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Motivating Children to Learn About Economics

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A brilliantly entertaining music video (shown below) was released today pitting the ideas of Keynesian economics versus those of Austrian economics.  This video, like a previous one, is sure to spark some great debate and encourage people to look into the differences between the two economic philosophies.  I immediately wondered how much more effective this video will be in motivating young people on the subject of economics than the teacher who writes his name up on the chalkboard at the beginning of the year knowing that his students are just looking for some AP credits.

One of the many problems with standard schooling is that it is tied to an unyielding schedule consisting 180 days in a school year, approximately 6.5 hours in a school day, with each school day broken into distinct learning periods.  This schedule combined with the constraints of teachers trying to manage 20-30 students, each with their own learning needs, forces students to learn in an unnatural and inefficient manner.  Further, it forces students to learn what the schools want them to learn, when the school wants them to learn it.  It doesn’t allow for the students to learn what they want to learn, nor does it allow them to learn it at the most optimal time. This approach makes it needlessly difficult for children to learn how to read or write; and it makes it prohibitively difficult for most children to learn more complicated material such as economics.

Homeschooling is not constrained by a standard school day or school year.  Homeschooling does not require a child to focus on Algebra from 9:00 – 9:45 a.m., and American History from 10:00 – 10:45 a.m., while prohibiting them from spending additional time identifying hyperbolas that occur in nature, or from delving into the role Benjamin Franklin played as the eldest member of the Continental Congress.  By allowing children to pursue their interests, children are able to maintain the love of learning that all humans are born with (though most lose it once they are thrown into oppressive standardized education systems).

While students in standard schools often focus on what the syllabus says will be tested (along with which clique to join, who to bully, who to avoid being bullied from, and which drugs to experiment with), homeschooled children are often free to learn about the world around them on their own terms.  Because learning happens all the time in a homeschool environment, and not just during “class time”, homeschool children have the luxury of focusing on topics which interest them.  Because they aren’t segregated from the real world, thrown in artificial environments of homerooms, hallway passes and study halls, they also tend to be more politically aware and in tune with current events.

Something remarkable is happening in the world today.  We are on the precipice of a very intense philosophical struggle between the majority who believe that we the people must abdicate responsibility of our lives to central planners who will somehow save our economy and provide us with the security we desire, and the minority who believe that we are responsible for securing our own lives, our own liberties, and providing for our own education.  This latter group is inserting the issues of monetary and fiscal policy into the public debate.  While students in brick and mortar schools are generally oblivious to the world around them, homeschool children are taking note of what is happening.  They are far more likely to know the difference between Keynesian economics and Austrian economics.  Many of them have already gone down the path of learning about economics, without a teacher or a syllabus.

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3 Responses to " Motivating Children to Learn About Economics "

  1. Antonio Buehler says:

    Hyperlinked Lyrics for the Second Keynes/Hayek Rap: http://blog.mises.org/16752/hyperlinked-lyrics-for-the-second-keyneshayek-rap/

  2. Sally says:

    We loved the econ rap video — haven’t watched the fight one yet. After that, I handed my now-graduated daughter a copy of Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics, which rather to my surprise (she’s a languages-and-lit kind of girl) she loved. Gave rise to all kinds of fascinating conversation.

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