Monday, December 19, 2011

Thinking About Business Math -- Any Advice???

I am practically a connoisseur of math curricula. My oldest has difficulty with math and other forms of non-verbal problem-solving, and she's is extremely math-phobic. I was very much the same way when I was in school! If I hadn't had one outstanding Algebra teacher in high school -- a terrific lady who seemed to teach to my learning style -- I'd probably still be having nightmares an flashbacks to this day. :-D As a result, I've done a comprehensive survey of all the math curricula that DON'T work for my daughter. I've bought Saxon, Abeka, Math-U-See, Singapore, Life of Fred ... shall I go on? Nothing really fits my son, either. He is good at math and non-verbal problem solving, but he's a classic "right brained" learner, and traditional approaches to math just frustrate him.

One thing my two older kids have in common is that they won't apply themselves to anything when they don't see the relevance to their lives. Most people are that way, come to think of it. My older daughter probably won't pursue a career in a math or science related field -- her passions are writing and film. My son is interesting in computer programming, so he may need plenty of advanced math down the road. But he's not far along enough yet to see the relevance, if you see what I mean.

I started thinking that I should approach this from the angle of teaching them something about money and business (and hitting some arithmetic and algebra along the way). I've recently gotten involved in a small business venture. It involves writing, mostly, plus a little marketing. I didn't have to invest a dime in this venture, but I'm spending a lot of time on it, and I won't see any money until we launch this spring. My kids are having trouble "getting" why I'm doing this. They understand my teaching. I work, and I see a check at the end of the month. But they don't seem to grasp why I'm spending time on something when "I'm not getting paid." Hmm...

I started thinking a priority for the new year should be helping them understand a bit about money and business, because I don't want them to be limited to working for somebody else in a strictly traditional sense. Honestly, business and money skills aren't my strong points either -- to say the least -- so we may end up learning together.

But what and how? There's helping them start a business, of course. Doing what? I don't have a clue.

There is also the Your Business Math Series -- does anyone use this? It's recommended for grades 3-6, and my kids are approximately in grades 2, 7, and 11. I'm wondering whether, with a LOT of tweaking, adapting, and supplementing, we could do this curriculum together as a family? Or something similar? Is there anything else like this available?

Note: one thing puzzles me Your Business Math. The monthly expenses are extremely unrealistic:
  • City Electric Company $5.50 
  • Municipal Water and Sewer $7.45 
  • American Gas Company $4.00 
  • Store Rent, Inc. $50.00 
  • BizBell Telephone $9.75 
  • Cleany Trash Collection $3.50
Plus it looks like they only have the student making a few monthly sales. Is it set up this way intentionally, sort of like Monopoly, to make it easier for younger kids?

It looks like are are also kid friendly books on entrepreneurship and investment. Are any of these any good?

This and this look interesting, too.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Ideas? Words of encouragement? :-)