By Diana Miller
For the Wilmington News Journal
WILMINGTON — Students at Wilmington Middle School stepped out of the classroom and into the real world recently when they participated in the Real Money Real World simulation designed to meet the requirements for eighth-grade career education.
With the help of several community volunteers staffing 15 business booths, eighth-grade students were assigned a career, a monthly salary, and a specific number of children. As students rotated through the booths, they were working to plan and budget in order to make ends meet by month end.
One of the biggest surprises to students was the cost of child care. One student was disappointed and discouraged when he discovered that from his $2,000 monthly salary, he would need to spend more than $800 for daycare for his two children.
Throughout the event, students toured business booths that explained housing, transportation, food, clothing, credit, insurance, utilities, communication, entertainment, child care, chance occurrences, contribution, finish line and financial advice.
Not only did students enjoy participating in the hands-on learning experience, they also learned that life in the real world — the adult world — is not as easy as it often looks through the eyes of a child. Students were shocked when they realized how difficult it was to meet the demands of a monthly budget. They did not realize how much their clothes really cost or how expensive credit cards could be.
After experiencing the taxing financial demands of living independently in the real world, one student said he now understands why his father always complains about money and went on to say, “I didn’t realize how fast money went.”
The program, a joint effort between the OSU Extension office and WMS, was organized by extension educator Tracie Montague and the WMS guidance counselors and teaching staff.
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several southwest Ohio schools.