When it comes to homeschooling high school, a study of American Government is a must. But what is a homeschool parent to do when they are just as confused about our government as their student? Today, I am giving you all the details you need on a self-paced US Government curriculum that is perfect for home learners!
The Case for US Government Courses in homeschool
As home educators, we have the freedom to decide which courses our children will take during their educational years (following state laws, of course). Yet, within that freedom are some pretty obvious options that all kids should take before graduation.
In our home, US Government is one of them.
And even though most US History courses will touch on government, they rarely delve deep enough into the founding of this country or the roots of the documents that shaped our Federal Government.
It’s not their fault really. I mean, US History has a lot of information to cover and is generally completed in just a single year. To include all of the details that encompass the reasoning and decisions behind the creation of our government is challenging.
Sadly, many history programs just don’t offer enough depth to constitute teaching government in a meaningful way that truly helps our high school level students to fully grasp the structure of how our government is supposed to run.
Knowing this, I always knew that in addition to US History, my older students would also be taking a US Government course prior to graduation. I wasn’t sure where we were going to purchase it from or what format we would be using – only that the course was a certainty.
Keep reading to find out how you can win a 1-year subscription to Boundary Stone!
What Is Boundary Stone?
Boundary Stone has been around for more than a decade working to equip Christians worldwide with curriculum that teaches valuable life skills for high school students. Their current focus is on high school economics that work and American Government that is true to the foundations of this country, including the religious influences that shaped our founders.
You can also sign up to receive occasional emails from Boundary Stone, including their Dinner Table Economics messages.
What Is The Basic American Government Course?
This Basic American Government course is a single-semester program that is comprised of both physical and digital components and comes with 12-months of access to the program.
For physical products, you will need a copy of Basic American Government by Clarence B. Carson as well as The Law by Frédéric Bastiat. We received a print copy for Basic American Government but used the PDF copy of The Law.
Digital components of the course include the outline, study guides, videos, flashcards, and review materials as well as the Teacher’s Guide which includes the answers for the study guide.
Ideally completed in a single semester, the four units are accessed online with easy to follow steps. This allows high school students to complete this program relatively independently at a pace that works for their schedule.
Getting Started with US Government
When we first began Basic American Government from Boundary Stone, we weren’t all that sure this was going to be a good fit for our relaxed homeschool. A quick glance at the Basic American Government book that arrived showed that this was not a quick overview of US Government. With more than 550 pages of text, and no pictures or other elements, I was slightly concerned.
Chapter 1 dives right into political issues of the past and the failures of many forms of government. Yet by page 4, the author piqued my interest when he stated, “The political crisis of our times has been caused by the fact that peoples have been grotesquely misinformed about the nature and character of government.”
It was at this early point that I decided that even though this may be a more demanding course then we are accustomed too, it would be worth our while to see it through.
Using The American government Course
With both our physical products and our digital ones ready to go, I set out to have my 10th graders work this review with me.
The US Government course is broken down into four units: A Written Constitution, Limited Government, Near-Fatal Flaws, and Unbridled Government. Each unit contains modules, lessons, and quizzes that you can easily access by logging in to your account. The program guides you through the course easily.
Each lesson is comprised of a video (sometimes more than one), a section of reading from Basic American Government, and a review opportunity. Using the study guide, you can easily make sure you are remembering the key components of each lesson.
And while there are opportunities in the program to record and work on the various vocabulary words, my daughter prefers to put her own spin on vocabulary with colorful pages of words and their definitions.
History is more than a subject, it’s a duty we owe our country
As this was a review, both my daughter and I worked through the lessons. In one of the videos a quote from Thomas Jefferson was used to explain that as citizens, we have a duty to study the history of our country and it’s founding.
To that, my daughter simply quipped, “Then why don’t they actually teach history anymore?”
Wouldn’t we all like to know that?
Thankfully, as a homeschool family, we can remedy that, at least for our children. In our home, we do study history – both of the world and of this country. And for that, we need programs like the US Government course from Boundary Stone.
Making Progress with US Government from Boundary Stone
One of the things I really enjoyed from this program was the simplicity of the program from a user’s experience. The program saves your progress and directs you in a simple and straightforward way.
However, as we learned the hard way, if you walk away from a lesson for an extended period of time, you may be logged out. You will still be able to complete the lesson, but your progress will not be saved. And, you have to complete every aspect of the lesson (video, reading, flashcards, and review questions) before you can select the “Mark Complete” button at the bottom.
My recommendation: print the study guide and work on the reading before you log in. 😉
The other aspect I really liked was that it teaches to multiple learning styles. The text contained in Basic American Government went perfectly with the video portion of the lesson. And with the study guide for taking notes, including the page numbers the answer can be found on, it helps keep students moving forward in multiple ways through the program.
The built-in review opportunities allow students to solidify concepts or show them areas where they need additional review.
And the teacher’s guide has all of the correct answers for the study guide if you find yourself unsure yourself.
What My Teen Thought of Boundary Stone’s U.S. Government online Course
My daughter, who worked this program for the review, found the vocabulary flashcards to be truly helpful. She would use the flashcards to make a list of the words with their definitions. Even though she could have used the study guide to also do this, she didn’t feel there was enough space on the guides.
Plus, she really enjoys adding her own flare to her work.
The videos were also a great addition to the program for her. She is an auditory learner, so if this was book-based only, the program would have been a struggle. The videos cover a lot of the same material that is in the book, yet it does not feel repetitive.
And, where the videos do not use the same speaker every time, she liked the variety of presenters.
Final Thoughts On Basic American Government From Boundary Stone
If we as US citizens don’t learn the reasoning behind our Federal Government and why we have the documents, rules, and restrictions we do, we as a nation run the risk of losing what was left to us.
This idea seems to be at the core of the Basic American Government course from Boundary Stone.
With this US Government course, high school students can easily work through the material independently at a pace that works for their busy schedules. The built-in checks (vocabulary and review questions) automatically check for both retention and understanding of the material presented before adding additional information.
And the study guides can easily be saved to be used for review prior to the four unit tests.
There is also an option policy research project where students can dive into some of today’s largest issues such as taxes, gun control, and healthcare. Boundary Stone offers 20 suggested ideas, but students are able to select another pressing issue if they would prefer.
So even though this course initially appeared to be more than we would normally use as semi-relaxed homeschoolers, over the last several weeks we have seen that even an in-depth study of basic American government can be done in a way that works for us.
Which is good, because with two in high school, I need a course that offers both accuracy and dependability, along with flexibility and ease. Basic American Government from Boundary Stone appears to offer all of that, and then some!
Are You Ready To Try Basic American Government?
Boundary Stone for Co-ops
Boundary Stone also has bundles available for homeschool co-op teachers. These bundles include multi-print licenses for the printable materials, study guides, and teacher key.