Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Simply Put: A Study in Economics- Bow of Bronze Review

Ah, just found a better cover image for the physical book.
Finding affordable, understandable text for complex high school subjects that are required has been a challenge for years. Economics, for our family, at least, has been one of those courses we just haven't found a text that we've loved. In the past we've used a weighty tome for Economics by a well known black conservative. Honestly, the thought of going through it alone, without the help and umph of a co-op/ qualified teacher, was a bit intimidating.  Enter Simply Put: A Study of Economics. It's nice to know that we can get through difficult subject matter without stressing Mom or Student! We took the simple approach: Read, Discuss, Review; slow and steady but clear progress with a work text that is not overwhelming.

Catherine Jaime has written both Simply Put: A Study of Economics  and Simply Put Teacher’s Key. Ms. Jaime is the mother of twelve, ten of whom have graduated, and currently homeschooling a 10th and 12th grader. She is also the author of over thirty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her undergraduate work is from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and she has taught in grades K-12 with an emphasis in economics and government. In other words, Ms. Jaime has a lot to recommend her and her writing.

This is a soft cover work text, covering 36 short, easily digestible chapters- just 1 to 4 pages in length, that include review questions. There are 8 appendixes, a mid-term and a final. This is a one semester, high school course, which can be adapted to Jr. High. Doing just the book will count as 1/2 Carnegie unit (1/2 high school credit), averaging 2 lessons a week. You can easily expand this to one full high school credit by adding additional resources such as The Wall Street Journal, Ideas on Liberty, The Economist, etc. Ms. Jaime includes an entire page of resources in the Bibliography. The text includes black and white pictures, simple graphics and bolded vocabulary words. While this is an easily accessible economics study, it is by no means simplistic, and covers the basic terms and concepts that your high school student will need to know.

I love the way that Ms. Jaime begins simply and builds on that to introduce the complex. Supply and Demand, obviously, show up quite early in the book, but again, in Chapter 31, under "Price Gouging" they make their appropriate appearance yet again.

This study is coming from a fiscally conservative point of view.
Everything, in short, is reduced at the expense of foregoing something else. (Hazlitt);
I, however, place economy among the first and most important republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. (Jefferson);
...as we saw in the Standard of Living lesson, inflation is often the cause of significant drops in standard of living, (Jaime).
 
If you are looking for justification for trillion dollar debt, socialized programs or run-away spending, you won't find it in this book. Jaime recommends The Freeman, which will give you a taste of what her Economic pedagogy is all : The Freeman: Foundation for Economic Liberty (you can download  PDF of the current issue free).
 
I first assigned Cub (8th grade) to read two chapters a week and to write out the review questions. After2 chapters he begged asked to do this together, with my reading aloud to him, having him narrate the chapter, and answer the review questions verbally. Which we did, and was fun, because, of course, lots of discussion ensued, which is the heart and soul of a great high school education. This book is chock full of food for thought. Cub understood the concepts but real life application was the stretch. He is widely read and keeps up politically, he still has one foot in the concrete operations stag and an other tentatively in the formal operations stage. This book stretches beyond concrete operations in that it challenges the student to apply a philosophy of economy.

Simply Put Teacher’s Key is simple and straightforward, and includes only 4 sections:
National Budget Activity
Free Trade in Action: An Economics Activity
Economics Mid-Term Answers
Economics Final Exam Answers

The 2 Activities sections included are an excellent hands-on way for your student to experience the power and impact of economics in their life, country and world. Both are designed to be done in groups, but could be done individually if necessary. Both will make the world of econ come alive for your student in a way that just reading about it won't. I remember doing mock-trial with in a co-op several years ago and how differently the kids responded to the information when it was played out, versus simply read about and discussed. These activities will make the world of national and personal economics come alive for your students.

Have I mentioned how thrilled I am with this curriculum? It's accessible, even for those with a rudimentary understanding of economics. It builds from simple to complex; reiterating basic economic vocabulary throughout. It teaches from a fiscally conservative stance. It is do-able in a semester, or easily expanded to a full credit course, depending on the needs of your student. It is affordable. It's a winner.

If you would prefer to purchase the book in digital format, Simply Put: A Study of Economics is also available on Currclick. listed with a sale price of $6.99, regularly $16.00.
In addition to the amazing give-away, I have one Student Text and Answer Key to give away to a Golden Grasses reader! Simply "friend" GG- through email, networked blog, or google and leave a comment saying you did so.
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1 comment:

bienfait said...

This sounds great!

Are the activities in the Teacher Key easily adaptable to single students or did you skip them? Should I get the Teacher Key on Kindle or are there things I'll want to have a hard copy of (make copies?)?