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Friday, February 18, 2022

Homeschool Financial Reality Fair




UPDATED WITH 2022 PRICES AND BLANK TEMPLATES

Game of Life: Financial Reality Fair is an interactive financial literacy curriculum that gives junior high senior high school students the opportunity to experience some of the financial challenges they will face with independent living. The Financial Reality Fair is flexible enough in work in any school setting, homeschool communities and cooperatives or traditional school. 

My heart is so full after organizing this event for our local homeschool community!  We had FIFTY Junior and Senior High students, including my sons, take part in this fair. Both my boys have already asked if we can do it again so they pick another job and see how they can budget with a different income!

What makes this curriculum different?

I remember doing a fair similar to this in my public school junior high, and when I couldn't find one that had all the components I needed/wanted, I decided to make my own! 

  • Homeschool Oriented Many of the other examples I found were built for public schools, with the pre-work all done in a traditional classroom.  The toolkit I made includes homeschool registration forms, pre-fair student packet that can be done at home, and tips on how recruit volunteers that are not teachers in the building.
  • No Personal Loans Almost every Financial Reality Fair I found as an example directed students to get a personal loan at the end of the month if they went over their budget.  This fair instead directs student to revisit tables to change their spending to fit into their income.  If they have money left over at the end of the month, they are directed to go back to the savings/investment table to save it for a specific goal.
  • Student Pick their Job based on Self Reflection Many of the fairs also assign the student their job.  I remember in 8th grade being very frustrated at injustice of being assigned a mechanic that made minimum wage and the class pot head was assigned a doctor! and I wanted my teens to take some personal surveys that could help them identify how their strengths would translate into a career.  Links to surveys are included in the kit.
  • Entry Level Salaries All Salaries are entry level, none over $75,000.  Too many times we tell students their chosen profession's top salary, instead of preparing them to start at the bottom and work their way up.



The toolkit is available for purchase in my Teacher Pay Teachers store for only $9, and provides you with all the information and planning resources needed to host in any homeschool community!

Buy Planning Toolkit


The Financial Reality Fair consists of two parts:

1. In Classroom/At Home Career Survey

  • Choosing their Job

In class or at home, students take personal inventories that aid them in deciding which job option would best fit their strengths and interests. All positions are entry level salaries. Their job options also include information regarding the education level needed to obtain that position and if health benefits are provided, which is information they will need as they visit the booths.



  • Calculating Take Home Pay After Taxes
In class or at home, students will use their starting salary to figure their take home pay after taxes.  They will need to identify their tax bracket, then calculate several fractions to determine their yearly, then monthly take home pay.



2. In Person Reality Fair 

Using their chosen job, student will identify their tax bracket, then calculate their yearly and monthly net income. Students start at the BANK to figure out their taxes and monthly take home pay!




Using their monthly take home pay students visit a total of ten different booths where they make decisions about how to live independently within their budget. For example, at the Housing booth they decide if they will rent or buy, and if they can afford to live alone or need a roommate. The reality check comes when they are made aware of not only the high cost of living, but also of the many hidden costs the student may have considered, like renter’s insurance, heat, and utilities.


The goal of this eye-opening interactive experience will give the student a glimpse into what costs they can expect and how take responsibility for personal financial decisions with the use of a Monthly Budget.









Some Skills Learned:
  • Identify how personal strengths and interests determine career choice
  • Identify how career choice, education, skills, entrepreneurship, and unexpected life events affect income
  • Identify tax bracket, gross versus net income, and employee health benefits
  • Calculating single and multi digit fractions, along with addition/subtraction needed in monthly budgeting
  • Responsibility for personal financial decisions with the use of a Monthly Budget
  • Identify the relationship between spending practices and achieving financial goals.

Toolkit Includes:
  • Planning Timeline & Materials List
  • Learning Objectives
  • Pre-Fair Student Packet, including personal-inventories and job 60+ job options
  • Reality Fair Student Packet, including Income Planning and Monthly Budgeting forms
  • Booth Signs
  • Booth Volunteer Directions
  • Booth Information Sheets
  • Sample Registration Forms
  • Homeschool Parent Letters
  • Student Evaluation Form

Student Evaluations
Check our some of the student evaluations in the pictures below, confirming how needed this type of hands on experience is for teenagers.   Many of the parents texted and emailed me later about their students were talking about the fair for days afterwards.  Some parents told me their student asked about the family budget when they got home!






Buy Planning Toolkit











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