"There's a new government curriculum that I thought about using instead, but I just decided to stick with the one I've always used. I already have lesson plans to teach it," my friend, Katie shared.
I nodded my head, knowing how hard it is to make lesson plans for your own family and lesson plans for a coop as well. But my sniffer had perked up too. "Government curriculum?" I asked.
Katie laughed, knowing my love for books and curriculum.
You see, I have a hard time finding a government curriculum that I like. I want something from a Christian perspective that isn't dry and boring. I want something that talks about the Founding Fathers and the dreams they had for our nation. But, I also want something that gives my kids a practical overview of how government works and how they can participate.
Do government textbooks have to be dry? Can they give us the facts and still be interesting. I have found a curriculum that I love. In fact, I enjoyed the book,The 5000 Year Leap so much that I asked my husband to read it. Now I can't get the book back from him. He is planning to teach a class for church using the curriculum. So in the Curtis household, this curriculum has made a hit!
The 5000 Year Leap Principles of Freedom 101 is all about American government and the United States Constitution. This in-depth curriculum teaches the 28 principles of liberty. These principles were ideas that changed the world. In fact, in 5000 years, since the creation of the world, that like this (the American government experiment) had been done before.
Published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies , this curriculum was designed for public, private, and home schools. It contains a textbook (The 5000 Year Leap), a suggested class schedule, teacher objectives for each lesson, reading assignments, quizzes, examinations, and DVD lesson presentations.
There are 28 principles that the Founding Fathers built the Constitution around. This book and the DVD lessons go through each principle one at a time for the 27 week class.
Here are the 28 Principles of Freedom.
Ruler's Law vs. People's Law
The Genius of Natural Law
A Virtuous and Moral People
The Role of Religion
The Role of the Creator
All Men are Created Equal
Equal Rights, not Equal Things
Man's Unalienable Rights
The Role of Revealed Law
Sovereignty of the People: Who Can Altar Government
Advantages of a Republic
Protection Against Human Frailty
Property Rights Essential to Liberty
The Separation of Powers
Checks and Balances
Importance of a Written Constitution; Limiting & Defining the Powers of Government
Majority Rule, Minority Rights; Strong Local Self-government
Government by Law, Not by Men
Importance of an Educated Electorate
Peace through Strength
Avoid Entangling Alliances
Protecting the Role of Family
Avoiding the Burden of Debt
The Founders' Sense of Manifest Destiny
Teaching this class would be very simple. Read a chapter of the book, watch the lesson on DVD, discuss the material together, and take a quiz.
There are so many things I appreciate about this curriculum. One thing the speaker on the DVDs mentioned is that we tend to think of the political spectrum in terms of left to right. On the far left, we have communism and on the far right, we have fascism. This always confused me because fascism and communism seem so much alike to me because the government is in total control.
The Founding Fathers saw the political spectrum differently and, I believe, in a more sensible way. They saw the political spectrum as anarchy on one end of the spectrum and complete government control on the other end of the spectrum. They chose the center of this political spectrum with enough control to prevent chaos, but a limit of government control to prevent abuse of power. Now, that is a political spectrum that makes sense to me.
This curriculum mentions Cicero, the Anglo-Saxons, Common Law, Natural Law, and the nation of Israel. All of these things were discussed often by the Founding Fathers and influenced the choices they made in drafting the constitution.
Anglo-Saxon law kept power localized by family and tribe. Most decisions were made at the local level, especially decisions that affected these people. The Founding Fathers worked hard to imitate the Anglo-Saxons in esteeming local and state government where possible.
Not only was the Declaration of Independence written in 1776, but Adam Smith, an Englishman, wrote Wealth of the Nations, a handbook on free-market economics. The Founding Fathers embraced this system of economics, adopting as their own.
The Constitution not only works within a free-market system of economics, but requires a moral and religious society to make it work. The ideals of a republic are based on the fact that mankind is flawed, thus requiring checks and balances to prevent abuse of power. Academic and religious education were greatly encouraged by the early leaders in our nation.
What a wonderful book and what an amazing curriculum. I highly recommend this government course for your home school. And, I suggest that you read the book too! You will probably learn a lot of things you have never heard before.