This article is in collaboration with BUCK Academy.
Learning about money is a concept often taught in elementary school, usually around 3rd grade. It’s a vital skill that’s usually covered in a child’s math class. BUCK Academy is here to challenge the fact that financial literacy for kids is a concept that belongs only in math class and only for kids ages 8 and up.
The BUCK Academy books are written and illustrated by a husband-and-wife team who also own the business. Dustin Goss does all the writing, and his wife, Febyolla, created the illustrations. BUCK is a character they’ve developed who is a dollar bill (get it? A “buck” is slang for a dollar in America). BUCK is here to help teach your children—all of your children, not just the third graders—about what a dollar means. They’ve done this with beautifully printed books—a hardcover picture book for older kids, a board book complete with interactive flaps for toddlers, and a softcover pamphlet that is the “BUCK Academy short” version of the story.
Financial literacy for kids is easy with BUCK Academy. Each of their books teaches the same concept – what a dollar is, what the coins are, and how many of each coin make up a dollar – but aimed at different age groups. BUCK Making Cents is the hardcover picture book. The story starts with an introduction page for parents, suggesting you collect one of each coin plus a one-dollar bill and wash them for use along with the book. There are three short chapters in the book. The first chapter, Making Cents of a Buck, is the main source of information. It gives a brief definition of “money” and explains that this book is about American currency. The BUCK character is introduced, as well as his friends the coins. Each coin gets its own page in the chapter, where there is a picture (foiled, so they look fairly realistic) of the front and back of the coin as well as information about it: a brief history of the coin, distinguishing characteristics, and fun facts. BUCK gets his own page, as well.
Chapter II is called How many Cents Can a BUCK buy? This chapter is much shorter than the first one, and it goes over each coin again, this time in relation to a dollar. It shows children exactly how many of each coin it takes to equal one dollar, with a complete illustration of that number of coins for your child to count—just in case they don’t believe the numbers written on the page.
The final chapter is Memory Bank, and this is a chapter of review questions. Samples of these questions are “How many days would it take to save up a dollar if you set aside one penny per day?” and “Which coin is larger, a nickel or a dime, in value? in size?” At the end of the Memory Bank chapter, there are three pages chock full of additional fun facts about the coins and the dollar bill.
Financial literacy for kids doesn’t have to wait until mid-elementary school to start. Baby BUCK is a board book for the very youngest of your children, and it follows the same basic layout as BUCK Making Cents, but much simpler. You still get the shiny images of the coins, but the character in this one is Baby BUCK instead of just BUCK. Baby BUCK also uses one page per coin, and it’s interactive! It tells the name of each coin, and asks the question “How much am I?” Underneath the question is a lift-the-flap with a picture of the coin on the outside of the flap and the written value underneath. Baby BUCK also emphasizes the differences in the coins’ appearances, explaining that the coins are all unique, just like children.
Quick Cents to a BUCK is a very short pamphlet that describes the buck, penny, nickel, dime, and quarter using phrasing similar to the other books. The final page in this short handout is a worksheet where students can record the things they’ve learned in the book.
Thank you to Wendy Robertson of Ladybug Day Dreams for writing this article.
Wendy has been married to her high school sweetheart, Will, for over 20 years. Together they have five sons ages 3-17. Her sons have been homeschooled from the beginning, giving her 13 years of home education experience. She is an avid knitter and crocheter, and blogs at Ladybug Daydreams, posting twice a week – once about homeschooling and once about another random topic (books, yarn, recipes, and more).