Cover Image for post titled Personal Finance Course Review: Beyond Personal Finance showing the workbook opened to a page about college.

Personal Finance Course Review | Beyond Personal Finance

*We received one year access to this to the Beyond Personal Finance Course and a small fee in exchange for this review of the product.  However, the opinions expressed are solely our own.*

One of the most important skills our children need to learn to be able to “adult” well is how to manage money.  Unfortunately, many of us parents were not taught good financial skills and so it can seem daunting in our homeschools to teach our children how to manage personal finances.  And that is why I am excited to share this review with you!  I have the perfect solution for teaching your kids how to manage their money over the long haul.

Beyond Personal Finance has created two personal finance courses that are perfect for homeschools.  Before Personal Finance is for tweens, which is a workbook with ten introductory finance lessons to work through. We completed lessons 1-5 as our fourth quarter elective this past school year.  Beyond Personal Finance is a one semester course for teens, which consists of a workbook PLUS an online course.

Below is an in-depth review of the teen workbook PLUS online course.  We were planning on using Beyond Personal Finance this upcoming school year as soon as we finish the Before Personal Finance course.  However, after completing this review of the product, we may save it until later in my son’s high school career.

There is so much good stuff in it that I want him to be able to apply in his adult life so it seems like doing it closer to adulthood makes sense.  I think 11th grade would be the sweet spot for completing the course.

Here are my quick pros and cons and then check out the rest of the review below for details:

Pros:

  • Very experienced and engaging instructor.
  • Easy to get started.
  • Doesn’t need much involvement from homeschool parents.
  • Workbook closely follows the video lessons.
  • Activities are engaging and the skills learned can be applied directly to real life.
  • References given for the data used in the course such as average salaries for different careers.
  • Works with a variety of schedules…only requires about 40 hours over the course of a semester.

Possible Cons:

  • It is a financial investment at a cost of $150 for one year access to the course.  Additional students can be added for $50 to cover the cost of an additional workbook.  If you have multiple children close in age, it would make financial sense to have them complete the course in the same year.

Pinnable cover Image for post titled Personal Finance Course Review: Beyond Personal Finance showing one of the videos in the online portion of the course.

Who is Beyond Personal Finance?

The founder of Beyond Personal Finance is Charla McKinley.  She was a homeschool mom and has 25 years of working as a Certified Public Accountant.  She was inspired to write the Beyond Personal Finance Course during her homeschooling years to help open student’s eyes to the high cost of being an adult.  Her goal of the course is to prepare teens for adulthood by giving them “the opportunity to practice making good (and not so good) choices using real dollars before they get out into the world and have real regrets.”

Who is the Beyond Personal Finance Course for?

The Beyond Personal Finance is designed for teenagers in middle and high school who have a good understanding of decimals, percentages, and basic algebra.  If you are wondering if it is appropriate for your children, you can print out this quick assessment and see if they are ready.  The assessment also gives you an idea of the practical skills your teens will learn in the course.

I think completing the course in the last couple years of high school would be most beneficial and help kids apply the lessons to real life.  However, if you have multiple teens then having them work on it together during the same year would make a lot of sense.

Your teen will also need to work with Google Sheets during the course so having access to that app and some basic knowledge of how to work within Google Sheets is important.

How is the Beyond Personal Finance Course set-up?

There are 20 lessons in the course, with each taking about 1-2 hours.  Each lesson is referred to as a “year” so the idea is that students are learning how to manage their money for the long haul…20 years, in fact. They will see how their different choices affect their savings account over the years.  They may also find themselves in debt and then you can help them figure how they got into that situation and how to get out of it.

Printed pages showing the scope and sequence of the 20 lessons in Beyond Personal Finance Course.

The lessons are spread over three units.  At the end of each unit, there is a “checkpoint” to assess what has been learned in the unit.  Unit 1 covers colleges and careers, budgeting, buying a care, renting an apartment, and getting a pet.  Unit 2 takes students through credit cards, interest, paychecks, buying a house, and insurance.  Unit 3 covers charitable giving, investments, business basics, bumps in the road, and income tax.  Finally there is one extra lesson at the end on retirement.

There is a “scene” for each lesson that helps students think through real life scenarios.

For example Lesson 1 in Unit 1 is titled “Colleges and Careers”.  The Scene is “Future You Gets a Job”. This is a great lesson because it has students look at different careers, what college will cost for those careers and how much those careers pay.

It has students assume that any college costs now covered by the parents will be covered by student loans so that students have a very realistic view of the cost of college and what they can expect to make afterward.  I know too many students that start college with no real understanding of how much debt they are taking out or what kind of salary they will make when they finish.

Open Beyond Personal Finance Course book showing a lesson on choosing college and all the expenses involved.

The scene for Lesson 6 is “Future You Gets Engaged” and is used to teach students about credit cards.  In this lesson, students learn that how much their spouse makes and spends will impact their life.  They also think through how much weddings and honeymoons cost and who will pay for them.

Open Beyond Personal Finance Course book showing a lesson on credit cards and key terms.

How are the lessons set-up?

For each lesson there is a 2-4 minute Teacher Talk video that tells parents what their children will be learning in the lesson.  I love how the course is mostly hands-off for the parent, yet we still know what our kids are learning, what assignments they need to complete, and can anticipate questions they might have or discussions we might want to have with them.

The student begins the lesson by watching a video.  The video for most lessons is between 20 and 30 minutes long, although a few are shorter. Charla teaches each lesson and uses a screen that correlates to the student’s workbook.  Each lesson starts with Key Terms, which the speech-language therapist in me loves!  Before you can learn and discuss a topic, you have to understand and speak the language.

Computer screen showing a lesson with the course with the video portion.

The lesson then continues with examples, information you need to know, and prompts to write important information down in your workbook so you will have it to refer back to when you need it.  Charla finishes each lesson by explaining the homework assignment(s) the student needs to complete.

Students then access their assignments below the video.  There are hyperlinks to resources they need as well as to any Google forms that need to completed.  If there is are printable pages for the lesson, they are also downloaded from the lesson page.

Some lessons have plot twists, which we became familiar with during the Before Personal Finance for tweens.  When prompted, you go to a separate app and “spin” a wheel.  You are then given a scenario you didn’t not plan on and need to adapt to.  For example, during Before Personal Finance, we received the plot twist “You decide to donate $50 to support your best friend’s fundraising efforts.” My son then had to find room in his budget to accommodate this unplanned expense.  These plot twists add a fun, yet realistic, element to budgeting.

Screenshot of the wheel the student spins to select a plot twist.
Screenshot

In addition to plot twists, students in Beyond Personal Finance also spin to see if they have more children after their first child.  Talk about a plot twist!  😊

While some lessons will require an entire week like the first one about careers and colleges, students could get two lessons done per week most weeks.  Finishing the lessons in one 18-week semester is realistic if a student spends 2-4 hours each week on the course.

Try the Beyond Personal Finance Course

We are excited to work through the Beyond Personal Finance Course sometime in the next couple years.  As I said near the top, I think 11th grade is the sweet spot for the course and I think we will wait until then to start it.

Have you tried a personal finance course in the past?  Do you have questions about Beyond Personal Finance?  Comment below or send me an email.

 

 

 

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