How To Teach High School Economics

Economics.  It’s about earning and spending money.  It’s how businesses grow.  It’s using resources to satisfy needs and wants.  It’s taxes and interest rates and credit cards and savings accounts.  It’s in everything from local production to global trade.

The study of economics is as important for the “average person” as it is for the economist.  Why?  Because so much of it reaches into the very pocketbook of every single home around the globe.

Besides the practical side that most of us face on a daily basis, there are philosophies of economics that shape our country, other countries, and our world.  As citizens (and therefore voters), we get to have a say in the future of our country’s economic system through the leaders we put into office.

Will we live in a free-market economy forever?  Do we even know what a free-market economy is?  Do we care?  Of course we care!  Remember, economics impacts us on a daily basis.

Our children – as citizens, as future voters, as future leaders, as consumers, as future producers, as future providers – need to understand the ins and outs of economics.  On every level.

Just in case I haven’t convinced you yet that your homeschooled high school student really should take an economics course…in many states there’s actually at least a 1/2 credit requirement.

I love our high school economics course!

This post contains affiliate links.

Don’t worry!  You don’t have to understand everything about economics to teach it well.  I didn’t understand much before learning alongside my children as we went through the materials I’m introducing to you today.

We’ve chosen to require a full credit of economics in our homeschool.  And here’s a look at our very simple-to-implement plan:

How to Teach High School Economics

Semester 1:  Read, discuss and respond to the following three books:

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury (I use the accompanying guide to help guide discussions and provide ideas for further research and tests.)

Common Sense Business for Kids by Kathryn Daniels

Capitalism for Kids: Growing Up to be Your Own Boss by Karl Hess

How to Teach High School Economics

These books are easy reading, so getting through three in a semester in high school isn’t a big deal.  (Many people use these books in middle school because they aren’t too heavy.  I don’t have a problem assigning them in high school with an accelerated pace, though.  Bluestocking Press actually sells a curriculum specifically for high schoolers, but I already own these, so they are what we use.)

Our week typically follows this path:

  1. Read two or three days
  2. Discuss one day
  3. Written responses OR further research OR a small project OR test one or two days

So, if we’re reading two days and discussing one day, we are completing assignments listed in #3 the other TWO days.  If we end up reading three days and discussing one day, we only complete ONE day’s worth of assignments listed in #3.

Check out my review of Bluestocking Press books at The Curriculum Choice.

Semester 2:  Go through the Economics for Everybody DVD’s and study guide.

How to Teach High School Economics

This Christian worldview economics course is DVD-driven.  I love that!  There are 12 DVD lessons with accompanying materials in the student guide.  Here’s what our typical week looks like in this curriculum:

  1. Monday – view the DVD lesson and read the Scripture selections from the student guide
  2. Tuesday – discussion with mom (I use lecture notes from the student guide to lead the discussion.)
  3. Wednesday – read a quote found in the student guide and write a thoughtful response
  4. Thursday – review the lecture notes from the student guide and take the provided quiz (multiple-choice and short answer)
  5. Friday – choose a discussion question from the student guide and write a one-page response

The DVD lessons are presented by R.C. Sproul, Jr.  While I don’t always agree with him doctrinally, I do like this course because it strongly emphasizes Bible principles as related to the study of economics.

Check out my review of Economics for Everybody at The Curriculum Choice.

During Both Semesters:  We practice these FREE Economics Vocabulary Flashcards at least once per week.

(You can get your own free set!  To order them, go to the very tip top of their home page and click “Order Fifty Nifty Cards.”  You’ll receive a nice set of 50 economics vocabulary cards and 50 cards of matching definitions with a little booklet of game-like ideas for reviewing the terms.  They’re a great addition to your homeschool!)

Economics For All Ages

Economics instruction isn’t just for high school!  It’s really, really good to begin talking with your children about economic principles and introducing them to terminology early.  I’m sure you’ll love this post about resources for teaching economics from elementary through high school.  (Other ideas for high school curriculum are included in this post, too.)

Economics is easy to teach in the homeschool!

Do you include economics instruction in your homeschool?  Which curriculum is your favorite?

I can teach YOU how to teach economics!

As an educational consultant for the Center for Economics Education at Eastern Kentucky University, I teach professional development classes to elementary and middle school teachers to show them how to implement economics lessons in their classrooms.

I’m happy to teach homeschool parents how to implement a solid economics curriculum, too!  While you can (and should) teach economics at home, it also makes a GREAT co-op class.  If you’re interested, shoot me an email.  If we can’t work out a hands-on class in person, I’m happy to teach you during a phone consultation.

Consumer & Business Math Are Important, Too

While we’re on the topics of important-to teach high school subjects, it’s a good time to mention two courses I feel are must haves for all students:  Consumer Math and Business Math.

Much like economics, consumer math and business math teach skills that every single one of us must use on a daily basis in some form or fashion.  I don’t regret for one minute making time to teach both of these during the high school years!

So, while you’re busy planning for algebra, geometry and maybe even calculus, please consider the importance of preparing your children for the math they’ll use every day, too – banking accounts, interest, loans, budgeting, sales, finance charges, taxes, investing, profits & losses, etc.  We were able to complete both courses during one year – giving us 1/2 credit for each course.

Electives for High School

Here are some other high school curriculum posts you might like.

A veteran homeschool mom shares high school curriculum that has risen to the top of her list over the years.
Picture books make highly motivating mentor texts for teaching writing to middle and high school students!


  1. I love this!! These are the 2 curriculums I was trying to decide between and you merged them (the economics for everybody and whatever happened to penny candy)! My son would be in 9th and he will have to do a lot of this independently. I am thinking of making the penny candy book and workbook as independent work and then maybe we could do the video together and discuss. He only needs a half credit. Did you find that both of these were easy to get through in 1 semester? I’m wondering if that is too much simutaneously?

  2. Billie, if your son is fairly independent already, I don’t think he’ll have any problems completing both curricula in one semester. I might suggest working through the DVD course at a slightly faster weekly pace than I listed in the post and leave open a day (or even two) per week for Penny Candy. You could also move at a faster pace through the DVD course and complete it entirely before starting Penny Candy. I’d love to hear how it goes if you care to stop back by at the end of the semester!

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