Here are some free personal finance courses and resources. Scroll to the bottom of this post for some free, downloadable readers about money.
High School Financial Planning Program: Designed by the National Endowment for Financial Education, these materials for middle and high school age, come in six units that cover Money Management, Borrowing, Earning Power, Investing, Financial Services, and Insurance. Register at the site and you can download the booklets or order print copies.
Next Gen Personal Finance: Offers a free set of online lessons covering personal finance basics. The curriculum, published by the non-profit Center for Financial Capability, is presented in a series of units that include text and video resources, and activities.
Practical Money Skills: Features teachers guides and activities on money management for grades K - 12. Lessons for the earliest learners introduce money (what it is and how to earn it), then moves on to such topics as savings, loans, credit, budgeting and investing. There are 22 lessons for high school.
CompareCards.com: This credit card comparison site has free lessons for middle school and high school students on the basics of credit, credit cards and investing.
Banzai: This site teaches key concepts in personal finance by presenting students with a number of real life scenarios. Tasks to be completed include paying rent, understanding your paycheck (taxes withheld, direct deposit, gross and net income), budgeting for gas, groceries and other expenses.
Money Wise Teen, a series of financial literacy video lessons created by the California Council on Economic Education. Designed for middle- and high-school students, the animated vignettes cover basic economics topics such as scarcity, budgeting, credit, compound interest, and paying for college. The 10 video lessons are available on the Money Wise Teen YouTube channel; there's also an accompanying 84-page PDF Teachers Guide.
Financial Football: Players gain yards and score touchdowns by correctly answering financial questions. There are three age levels to choose from: Rookie (ages 11–14), Pro (ages 14–18) or Hall of Fame (ages 18+). For each age group, there are downloadable lesson guides with discussion questions, activities, quizzes and other exercises. Combined with the game, this seems like something that might work well in a group setting or homeschool co-op.
Looking for non-traditional methods and materials for math instruction? These free sites offer creative math exercises and problem-solving activities that can help your children learn math concepts -- minus the dry textbook questions.
Relating Math to the Real World
RealWorldMath: This site enables students to take the math concepts they’re learning and apply them to a variety of tasks using information, images and tools in Google Earth. After downloading the Google Earth application, download lessons at the RealWorldMath site, and you’ll be able to open the files in Google Earth. One lesson gives students practice solving volume problems using some famous geometric places (the Great Pyramid of Giza; the Leaning Tower of Pisa; the World Trade Center site; and others). When you open the file, you can click on and fly to different locations and you’re prompted through the exercises.
Other activities inlude: calculating time zone differences; using historical data and solving cipher messages to find hidden U-boat longitude and latitude positions; finding area and circumference of circles after flying to various “crop circle” locations; estimating and measuring distances between landmarks; exploring mazes and labyrinths around the world. The site’s author also provides suggestions for using the activities in other subject areas, and additional resource links. There is a password-protected “Teacher” portion of the website where you can access lesson overviews, worksheets, and some answer keys. Fill out the form under the “Contact” tab and the author will send you the password.
FoodMaster: The hands-on activities at this site use food and cooking to teach math (and science) concepts. You can download individual chapters and answer keys for grades 3 - 5, and labs for high school. Grades 6 - 8 materials are currently being evaluated, according to the site. Explore measurement and conversions, ratios and percentages, comparisons, etc. using a variety of foods. Many activities involve graphing and experimentation.
MathCounts: Solve a variety of word problems: compare the value of two summer jobs; perform calculations with gift cards; explore percents and probabilities with ice cream, and more. There's an archive, where you can view past problems and answers. The exercises can be searched by topic (Moon Math; Pizza Problems) or concept (measurement, percents and fractions), with new problems presented each week. Also at the site are MathCounts Minis, videos teaching math concepts, with downloadable worksheets and answer sheets.
Math Maven Mysteries: This Scholastic site presents short story mysteries to solve, and in the process, you're reviewing key math concepts. Categorized by skill and diffifculty level, and the mysteries can be downloaded.
Math In Your Backyard
Maths Outdoors: It's amazing what math investigations can be done with just some sticks and stones: shapes and symmetry; angles and fractals; measurement, multiplication and many more. This site is full of a lot of great ideas, not just for exploring math concepts, but for educating outside in the other subject areas.
Careers Using Math
Math Apprentice: Interactive site that shows how math relates to different interests and disciplines. A player takes the role of an intern to explore eight businesses where math is used to solve problems. Enter a building, and an employee explains the math behind a particular job, and presents you with an activity. You can also read more about a career and explore math concepts used in each profession, (eg. learning the importance of shapes and angles when designing bicycle frames).
Math games using a standard deck of cards can help your kids learn and review math concepts, plus have some fun. Beyond modifications to old faves like Go Fish, War, or Concentration, the following games provide a variety of computational challenges, and can be adapted to various age groups. (Note: be sure to check out the comments at the end of this post for additional games).
Remainder Jump: This game uses playing cards plus a printable game board to review division and the concept of remainders. The object of the game is to be the first player to reach "Finish," so players must develop good strategies to move the farthest on the board. They'll be dividing, subtracting, and thinking about factors of numbers, plus honing their mental math abilities. Other free math games, puzzles, and worksheets are available at the site, called Beast Academy. You can also print out their standard deck of Beastie cards.
1000 Wins/0 Wins: For practicing addition and subtraction: player that creates combinations closest to 1000 or 0 wins.
Fast Food: For practicing multiples of numbers: make cheeseburgers, fries and sodas to score points.
OrdOp: Use a standard deck to practice order of operations and computational skills.This version includes a printable set of cards numbered 1 - 25. Here’s a video showing how to play:
Bino: Players try to make combinations of cards that will give them the most points, using both ordinary and binary numbers.
Dice and Card Games: This 11-page PDF includes a single-player solitaire-style game for studying sums or multiples of numbers; Go Fish, Concentration, and War variations; other addition and multiplication games.
Acing Math: This 69-page download features a collection of card games categorized by grade, and covering the core processes, plus other areas such as fractions, percents, decimals, positive and negative numbers, patterns, place value, exponents, and others.
Two Math Games With Cards You Can Easily Make:
Easy Piecy Decimals: You’ll need to make a deck of 20 or more playing cards with monetary decimal values between $0.00 and $1.00 to two decimal places. A 10-sided die is also needed, and you can print one here. The object is to practice adding, subtracting, and rounding simple decimals. Links to additional resources to teach decimals are listed.
Algebra Rummy: This game’s goal is to get players more familiar with algebraic terminology. You need to create a 54-card deck with algebra terms. Play is similar to standard Rummy, except you’ll be forming sets of 3-or-more like terms (3y, 5y, 6y), or like coefficients (4x, 4y, 4xy). Game can be extended by forming equations. Includes a list of algebra terms and links to additional resources.
Make Platonic Solids With Cards: Not really a game, but a twist on building with cards. Downloadable template and instructions for forming a cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron out of playing cards. Make cuts and slide them together -- no glue needed.
Be sure to check out the comments section for more games that have been added to this article.