Home schooling your kids? Here is a financial literacy lesson plan

By Kenosi Magosha Time of article published May 19, 2020

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With lockdown the new norm, many are learning to juggle jobs, kids, partners and parents from the confines of their homes. 

It remains uncertain when schools will reopen and some schools are offering schoolwork or running online lessons resulting countless parents trying their hands at the challenging task home schooling whilst keeping a job down.

Getting through the schoolwork can be quite daunting but we shouldn’t miss the opportunity to teach children valuable life and money lessons amid the economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, if this is the time to revisit a new way of living, then there’s all the more reason to use the opportunity to teach our children how to get smart about life, money and saving. 

Teaching children about money management in the context of how life is lived could, in fact, instil a valuable foundation of financial literacy for life. 

Talking about money can be taboo and quite challenging particularly now when there is so much uncertainty on what the future holds. As challenging as it is given the times we are in, our approach can help with setting our children, families, communities and country for long-term financial sustainability. Teaching the value of each rand by tackling how money is made and the 3 S’s of money – spend, save and share… Spend: how to make the most of limited resources, Save: setting some for the future and Share: how to give if you can to help others.

Here are some tips on how to make money management part of the home schooling ‘curriculum’:

Earn and set a plan for the 3 S’s to develop bosses of budgeting: If you are able to, consider paying small sums for extra chores so children can learn to value what they earn. Help your child to create his or her own budget. Make it collaborate and exciting, and allocate it to what will be spent, saved towards goals, and share by giving to others.  Part of this will require tracking the budget together and, when variations arise, discuss how to make adjustments to get back on track or earn extra money or revise the budget with the appreciation where no extra money can be earned.

Spending – get creative, make more with less and focus on essentials

Government has expressed a view on essential items which can be purchased during lockdown. Smarter spending can also require looking into which of these are needs vs wants. Best way to involve children is when compiling a shopping list which has to work within the family budget which could account for the other 2 S’s: save and share. They can help identify needs (things the family cannot do without e.g. food) and wants (things which nice to have and need to be limited or added less frequently to the shopping list e.g. games, some snacks). Younger children can be given magazines to cut out and paste in a book where they sort the items into needs vs wants.

Now is a great time to teach a very valuable lesson: some of the best things in life are free. So the other way to make more with less – and take the rands further - is doing things which require less or no money: DIY and looking around for things which are offered for free online. For DIY, spend time with your children devising fun – and free- home-based activities together, like outdoor games, making own toys out of used boxes and bottle caps, drawing competitions and more.  If you can, make use of free online study materials to supplement school resources and zoom in on financial wellness lessons. Study materials have been developed for parents, caregivers and learners by the Department of Basic Education to assist with learning during lockdown. A list of online, broadcast and radio resources can be found here.

3. Saving - get savvy with saving

Ask them to set a savings goals from the start – to have a cushion for the future or pay something special they really want. Then help them to draw up a savings plan. Make it fun! Do the maths to demonstrate that the more chores done and smarter spending habits allow for more money to be saved, and the faster the ‘big prize’ will be achieved with some sacrifices and creativity. Make it visual. Consider a transparent money box (reuse transparent bottle which can be decorated and have picture of what is being saved for), or an online savings account for an older child where they can also learn how to manage money digitally.

The best learning takes place in day to day living and lessons learnt in context. School ultimately helps us to prepare our children to thrive in life. Whilst we may be unqualified to be subject matter teachers – grateful for the teachers who help us, we as parents have the opportunity to use this precious time to teach our kids about everyday money lessons at whilst at home and cultivate habits of working and 3’s of money: spending, saving, and sharing.

Kenosi Magosha is the Head of Client Solutions Savings at Sanlam


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