Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Economics for Everybody

Because I have used and totally love Visual Latin, I was contacted about the possibility of reviewing the latest curriculum produced by the Compass Cinema folks -- Economics for Everybody.


I was a CPA in my previous life, and back at the University of Minnesota, and North Dakota State University before that, I have taken plenty of economics courses.  I found the subject fascinating, and I have intended all along to have my children take at least an Intro to Economics semester course in high school.

Connor is actually starting a full year economics class to prepare for the AP tests in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics in the spring, which meant that when this chance came along, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to add it to our plates.

Well, I did.  And I'm glad I did.

Economics for Everybody is a joint production from Compass Cinema (how I heard about it) and Ligonier Ministries, and it features Dr. RC Sproul, Jr. doing a series of 12 video lessons that range from 15-27 minutes in length.  There is also a study guide (250 pages) that outlines each lesson and provides a variety of questions covering the material.

In addition, if you want to use this for high school credit, there are suggestions of some textbooks and the study guide contains reading recommendations for those texts.  You can find those high school suggestions in their FAQ.

I received the pdf version of the Study Guide, and was able to download the videos.  With the downloads, we can watch on the computer, on the iPad, or we can link it up so we can view it on the television.  I love having something so portable!  The videos are also available on a 2-DVD set, and the Study Guide is available in a print version.

I read through a fair amount of the study guide myself, and have started watching the video lessons with my three oldest, who are all in middle school or high school (6th, 8th and 10th grades).

Here is the trailer:

This gives you a flavor for how the videos are set up and what is being covered.  This clip is actually a segment from the first video - What is Economics?

One thing I love is that the videos feature a lot of different kinds of footage.  There are clips from old movies:

Or from art:

There is footage that looks like it was shot in normal life:

And that includes normal life in places that aren't the US:

They give a fair amount of description as to what the lessons cover on the website, so I'm not going into a lot of detail about that here.  I mostly want to focus on how we are using this, and what my plans are for the future.

We are sitting down, when the little two are outside or after they have gone to bed, and watching a lesson.  We talk a bit about the lesson.  Then we go over the study guide as a group discussion, going through the multiple choice questions and referring back to the notes in the study guide when we disagree on the answers.  We do disagree about answers!  I very much appreciate that the multiple choice questions include some that present you with more than one credible answer, so it isn't something where you can get everything right just by paying a wee bit of attention.

The greatest part of this, however, are the open ended questions.  Some elicit a couple minutes of conversation.  Some we can discuss and debate for a half-hour or more.  We may not agree with everything Dr. Sproul states, but the questions are such that we can explore the concepts more and really think about our view and his.

My kids are really enjoying this too, though Thomas pretends not to.  And they all told me they know they are learning something.  What I like is that the materials explain some of the often confusing terms and concepts in a way that is accessible to even my 11 year old.

How we plan to use this, long term:  Since I already own materials for Connor to use for this year, I am using this as an introduction to the overall subject, and he will also work through the AP Prep materials starting in October.  I wasn't sure there really was enough there for a full credit, so this helps to round that out.

For Thomas and William, this will be a semester long middle school course, and we will see what happens for high school.  I may have them work through this with the suggested textbook for a 1/2 credit in high school.

For my younger two, we will revisit these materials when they are in 6th and 8th grades.

I do recommend this program, and not just because I do get affiliate income if you purchase it by clicking here or on the Homeschool Economics graphic at the top of this post. (If you click the other text links in this post, you can purchase it without giving me credit.  That is totally fine too!)  I think for the money (and it is on sale through TODAY -- regular price of $45), this makes a great middle school or high school course, and you might learn a bunch from it too. 

There is a lot to explore at the website -- including the entire first lesson and clips from many others.

Disclaimer:  I received this program through Compass Cinema.  This post does include affiliate links. No other compensation was received for this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. 

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