5 Money Skills To Teach Your Homeschoolers Before Graduation

A common criticism of the typical American educational system is that life skills for the real world are not taught. I'm sure you've heard a complaint similar to this one many times, "They can solve for 'x' in an algebraic equation, but don't know the first thing about balancing a budget!". You needn't look further than today's headlines to view financial problems facing us today. Credit cards, student loans, mortgages and the like have gotten out of hand for many American families. How can you best prepare your children to avoid the common financial troubles facing Americans? 

“Look at the mortgage crisis and how many families lost their homes — 3.9 million foreclosures. Look at the amount of money — $1.1 trillion—we owe in student loan debt. The amount — $845 billion — we owe in credit card debt. It’s pretty clear that adults don’t know much about money. To help the next generation avoid the mistakes of their elders, and to live financially fit lives, they need to be taught the essentials about money.”
— Beth Kobliner, author, Get A Financial Life


Fortunately, homeschooling families have the advantage of purposefully selecting curriculum and experiences to best prepare students for life. In no particular order, here are five skills to include in your homeschool student's education before graduation. 

1. Know How To Budget

I was never taught about budgeting growing up. Odds are, you weren't either. It wasn't until I was in college, trying to figure out how to handle my bills, that I realized I lacked skills in this department. Good habits are best taught right from the start, so when you're planning to get your children involved in family budgeting, the sooner the better.

How to teach this skill:

  • Get your children involved in family budgeting from an early age. For example, when you are thinking about a vacation, include them in that process. Discuss the costs and planning associated with a vacation and how it fits into the family's financial picture. Chances are, they will appreciate the family trip more because they were involved. As they get older, it can be beneficial to get them involved in family finances, such as budgeting for monthly utilities.
  • Utilize allowance. Weekly allowance is an excellent teaching tool for budgeting. How much allowance, and whether or not it is connected to chores, is entirely up to each family. For our family, we have decided to keep allowance and chores separate. We provide a modest weekly amount ($1 per week for each year of the child's age - an 11 year old would receive $11 weekly) to allow for small purchases. For larger purchases, they're required to learn to save and budget. 
  • If your family uses a budgeting program, such as YNAB (You Need A Budget), allow your children to learn the program with you when it's age-appropriate. We utilize a budgeting program and it has helped our oldest understand comprehensive budgeting - from a bird's eye (big picture) perspective, right down to the nitty-gritty activity of daily spending. Specifically, it has helped in understanding the monthly inflow and outflow of money, where that money goes, and how quickly small, unplanned purchases can add up!

2. Learn How To Pay Bills

Paying bills on time is crucial to keeping your credit score strong and I highly recommend a monthly routine to ensure nothing falls through cracks. It's all about organization. For us, we utilize online banking. All of our bills are located on one website. We're able to monitor and pay them from one location. 

How to teach this skill:

  • When it's age appropriate (about age 8 in our family), begin to demonstrate to your children to your bill paying system. In our case, it was interesting for our kids to understand that some bills are ongoing, such as utilities. Conversely, other bills have a loan attached to them and can eventually be paid off, like your mortgage. 
  • Introduce the concept of how there are different ways of paying for things. For example, a bill can be paid for with a debit or credit card. Big difference there! It was important for us to teach our kids that using credit cards is merely transferring debt and that you still owe the bill amount, plus interest. 

3. Become Financially Literate

This is a big, complicated monster of a concept. Even economists and the like, who study finance as a career, will tell you that America's financial institution is difficult. Yet, don't let that stop you from developing a core understanding of the basics. Knowing what money is, how it's regulated, and the ways we can use it makes us feel more in control of our finances. Remember, knowledge is power. 

We were not taught financial literacy in school. It takes a lot of work and time to change your thinking and become financially literate.
— Robert Kiyosaki, Financial Literacy Activist


How to teach this skill:

  • Learn about the history of money. Essentially, money is something of value. Over thousands of years, money has transitioned from animals and shells, to coins, to paper, and now is primarily electronic. Resources are limitless on this topic. A great place to start is, NOVA: The History of Money, PBS
  • Understand the United States government's role in money. The federal government issues currency, levies taxes, and borrows money. Additionally, U.S. Congress established the controversial Federal Reserve Act with three goals in mind: maximize employment, stabilize prices, and moderate interest rates. The Center for Economic & Financial Education (CEFE) provides educational resources for younger and older kids. 
  • Discover the different ways you can use money. To start, introduce the concept of Saving, Spending, and Giving. There are even piggy banks divided into these very three sections that are available for purchase for younger children. As you move beyond the basics, discuss how money can be spent on things you need and don't need, and describe the importance of saving for future goals and emergencies. Additionally, it's an excellent opportunity to focus on the value of charitable giving. One last thing: don't forget to differentiate between spending and borrowing (i.e. putting purchases on credit cards). 

4. Focus On Math

Some attest that understanding mathematical concepts is just as, or possibly more, important than financial wherewithal in terms of predicting economic success as adults. The OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, conducted a worldwide study with 29,000 15 year-old participants. Released in 2014, the study "assessed the financial knowledge of teenagers dealing with financial issues, such as understanding a bank statement, the longterm cost of a loan, or knowing how insurance works".

Generally, students scoring highest on mathematical concepts also received the strongest marks for financial understanding. The top scores came from Shanghai, China where schools focus heavily on math, and specifically conceptual understanding. 

A lot of decisions in finance are just easier if you’re more comfortable with numbers and making numeric comparisons
— Shawn Cole, Harvard Business professor

How to teach this skill: 

  • Most importantly, select a math curriculum your student finds success with. 
  • Look to the schools in Shanghai, China. Students are expected to be full participants during lessons. Their focus is on understanding and application, instead of memorization.
  • Chap Sam Lim, from the University of Malaysia, studied five Shanghai schools and observed six common educational characteristics: 1. Teaching with variation. 2. Emphasis on precise and elegant mathematical language. 3. Emphasis on logical reasoning, mathematical thinking and proofing during teaching. 4. Order and classroom discipline. 5. Strong and coherent student-teacher rapport. 6. Strong collaborative culture amongst the learning community. 

5. Understand What Money Can Do For You

Knowing how to use money and knowing what money can do for you are different concepts. In essence, I support "paying yourself" first. If you learn how to utilize money before your 20s, you're ahead of the ballgame. Some of the best things money can do for you are securing adequate protection, setting aside an emergency fund, and if you develop focus and patience, reaching big life goals, like purchasing a home. 

Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.
— Zig Ziglar, American Author

How to teach this skill: 

  • Introduce the topic of insurance protection. Appropriate insurance is necessary for protecting yourself against the unknown. Scholastic and Life Happens have teamed up to create a curriculum called, Next Generation, "providing lessons on risk management, life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance and financial planning" (Scholastic, Next Generation). 
  • Teach the importance of setting aside an emergency fund. Let's face it: we know it's inevitable for unplanned expenses to arise. Generally, you will want to set aside, at a minimum, three-month's worth of your income. For your student, this could mean setting aside their allowance. Many financial experts recommend working towards having a year's worth of income saved. 
  • Focus on the importance of goal-setting. Specific, attainable, long-term, and short-term money goals are a surefire way of bringing financial happiness into your life. For example, assist your student in documenting a specific goal (i.e. new shoes), how much it will cost, how long it will take to save for the goal, and any potential roadblocks to meeting the goal. Regularly review your goals. 


Homeschooling families have the benefit of selecting and customizing curriculum, and financial education should be included.

Insurance Happens is an independent life insurance agency, specializing in families who homeschool or have an at-home parent. 











How Homeschooling Families Can Prepare For Emergencies

For most, we hold the assumption that it's a matter of time before an emergency of some sort will strike our community. I don't mean to sound doomsday. But, it's naive to believe that a natural disaster (fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami, lahar, tornado, or hurricane) or other type emergency won't impact your family at some point in your life. 

Luck favors a prepared mind; luck favors a prepared person.
— Richard Hamming, American Mathematician (1915-1998)


Self-sufficiency and preparedness feel good during calm times. They can be life-saving in an emergency. 

Here's how to prepare your family:

1. Set a meet-up. In the event that it's not safe to stay in your current location, have a plan with your immediate family (and inner circle of friends) and share this form. Agree on a spot to meet, like a landmark or park. (Source:, emergency plan from CA State)

2. Build a basic supplies kit. At a minimum, your family should have (Source:

  • Water - one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation for at least three days.
  • Food - supply of non-perishable food for each person for at least three days. 
  • Battery-powered radio - with extra batteries. Consider purchasing an emergency radio that can be charged by sunlight and can charge your cell phone, like this one.
  • Flashlight - with extra batteries.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle - to signal for help.
  • Filter Mask - for air pollution. 
  • Moist Towelettes - for sanitation.
  • Wrench or Pliers - to turn off utilities. 
  • Manual Can Opener - if emergency kit contains canned food. 
  • Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape - to shelter in place. 
  • Garbage Bags and Plastic Ties - for personal sanitation. 
  • Unique Family Needs - such as prescription medication, infant formula, diapers, and important family documents. 

3. Educate yourself on your communityBefore an emergency strikes, find out who the local authority is on disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, lists state-by-state resources. 

4. Train yourself (Source:

  • Take a CPR and First Aid Certification Course (see directory at
  • Citizen Corps offer Emergency Response Team classes. 
  • Read Arthur T. Bradley's bookHandbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family.

5. Settle Personal Details - before an emergency.

  • Assess your home insurance policy's coverage of natural disasters known to strike your area. 
  • Be sure your will is up-to-date. If you need a will, Willing is a great place to start. 
  • Life insurance is important. Make sure you have appropriate coverage. Insurance Happens can help you. 

Finally, if you would like to incorporate emergency preparedness into your homeschool curriculum, check out the free resources provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Youth Preparedness Program.

SAHMs Don't Need Life Insurance

Did the title grab your attention?

Here's the deal: No one needs to have life insurance. Life insurance isn't for you; it's for those that depend on you. SAHMs (stay-at-home moms) should want it. 

If you have loved ones who rely on you, and heaven-forbid, should something happen to you, the consequences would be devastating, of course. To even think about that is terrifying. Yet, don't let that stop you from making a plan. 

While life insurance can't touch the emotional impact of loss of life, what it can do is provide financial peace of mind. Even if you don't earn money, and you stay at home with your children, estimates that a SAHM's annual financial worth is over $100,000! SAHMs are difficult to afford and you should seriously consider insuring that worth. 

Here are 3 things you need know about life insurance:

1. Life insurance is surprisingly inexpensive. For a fraction of the cost of a daily latte, most can purchase appropriate term life coverage. 

86% say they haven’t bought life insurance because it’s too expensive, yet overestimate its true cost by more than 2x.
— LIMRA and Life Foundation

2. Life insurance doesn't have to be complicated. The insurance industry is notoriously confusing and has earned itself a bad reputation. Don't let that stop you. The simplest way to protect your family is to select a term policy for the duration of time family members are dependent on you. Here's an example:

SAHM Mom, 35 years old, children ages 10 and 12. Annual worth of $100,000.

Term policy for 10 years (until youngest child is out of the house) for $1,000,000 (10x your annual worth). 

Monthly cost of $18.60. 

3. Life insurance can help your family function. Consider the following things that life insurance proceeds can take care of:

  • Childcare
  • Outstanding debt (credit card, student loans)
  • Mortgage
  • College education for children
  • Household needs (cooking, cleaning, yard work)
  • Funeral costs

Life insurance is cheaper than you think, doesn't have to be complicated, and can provide for family essentials. You don't need it. You just might want it. 

Insurance Happens specializes in helping moms and dads find appropriate term coverage. The best way to get started with is with a no-obligation, free quote.



3 Life Insurance Tips For Families That Homeschool

Homeschooling parents have made a significant and impressive decision in the lives of their families. It's no easy task to take your children's schooling into your own hands and requires careful planning, diligence and patience. The end result is an educational experience tailored to your child's talents and needs, one that provides an excellent opportunity for success in life. 

Home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions. Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges
— National Home Education Research Institute, 2015


If it's important to maintain a homeschooling status, no matter what life brings, careful planning is essential. Take action on the following three things to protect your family's homeschooling plan. 

1. Insure the working parent - For many homeschooling families, one parent works full-time while the other parent teaches full-time. Be sure to have appropriate life insurance coverage outside of the working parent's life insurance through their job. Typically, life insurance through an employer will only cover one or two years worth their annual salary. That's not enough coverage for most families and the policy disappears if you leave that employer. Generally, we recommend 10 times the amount of an annual salary, plus funds to pay off a mortgage. Free, instant quotes can be found here.

2. Insure the teaching parent - While it's common for parents homeschooling full-time to not have an income, their value is crucial. To continue homeschooling, or transition into another educational plan if something were to happen, funds would be necessary. For example, a life insurance policy could cover private school, online school, tutoring, curriculum, or a homeschool co-op. To read about the value of a Stay-At-Home Parent, check out this article from

3. Get a will - Be sure to name guardians for your children. Knowing they will be in good hands, and that your life insurance policies will be handled effectively and appropriately, is priceless. Willing is an excellent online resource.

Chances are, you'll never need the life insurance policy. Be prepared anyways. Protect your children's education by making a plan. Your future self will pat you on the back for doing something super-responsible. Get started with Insurance Happens. We specialize in helping homeschooling families. 


6 Reasons Homeschooling Families Need Life Insurance Protection

To all the homeschooling families out there, I applaud you. You are making an investment in your children that is invaluable. When we made the decision to homeschool our family, we knew it would be a rewarding adventure - one that required careful planning and flexibility. Homeschooling families are cut from the same cloth; a fabric that is high-functioning, creative and responsible. 

Let's focus on one of the character traits of homeschooling families: responsibility. Because you have made an important decision to homeschool your children, it's imperative to have a back-up plan should something happen to you. As a fellow homeschooling family, I know the passion and importance you have placed on that choice. Protecting your homeschooling strategy can be accomplished through life insurance. The good news is it's cheaper than you think. 

People with no life insurance overestimate its cost by three times. And even those who have coverage, overestimate its cost by two times. A latte costs $4 per day while life insurance can cost about $1 per day.
— Life Happens: True Cost of Life Insurance, 2015

Life insurance creates a contingency plan. Consider the following reasons why homeschooling families need life insurance. Policy proceeds can be used to purchase:

1. Online courses

2. Private tutor

3. Homeschool co-op costs and tuition

4. Private school

5. Curriculum 

6. Extra-curricular lessons (i.e. piano or snowboarding)

If it's important to you to continue homeschooling, regardless of what life brings, life insurance provides options. Consider it a safety-deposit on one of your most important assets - your children's education. 

To get started with a free no-obligation quote, click here. Insurance Happens specializes in helping homeschooling families obtain appropriate life insurance protection.