Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Personal Finance Illustrated® Homeschool Edition from PEM LIFE is a very comprehensive personal economics program. It goes into considerable detail and has many tools that allow students to work through and examine a variety of different financial scenarios and how different choices effect their long term financial goals. My son, who has taken an interest in finance, had been taking another personal finance course and was excited to review this program and see what else he could learn.
The program is divided into units. Each unit contains one or two primary instructional videos, several additional ancillary videos, instructions and practice on one or two digital tools. Then for assessing understanding each unit contains a concept quiz, vocabulary quiz, writing assignment, discussion question, and a reflection question. There is also a digital textbook with reading assignments for most of the units. The quizzes were self-grading, but I had to look over his writing assignments.
The course included 18 units. The units included an overview of the Personal Economic Model, taxes, lifestyle regulators, insurance information, debt information, investing, cash vs. financing, lifetime potential and more. While we have slightly different views on debt than this program expressed, we felt like the content was well thought out, meaningful, and helpful. Being able to look at the long term ramifications of each financial decision by using the various interactive tools really helps students understand the consequences of their decisions.
One really nice feature is the discussion boards. Each unit has a discussion board with questions for the student to answer. Then, they can reply to other students’ responses and have students respond to their answers. It is a great way to foster discussion in the online format and good preparation for online college courses which often use similar formats.
The layout of this program allows for students to move through it without a great deal of assistance from the parents, but also has an instructor’s guide that would allow the parent to adapt the program and be more involved. It could also be used in a co-op setting. When we started, I was having my son complete one unit per week. He was getting it done, but I did not feel like we had enough time to get the most out of the program. Moving forward, we are going to work to find a good system of either taking two weeks per unit or prioritizing the components of each unit that I feel are most important for that unit. I believe this will allow him to spend more time on the interactive tools and get the most from the program.
My fourteen-year-old son felt like the lecture style videos were very informative but a bit academic in style and not quite as engaging as he would have preferred. He really enjoyed working with the interactive tools and being able to plug in different numbers to see what would happen in different scenarios. He does not enjoy writing and therefore, did not really enjoy the writing components, but I do think those are helpful for students preparing for collegiate level courses. They could also be done in a discussion format.
Overall, if you are looking for a thorough personal finance course for your high school student, this may be a good option. While it is intense, it has quality material and tools that allow students to get a better understanding of the life time impact of their financial decisions. I would not recommend it for students younger than high school because of the level of difficulty. One of our big goals for each of our children is that they will graduate from our homeschool with a solid understanding of personal finance and the tools and information needed to make good financial decisions. I believe this program can be a big part of that process. Make sure to click on the graphic below to check out how other Review Crew Members used Personal Finance Illustrated® Homeschool Edition.