Have you ever thought about teaching your kids about economics at young age? I came across a really neat resource recently and am excited to share it with you. There is a series of books by BlueStocking Press called the Uncle Eric books. They are geared more for older students, but I have a really bright son and wanted to start teaching him some of the things in these books. I received Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury for free to use with my children and review on my blog. I also received a free copy of accompanying the Economics Guide by Jane A. Williams.
About Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? is all about the history of money. It is written in the form of letters between an uncle (Uncle Eric) and his nephew, Chris. The letters are Uncle Eric’s answers about all different kinds of questions about money: it’s origin, inflation, recession, depression, and more. The author uses historical events from Ancient Rome to explain different economic principles.
It starts by saying that this book was written for those who think that economics is best left for the experts (which I mud admit, I always have thought that). The book is written in such a way that my 9-year-old and I were truly enjoying it and learning so much from it. Topics on economics are usually thought to be too advanced for most people, but this book makes it understandable for kids and adults alike. There are clear explanations and descriptions that make it understandable and even enjoyable. (Yes, did you know economics can be fun?) I have to say that I wish I had read this book when I was younger so that I would have understood this side of money all of my life. I took economics in college and it was HARD! Having this book would have definitely made my life easier back then.
I love what the author, Richard Maybury says, “beware of anyone who tells you a topic is above you or better left to experts. Many people are twice as smart as they think they are, but they’ve been intimidated into believing some topics are above them. You can understand almost anything if it is explained well.”
Throughout the book there are bolded words that are defined in a glossary in the back. I love that they did this. It is really helpful for younger children to have an easy way to look up words that they may not understand. Also, I loved that at the back of the book it teaches you what to do with your new-found knowledge. It has a whole “Beyond the Basics” section allowing for further investigation and more reading, There are several other readings, and ideas for books, websites, movies and other ways to learn more about economics. These books REALLY are set up to teach your kids (and you). They are a fabulous resource and should be required reading for all kids in school.
The book is short and could easily be read in a day or two by kids. I took it slowly with my son, just reading a chapter each day. It was a perfect speed for him since he is younger than the recommended age. But despite him being young, he really enjoyed it and liked what he learned. I am excited to read more of the books in the Uncle Eric series together. I am highly impressed!!
About the Economics Teaching Guide
The Economics Teaching Guide is a wonderful resources as well. It starts out with a series of recommended reading before getting into the book. There are articles about various economics topics to help kids better understand it all. They are a fabulous introduction! Also in the teaching guide it has suggested teaching strategies with a time frame on how long to study each chapter. For each chapter, they give little assignments. There are terms to define, short and discussion answer questions, assignments, and extra research ideas. There is even a final exam and project ideas included as well as ideas for even MORE additional reading. It is set up in such a simple way to teach in a classroom or at home. I am seriously considering teaching a class from this guide in my homeschool co-op next year.
Some more about the Uncle Eric Books
There are eleven books in the series covering topics of law, justice, Roman history, entrepreneurship, money, government and war. They are recommended for older children and adults to teach them these valuable topics in an interesting and concise way.
The Uncle Eric books have been awarded as a first place winner in the government category of Mary Pride’s Practical Homeschooling Magazine for three years in a row.
Disclosure: I received these books for free in exchange for a review on my site. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.