The pandemic has caused a significant decrease in extracurricular learning, as classes move online and kids are encouraged to limit their contact with others. Many experts have advised parents to encourage their children to pursue their hobbies and help them keep up their friendships via FaceTime to alleviate any potential anxiety. It’s no surprise e-learning has surged in the past few months.
But some parents are worried (rightfully so) that online classes are leading to a focus deficit and a lack of relationship building and socializing kids get by group learning in school. Hobbies like cooking, piano, and sports can be nurtured by watching YouTube or taking a FaceTime lesson, but they aren’t as academic in nature.
Enter a combination of both: a course that can maximize hard academic skills like logic and interpretation, but engages kids in a fun, personalized way — introduction to business.
Earlier the Better
Evidence shows that introducing kids to a business curriculum early on in life can help to nurture creativity, confidence, and critical thinking skills. Kids don’t have to leave the course with their own startup plan and stock portfolio to reap the benefits! Youth business and entrepreneurship coaches are often trained to foster discussion and critical thinking in even the most timid student, as case study problems for all age groups stimulate creative problem solving rather than objective answers. Asking a child of any age, “what are ten uses for a paper clip?” makes their brain gears turn a bit more than “how do you solve 2x = 4?” Encouraging students to question and expand their thinking early will prove helpful down the road.
It Makes Complicated Principles Engaging
When parents think “business course” they often think of an undergraduate lecture hall with 300 kids and a sleepy professor discussing financial derivatives. E-learning business courses for kids are a bit simpler than that! They are focused on principles, projects, and thinking patterns rather than hard grades. Good e-learning courses are also often based on the student’s preliminary interests: if a student likes sports and is more math inclined, an educator will consider using sports based enterprises and introduce some elementary financial accounting principles like revenue and cost; if a student is creatively inclined, the educator would focus on marketing and crafting advertising campaigns. Coaches are trained to lay the foundation: to help kids understand basic principles that will serve them on whatever path they choose.
Social Skills and Discussion are Lacking in a Pandemic World
E-learning gives something that tired parents at home can’t always give: attention. They have a personal element. Working one to one or even in a group class with 3-4 students naturally helps kids develop their social skills as they are compelled to discuss, speak, and connect with their teacher throughout the course.
Even before the pandemic, technology and social media were threatening kids’ self esteem and anxiety. Now, with increased time at home on a screen for the foreseeable future, attention and focused socializing time is vital.
Online classes vary from school to school, and many are neglecting face to face learning. Enrolling your child in a course online, even if it’s a brief one, ensures they work face to face with a learning specialist rather than scroll through videos and read slides. Business courses of all levels are fundamentally about creating a well rounded education and stimulating sociability so that students can achieve their goals. Even if that goal is “having more money to buy candy!”
Financial Literacy is Sorely Lacking
Many experts agree: financial literacy is a huge blind spot in education today, particularly as many kids around the world are growing up with an economy faltering due to the pandemic. According to the National Financial Educators Council, U.S students and adults only achieved 50% accuracy on a test evaluating financial literacy. The George Washington University Business School reported in 2017 that financial illiteracy is a global problem, particularly among young women.
Business courses, at their core, help kids of all ages to be mindful of money from an early age. Lemonade stand math problems that involve setting a wage for employees and evaluating your costs and profits are some game-based exercises that make children aware of how money plays a role in their lives and how to put themselves in a position to succeed (while having a little fun in the process!). These basic concepts of saving, investing, and management will serve any child for life.
Whether you spend some time walking your child through an allowance plan, or enroll her in a youth business course with an experienced instructor, business skills like operations, finance, and marketing are essential for personal growth, and fun to learn! Who knows? They may even teach mom and dad a thing or two!