Financial Fitness for Life®: Personal Finance Lessons for Grades K-12 - Parent Guides
Financial Fitness for Life® (FFFL) provides high-quality instructional materials for use with students from kindergarten to grade 12. These materials are presented in separate publications for four grade levels (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12); within the grade levels, lessons are clustered in themes. The overarching goal of the materials is to help students make thoughtful, well-informed decisions about important aspects of personal finance, including earning income, spending, saving, borrowing, investing, and managing money. All lessons are based on real-world concepts, and are presented in a manner that reinforces learning through practice.
Parents can play an important role in developing their children's personal financial literacy. Available online at the Council for Economic Education website at no cost are the parent guides that are intended to work in tandem with the student and teacher guides (fee required) to be used in and out of the classroom. These guides provide background information and activities, linked to the lessons, which parents may use to reinforce and extend their children's or their own understanding of topics in personal finance.
The parent guides: Financial Fitness for Life ®: Personal Finance Lessons for Grades K-5 (95 pages) and Financial Fitness for Life®: Personal Finance Lessons for Grades 6-12 (62 pages) are available in both English and Spanish.
The Financial Fitness for Life series is a proven financial education curriculum with extensive support materials and resources. The Financial Fitness for Life resources (this is a comprehensive K-12 financial literacy curriculum) is soundly based in the field of personal finance. The theoretical framework for Financial Fitness for Life Parent Guides does not directly relate to the field of adult education, however, the framework is based directly upon financial literacy and does an excellent job of addressing, at the appropriate age levels, the common and necessary themes of understanding and improving financial literacy skills. Because it is targeted to parents and educators, it would directly translate well to adult learners, who are also parents, as they learn financial literacy skills and then take that knowledge further by educating their families. The resources are indexed according to individual state standards for teaching of economics, personal finance, mathematics and language arts.
The Financial Fitness for Life Parent Guides are simply a resource within this series. The Parent Guides are most useful in engaging parents and family in financial discussions and understanding/evaluating financial habits in their household. The engaged family will find that the activities and resources presented will help even the most sophisticated parent consider both their own financial decisions and assist their child in preparing to make sound decisions in their futures
The Parent Guides lack the content basis that is provided in the instructional units. This is not a weakness of the Guides, but rather a characteristic of their intent for use. The materials are easy to read, could translate to use in a teacher's classroom, but would also be beneficial one on one with adult learners who could use them in their home environment with their own children, nieces or nephews, or younger siblings. They are organized into financial themes that match the instructional units. K-5 themes are: Earning Income, Saving, Spending, Credit and Money Management. Grades 6 - 12 are: The Economic Way of Thinking, Earning Income, Money Management, Saving, and Spending and Using Credit.
The organization then moves to pencil activities for students (and likely many parents) to reinforce classroom content with context from daily family living. The parents and students are then presented with activities (games, role playing, discussions, etc.) to reinforce and extend the content. Finally, the content then provides the parent with additional resources for content in the theme (books, web resources, etc.). The Financial Fitness for Life has "Literature and Links" provided at the end of each grade level guide. These resources are important background and foundational knowledge for the resources. One might validly question, however, whether the majority of households, parents and guardians in the U.S. are sufficiently versed in personal finance content to use the Parent Guide materials in isolation of the content found in the instructional units. The concepts are solid and will help adult learners reinforce what they may have recently learned by 'taking home' their new financial literacy knowledge and having the tools (this guide) to help teach others.