided are:

  • Voter Registration 
  • Candidate/Measure filing 
  • Election Management 
  • Ballot Processing 
  • Redistricting

During our visit the clerk led the kids through the entire process. They were given mock voter registration cards to see how our signatures are entered into the computer system. Thereafter, we were mailed mock ballots with which we voted for fictional positions and two mock county measures. The clerk and her assistant than walked us through the process by which our signatures are verified and our votes tallied.

I was very impressed with the thought and preparation our clerk showed for our visit. It is clear that she takes her job very seriously and enjoys her work. She has held this elected position since 1999 – no one has ran against her since her first term.

When asked what young people can do to help she responded, “Be informed. Learn now how to research the issues for this will be a skill you will always need. Be knowledgeable on the issues that will affect your communities. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to always seek out information.”

We look forward to going back as her team processes the real ballots during the primaries in May.

Cultural Diversions with North Star Geography Sidebars

We have been using North Star Geography for a few months now and I am continually impressed with all that it encompasses as well as how flexible the program is for our homeschool lifestyle.

Cultural Diversions with North Star Geography Sidebars @EvaVarga.net

This post contains affiliate links.

Cultural Diversions with North Star Geography Sidebars

Embedded within each of the sixteen high-level geographic lessons are green sidebars that bring attention to real-world examples of the concepts and topics addressed throughout the curriculum. In the introduction author Tyler Hogan writes,

“The hardest part of writing this curriculum was deciding what NOT to include. So many interesting places, facts, and stories are with discovering ….”

I love this! These sidebars not only provide clear examples of geographic concepts but introduce students to places of cultural importance around the world.

As we travel internationally each year, the sidebars embedded within each lesson are of particular interest to us and we have often jumped around in the text seeking them out as they relate to our travels. We use the sidebars as points of comparison and as the carrots of our rabbit trails for student-led learning.

The Tube Map

In the first unit, Geography Skills, one of the sidebars focuses on subway maps. I love that the author describes how the London subway came to be called the Tube and how maps of the underground transportation system evolved to more user-friendly.

My children first experienced a subway when we were in Sweden. Though my husband and I had experience on the New York subway – navigating one in a foreign language added to the difficulty and we had a few moments of stress. stockholmtubemap

Fortunately, the people were very helpful and we made our way from our hotel, to the T-Centralen station where we transferred to a trolley before reaching our final stop on the island of Djurgården, though one stop farther than necessary so we backed tracked on foot.

We further practiced our skills at reading a tube map in China as we utilized the subway to get around the major metropolitan areas of Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Having experience reading a tube map was particularly useful as fewer people spoke English.

The Three Gorges Dam

One sidebar that was of particular interest from the Physical Geography unit was that of the Three Gorges Dam in the Hubei province of China. While we hadn’t visited this area when we were traveling, we enjoyed comparing the construction of this dam to that of Shasta Dam, which we toured a year ago.

The sidebar briefly mentions the ecological results of constructing the dam and from this a discussion ensued. The kids were able to recall watching an Oregon Field Guide episode on breaching the Condit Dam.

The Chinese One-Party System

An understanding of the culture and politics of China is of growing importance and as students of Mandarin Chinese, we found the sidebar describing the Chinese One-Party System from the Human Geography unit of interest.

Utilizing this sidebar as a starting point, we then used the graphic organizers in the Companion Guide to direct us in researching our own state and national government.

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Linked up with The Massive Homeschool Geography Guide at iHomeschool Network.