Mothering Forum banner

Any "real life" curriculum out there?

573 Views 11 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  mama_kass
My 16 year old would like to do some sort of "real life" type curriculum. The public school around here has a class that they have to learn to budget, pay bills, make life decisions, etc. They kind of "play life" and have to go through good times/bad times.

Anyone know of a homeschool program like that? Or one that could be adapted?
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Hmm . . . I don't know of any curriculums but there are probably textbooks out there.

I took that class in HS and basically we were given a certain scenerio and had to made decisions based on it. We were given a certain amt. of income and then had to find a real apt in our area that we could afford by calling around, also do fake grocery shopping and pay the bills and car insurance and all that on our salaries. It took a lot of phone work and looking at ads in the paper and creating a weekly food menu that we could afford. Then add to the mix some of us were assigned to get married and/or have a baby and we had to plan the wedding and figure out how to pay for it, and we had to figure out daycare for the baby if we were working and factor in the cost of diapers and formula (yeah, I know). Some of us then lost our jobs and other things like that. It was a real wake up call that I couldn't make it on mininum wage and expect to do very well in life. I also decided to elope to save money and we decided as a (fake) couple to breastfeed and cloth diaper our baby. lol! Funny how things play out in real life (yes we eloped in real life, had a wedding later).

I wonder if you can open a checking account for her-- some banks even have ones especially for kids-- and put in some money and ask her to spend it, add money as she earns it (does she work at all, mow lawns or babysit) and balance the checkbook. Have her sit in on your bill-paying sesions and go over the budget with her . She'll probably appreciate you more!!

Maybe she can babysit to get some parenting experience. Or volunteer in the church nursery.
See less See more
What about creating it?

Give your daughter a print-out with a bio for her on it. Use the career that she is thinking about going into, and find an average salary for that. Give her an expenses list that she'll have to pay every month (rent, utilities, auto insurance, healthcare, food, etc.).

Do a unit study every few weeks. You could learn about childcare options and take care of a pretend baby. You could take a baby CPR class, and maybe babysit for a friend. Or maybe you could spend some time learning how to repair a car and finding out about how to go car shopping. Or, you could do a unit on cooking on a budget, experimenting with new recipes and learning how to shop with sales and coupons.

You may also want to look into a college textbook on personal finance.
Why not give her (monitored) control of the family finances for a while? She could create and tweak the budget, pay the bills, do the shopping and saving, etc. She could also keep track of receipts for taxes and file the 2006 return (man, that would have been a helpful lesson to have learned before going out on my own). And, if you're considering any large purchases, she could research the best deals. Lots of opportunities here....

Nothing like real life for a "real life" curriculum!
See less See more
College text books! Get some personal finance, child care, etc text books... and then review the information and projects in those. Likewise, look up the websites for community colleges, check out their classes, and pick a few that sound similar to what you are trying to create. Then call the school, talk to the teacher of that class, and ask for an overview of the projects and teaching ideals - check out the text and be on your way to having more ideas for your own curriculum than you could possibly use!
that you might find helpful. I believe (not 100% sure) they also have a consumer math course that covers budgets, etc,.

You can check the Home Economics section at

She could take basic auto classes, cooking classes, and financial classes as enrichment classes at most community colleges. They're the non-credit adult ed classes.
There's something that Visa (the credit card folks) started a few years ago that I think is really good for teens. It's the visa buxx program and it has stuff on the website to teach teens investment, savings and proper spending. Of course there's also the visa buxx card which is a bit like a debit card. You choose the amount that goes in and when.It can be an auto depost fromyour bank account,a chosen deposit when you feel like you can afford it or the child has earned it,or an amount that the child has worked for through a part time job or chores,etc. They can use the card just like any other debit card.
The website for it is at

Oh,yeah and I think you can also get one of the "training" baby dolls from some hospitals.Might also check with planned parenthood to see if they have them or if they might know where you can get one to use for teaching.


Originally Posted by Maggi315
My 16 year old would like to do some sort of "real life" type curriculum. The public school around here has a class that they have to learn to budget, pay bills, make life decisions, etc. They kind of "play life" and have to go through good times/bad times.
As unschoolers, we live "real life" every day! Why play at it when you can "do it"? No curriculum needed!
I say give her some freedom in your own home. Sounds like she is really growing up and ready to start being a grown-up. Less than two years and she's an adult.

Maybe you could give her a budget to buy groceries for a week? She would be responsible for planning the shop and the meals. She would also be responsible for delegating duties associated with the meal planning like cooking and clean-up.

I like the idea of the pp. Put her in charge of your finances with supervision. She will learn about paying bills, budgeting, and she'll be doing it IRL.

I think the sky is the limit. When she completes a task like one that is mentioned above and wants more, give her more. I'm sure after a few suggestions she will come up with her own ideas of what she would like to try next.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.