Teacher Spotlight — Mariellen Rechtin

Mariellen Rechtin who teaches in two Cincinnati homeschool high school co-ops, Divine Mercy Homeschool Coop and All Saints Studies Group, shared her expertise in implementing Budget Challenge in a unique setting. Last year she taught Financial Literacy at ASSG and is teaching Financial Literacy in the spring 2021 semester at Divine Mercy.  She meets with her students once a week for a 1 1/4 hour class where students are assigned a weekly lesson.  Budget Challenge is/was part of the weekly homework in her Financial Literacy classes. 

Are you currently using Budget Challenge in an in person or remote setting?

The current plan is that I will be using Budget Challenge in an in-person Junior/Senior Personal Finance class this spring at a local homeschool co-op.  I also used Budget Challenge similarly during the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year.  We began the semester (and Budget Challenge) in-person, but finished up remotely. I enjoy working with the outstanding students at both of these coops.  They energize me and give me hope for the future.

How have your students benefited by using Budget Challenge in a distance learning/homeschool setting?

Budget Challenge gives my students some "real life" experiences of paying bills, receiving paychecks and learning to manage a budget.  I like that budget challenge has videos for each unit as well as unit quizzes.  I used their quiz results to develop an overall grade for their participation in budget challenge.  I think one of the main benefits is that it brings financial topics into their "jargon".  It is a great supplement to traditional "book learning".  Kids love activities that are computer based.  

What is your favorite Budget Challenge feature?

As a teacher, I like that Budget Challenge has videos and quizzes for each unit and that there is a theme for each unit.  The teacher dashboard is helpful because it helps me to see the involvement levels of my students.  Also, I can see their scores on all the quizzes.

What types of conversation has Budget Challenge inspired between your students?

Early on in our Budget Challenge simulation, there was a lot of discussion about lags in "getting paychecks" and "bills being due".  This was a relevant discussion because it is a reality for many families....trying to manage cash flow to pay bills

Do you feel Budget Challenge will have a lasting impact on your students?

I feel that the lasting impact of Budget Challenge is that it has helped my students to start thinking about the realities of living as an adult: getting a job, earning a paycheck, making purchase decisions, paying the bills, dealing with unavoidable crises that arise.