Economics Curriculum

There are basically two kinds of economics curricula: those that approach the subject from a Christian perspective, and those that don't. We've tried to privilege those of the first sort. While we have no problem with secular economists whose ideas are consistent with those presented in the Bible, too often the attitude is that through manipulation of markets and supply, man can fundamentally alter his own condition and improve the world around him.

This simply isn't the case. Only God can effect such intrinsic change, and that through His son, Jesus Christ. And yet, that doesn't give us latitude to neglect such a powerful element of human existence, or to hold irresponsible views of it. Instructing our children how to understand and use money, what the market system entails, why supply and demand must be kept in balance, etc. is at least as important as teaching them who Ghengis Khan was and where Mt. Kilimanjaro can be found.

It's easy to confuse economics with personal finance. Both deal with money, and a lot of parents think they've covered economics if they've showed their kids how to balance a checkbook and budget. While elements of personal finance are tied up in microeconomics (economics on the individual level), they are fundamentally different things. Economics is an academic discipline seeking to understand problems of supply and demand, while personal finance is a practical skill rooted in principles of stewardship and responsibility; it's important that kids understand both.

Here is a quick summary of the Economics curricula we offer, in alphabetical order:

A Beka Economics Grade 12

Economics: Work and Prosperity from A Beka works as a teacher-led or student-directed course, approaching economics from a conservative Christian perspective, upholding a free-market, capitalist ethos. This course is regaining a measure of popularity and it is thorough and easy to use, though it treats opposing views with an obvious measure of disdain.

BJU Economics Grade 12

BJU Economics is the most traditional program we carry. Students read text, answer questions, and take tests. Supplemental workbooks ensure they understand more difficult concepts. Much more balanced than A Beka's program, BJU Economics maintains a solidly Christian stance without getting bogged down in caricatures of non-capitalist economic theories.

Exploring Economics Grades 9-12

Exploring Economics combines the classic textbook-and-test approach with thoughtful source text essays that help students to reconcile economic theory with biblical doctrine. While it is a high school text, because the content and style isn't "dumbed down," adults can learn just as much as younger students and not feel silly.

Basic Economics is a follow-up volume to Clarence Carson's Basic History of the United States, and presents a thorough (though fairly dry) treatment of American economics. Tom Rose's Economics: Principles & Policy and Economics: The American Economy are challenging texts that explore micro- and macroeconomics, respectively. Biblical Economics by R.C. Sproul, Jr. is a unique guide to basic economic theory in Christian perspective without jargon and with a focus on stewardship.

Fans may be wondering why the Uncle Eric books aren't included in this section. While titles like Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? and Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? do touch on economic principles, neither of them are overviews (the first one covers inflation, the second is primarily a political science text). Also, many of the books in the series don't cover economics at all. We include the series in our Economics Resources category, but don't feel they fit our curriculum criteria closely enough to include them here.

All these are courses aimed at older high school students.While younger kids may benefit from them in part, older students will be (or ought to be) more mature and circumspect in their study of economics. It's important to guide students between the extremes of greed and not caring what happens to their money as they navigate the many approaches to managing material wealth. It's even more important to remind them frequently that everything they own is God's, and that its use should reflect our love of and devotion to Him.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.


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