For the past few months I really wanted to try the Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees lapbook from Knowledge Box Central. So, I was really excited for the opportunity to complete the Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees Grade 5-8 lapbook with my kids this summer. Disclaimer: Knowledge Box Central provided the download to me free of charge, but I am not being compensated in any other way for this review.
As a college finance professor, I am deeply concerned about the financial education that children receive. I’ve seen and heard about too many college students who are completely clueless about personal finance. I am also skeptical about the quality of a lot of financial education products on the market targeted at elementary and middle school children. It takes a lot to impress me, but Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees did just that.
Some of you may be worried about being able to explain advanced topics to your children. If you are feeling that way, don’t be intimidated. The study guide included with the lapbook gives clear and easy to understand explanations of each topic. You may even learn something right along with your children. I didn’t always follow the guide exactly because I sometimes found that I wanted to take a different angle with my kids. There are countless ways to customize this lapbook for your children and school. Both my 4th grader and 6th grader completed Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees over two weeks, but you could finish in as little as one week or as long as one month depending on how much time you spend working on it daily as well as how many outside resources you use to enhance the learning experience.
Both of my kids said that their favorite parts were learning about how money is made and exploring careers. We watched some Youtube videos about printing paper money and its current security features along with the minting of coins. If you live near a mint, the Treasury, or a Federal Reserve Bank, those would be some great field trips to take as part of your study.
The two things I liked best about Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees were the sections on banking terms and exploring careers. Banks offer a lot of products and use a lot of words that even adults may not fully understand. This lapbook, however, does a great job of defining terms, providing examples, and giving students an opportunity to put their knowledge into practice with an activity. After completing the lapbook, my kids could hold a conversation about interest rates, inflation, loans, and deposit insurance.
My second favorite part of Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees was exploring career with my kids. Students choose a future career that interests them and research expected wages and required training for their career. Then, they use this along with expenses you help them estimate to build a budget. If you have a child set on a career that does not pay very well, this can be a real awakening for them. Depending on the career path, you may have difficulty finding accurate salary estimates. For example, my kids chose professional Youtuber and professional video game player. I suppose that given our unconventional lifestyle, I should not have been surprised by their unconventional career aspirations. This is also a good time to start talking about college preparation and career options.
There was only one part of the lapbook that I didn’t really like. After students choose their career and estimate living expenses, they use these numbers to build a budget. The lapbook introduces the envelope system of budgeting and asks them to practice using the system. The envelope system has been promoted by one financial advisor in particular, and it’s great if that works for you. It is not my preferred budgeting application and simply was not necessary to the exercise, so we skipped it.