Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Government Gone Wrong

Can I just tell you from the very start that I am thankful our mess-ups do not have to be irrevocable?!  One of the many glories of homeschooling (and there are plenty) is that, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again!

Good thing we can try again, because the first two times I taught Government were not huge successes.  How do I know?

My first two students, both very studious girls, took government classes in college and came back to say, "Hey, we don't feel like we had a very good foundation in government, mom.  You should look into that before the boys get to that class."

Great, now you tell me!

At least I was warned, have more knowledge than the first two times around, and knew exactly how to fix the problem.

Enter the Exploring Government Curriculum Package from Notgrass History.  I asked for it, Timberdoodle supplied, and my needs are being met!

Admittedly, it is no surprise that I would love this course.  I have reviewed material for younger students from Notgrass before and been extremely happy with it, using it for multiple children.  Once again, they did not disappoint with this two book set meant to fulfill a one semester credit for high school government.

What comes in the set?
The main textbook is a full color 455 page hardback book entitled Exploring Government. Its 75 chapters are organized into 4 parts-
  • Background to American Government
  • The United States Constitution
  • State and Local Government, Taxes and Budget
  • Issues Facing American Government Today
Varying in length from approximately 4-10 pages, each chapter begins with a famous quote, and ends with the day's assignment.  Assignments vary, but usually include a literature reading (if you are choosing this option), additional reading from the second book (discussed below) and a project assignment for that unit.  Project choices for each unit are given at the beginning of that unit and allow several options for your child to choose from.  An optional resource you can buy separately is available for daily student review if you desire.  A separate quiz and test pack can also be purchased.

The second book in the set is entitled We Hold These Truths.  Included in this book are essays, historical documents, and speeches related to government.  The 222 pages hold 49 documents- everything from the Magna Carta to a 2014 Homeland Security Review.

What's so great about Exploring Government?

Notgrass Curriculum is from a Christian point of view.  While that may not mean a lot to you, it does to me.  The controversies surrounding the government are numerous, and I appreciate a Christian point of view when they are being discussed!

It is organized! Call me old fashioned or just plain lazy, but I like lesson plans.  While this program does not have separate printed plans, there really isn't a need for them.  Each Unit begins with an overview of what will be expected from the student and each lesson is clearly divided and has the day's assignments at the end of each reading.  A student will not have any problem working through this program alone.

It can fulfill a 1/2 semester of literature.  By adding 4 carefully chosen books, you can award your student literature credit in addition to the government credit.

There are notes for parents about the literature books chosen.  I have had the unfortunate experience of being surprised by content in a book assigned to my children by other companies.  In a perfect world I would have read those books before they did, but the reality is that does not always happen.  In the short guide for parents that Notgrass supplies, they have listed what they feel could be any red flags for parents.  Examples include any questionable language or sexual themes, drinking references, or anti-Christian ideas.

The reading is thorough but to the point.  The chapters are well written and concise, without watering down the information.  Small chunks of information hold a high schoolers interest without becoming drudgery to read page upon page.

The books are beautiful.  Ok, again, may not mean anything to you, but I love a beautiful book.  I love real life pictures that expose our kids to things they may not otherwise see.  Plus, let's face it, it just makes reading more enjoyable when you can occasionally look at something other than just words.

I could go on and on, really, but you get the point!  Notgrass Exploring Govenrment will fully equip your child with a basic knowledge of government as well as the knowledge they need to succeed in a college level course.



  1. Thank you for sharing your review, Michele!

  2. We are finally fitting in a Notgrass program with one of the girls this year and I love it just as much as I thought I would. This looks like a fantastic program and one I will have to look into. Love that you had opportunity to review this program. - Lori

    1. I am never disappointed with Notgrass! Glad you are enjoying it as well!

  3. sounds like an interesting curriculum!


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