Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

City School: Raising Kids To Be FI (Financially Independent)

I’m currently “finalizing” (our flexible) City School plans for the Fall / “new school year”.  And given that this is a FIRE (financial independence retire early) blog, let’s take a closer look at some of our plans / goals for Math (for a 9 year old and 7 year old ... in public school they would be entering 4th and 2nd in the US).

How can City Schooling help this year to better prepare the kids to be financially independent?

Math activities at the Children’s Museum Houston.

I’ve mentioned before how I want to attempt to take a somewhat non-traditional approach to City Schooling this Fall / “school year” ... try some learning that isn’t like what they were use to at school.  As in ... try less “book work” / “curriculum” / worksheets (... and even on-line learning) and more hands-on experiences.
With that said, it is definitely hard for me to take the leap to entirely Unschool so there will be SOME things they may be use to ... which brings me to Beast Academy.

I talked about Beast Academy in this post (City Schooling: What Will School Look Like This Fall?), and I decided to purchase the first guide book / practice book for each child (3A for our oldest, 2A for our youngest).  So far this is the only “curriculum / workbook” I’ve bought (and plan to buy at this point).  So why did I chose Beast?  It’s of course important to have an understanding of the basics / foundations of math.  Those prepare them for a better understanding of everyday math and also prepare them for upper level math / learning.  I think Beast will allow them to learn and practice the foundations of math in a rigorous and non-traditional way (through comic book characters).

Beast Academy: Example of a guide book page.

Beast Academy: Example of a practice book page.

For the “school year” we will plan to get through all 4 units for each child (oldest = 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, and youngest = 2A, 2B, 2C, and 2D).  I am opting for the books at this point, but there is an on-line option should / when we start traveling.

I plan to have this as our core focus for the year, but our supplemental learning will be just as important.

Cost: This really depends on what you decide to go with - books or on-line (or both).  Individual guide / practice books or a package (you do save money with a full set).  Each unit (guide and practice book) is $27 (for each child - 2A and 3A).  I decided to try this first to see how it works out (versus going with the package).  The cost will increase of course once we decide to buy more books or the on-line option.

Math “Schedule”:

Tuesday will be our focus Math Day along with Spanish, but they will do their Beast Academy guides / practice books almost daily.  Another great thing about Beast is their website is set up very well.  They even have planning tools.  I was able to follow along with their planning tools and fill in our calendar plan (I got a Bloom Planner ... how about you?) for September - December.

-Beast Academy Guide / Practice
-Optional: Other Math Activities (These will be explained more below).

-Beast Academy Guide / Practice
-Required: Pick one or more other Math Activities (STEAM Bins, FIRE Lessons, Coding, Chess / Games / Legos).

-Beast Academy Guide / Practice
-Optional: Other Math Activities

-Sometimes Beast Academy Guide / Practice (some weeks I only wrote down Beast for Mon - Wed).
-Optional: Other Math Activities

Friday: Fun Friday!
-No Beast Academy Required (Or finish unfinished work).
-Optional: Other Math Activities

I am going to try to have Friday (mostly) open for chilling out, choice activities, (more) Field Trips, and finishing unfinished learning.

Other Math Activities:

So what are those other math activities?  I did talk about them in a previous post about all of our City School plans this Fall, but let’s look more closely.

STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) Bin: This will allow the kids to explore math through hands-on learning (and connect math to other subject areas!).  They will have free choice exploring and making, and I will also have task cards to guide them ... if they are interested / needed.  When I was a teacher, I worked with our librarian on a Makerspace in the library, and I also had STEAM stations in my art classroom.  Kids love it, and it is a great way to explore math (and be creative!).

STEAM Task Cards: STEM Task Cards For The Year (Science Demo Guy) ($25)

STEAM Task Sheets: STEAM / STEM Writing Task Sheets For Classroom Makerspaces Or Libraries (Creative STEAM Studio By Mrs. C) ($3)

STEAM Materials: This is unknown at this point.  It will depend on what I need for the task cards plus other materials.  I will provide an update once I put this together!

Cost: $25 + $3 (So Far) = $28

FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): Ahhh, this is the big piece.  Although all the other components are important for raising independent thinkers / mathematicians ...

How can we specifically raise our kids to be financially independent one day?  Also ... how can they just better understand how math fits in our everyday life (financial literacy) (and to better understand financial independence they need to have a better understanding of financial literacy)?

Let’s actually start with the second point - math in everyday life.  One thing we can work to do better is making the kids aware of money in our own family.  My kids also have somewhat of a background on financial literacy since various aspects have been covered in public school.

What are the different forms of money?  (Cash, Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Checking, etc.)
How do we make money?  How much money do we make each month?
Why is a budget important?  How much money do we spend each month (fixed spending and flexible spending)?  What do we need?  What are wants?
What is debt?
How much do we save?
How much do we invest?  What are investments?
How much do we donate / gift?  Why is that important?

And lead up to ... what is FI (financial independence) and FIRE (financial independence retire early)?  I think (for us at least) I need to focus on the core background first before we move to the ins and outs of getting to FI.  One resource I may look to is the ChooseFI Foundation.  They have curriculum already for 2nd Grade and 3rd - 5th Grade (check out ChooseFI Foundation ... they have curriculum for lower levels and upper levels too!).

I think a lot of school curriculum and even parents cover the basics (and those are important too!), but I think the key to financial independence is often left out - investments.

So what else can we do to reinforce financial literacy / FIRE?  Well, a quick Google search will bring up a wide variety of ideas.  But I have three key ideas that I may work with for now:

-ChooseFI Foundation: As mentioned above, we will explore financial literacy ... and lead that into financial independence with my own lessons and support from ChooseFI Foundation.

-City School Art Adventures: As mentioned in a previous post, you can join our City School adventures (in the Houston area) - City School Art Adventures will be my first side hustle (safety margins!).  Not only do I want my kids to actively help and participate, but I’m leaning towards paying them for their hard work (and in turn they can learn the value of $ and running our own “business.”).  Which leads me into ...

-BusyKid: Have you heard of this free app called BusyKid?  It teaches (using real money) the value of earning, saving, donating, investing, and spending.  I already set up an account for both kids.

Cost: So far “free”, but we will put money into our City School Art Adventures and money towards the kids earning money (BusyKid).


Coding is such a great skills for kids to learn!  And the good news is there are lots of great ways to explore coding, including for free!  As of right now, I plan to use these as our main sources to explore coding:

Scratch (Free)
Hour of Code (Free Options) (Free Options)

And the Children’s Museum Houston (CMH) has some great areas in their lower level to explore coding (and they may also have virtual options for us to explore).

Chess / Games / Legos: I think one of the best ways for young kids to explore math and critical thinking skills is through hands-on play such as through board games and Legos.  Max and I started playing chess during COVID-19, and we have an abundance of Legos (we could open a Lego store!).  I donated quite a few board games to our school since we were planning to leave for Spain in August, but I also kept quite a few so we are good to go here!

Cost: Free (I already have all of the above).

Connections to Spanish?  That is still TBD at this point (if I am able to directly incorporate Spanish into math learning).

What are your schooling plans this Fall?  In school?  Remote?  Homeschool?  Unschool?  Supplement at home?  If you are an educator ... or if you have kids / kids in your life, how might you help them become more financially savvy?  FI in the future?

Like what you read?  Please comment below, or share our post!

You can also read Erik’s latest financial post here: How To Adopt Positive FI Habits During A Global Pandemic.  And now is a great time to get your finances in order.  Contact Erik for more information on how he can help: Financial Consulting.


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