I have known Ray and Charlene Notgrass and their son John, for several years. Ray is a homeschooling father and former minister who now develops and publishes homeschooling curricula. I was not satisfied with what we used for our older son Marks senior social studies (how I hate that term), so for Jeremys senior year, we purchased some things from Notgrass. Exploring Government is intended as a one-semester high school course that provides a half-year credit in government. The 75 lessons are grouped into fifteen units, which fall into four main parts.
Part 1 covers some background material, showing the roots of our government in Biblical, Western, and American History. Part 2 deals with the U. S. Constitution and what it sets forth regarding Congress, the Executive, the bureaucracy, and the judiciary, along with the amendments. Part 3 discusses state and local governments, as well as taxing and spending. And Part 4 contains some issues facing American government today. Each of the fifteen units is intended to be studied for one week. What the student is to do each day and each week clearly outlined. Everything is presented from both a Biblical and a constitutionalist perspective.
The purpose is to educate, to inspire, and sometimes to warn the student concerning the governments of the United States, the individual states, and their local communities in order that he or she might be better equipped to remain prayerful, thoughtful, and involved with regard to our government. There is an accompanying book, We Hold These Truths, a collection of historic documents, essays, and speeches in American government, plus a quiz and test booklet and an answer key. We found it very useful. On the one hand, it is a rather intensive course that will require students to study hard, but on the other hand it is quite simple in that it does not demand a lot of teacher preparation.
It was very important to me to get a curriculm that would have enough information, and really focus on the constitution, and what our founders were trying to accomplish. I found it. I like the way the lessons intoduce the topics and then have the student go to the "We hold these truths" book. It is a lot of information and I do agree with the previous poster that it would be good to use this as a full year course. I think if it is rushed the student may not get the full benifit of the information. You can go deeper into it by doing the extra activities or you can omit some or all of them. My oldest son has not complained so far and he seems to really be soaking it up.
The Exloring Government package from Notgrass is amazing. My children and I are appreciating the whole Biblical basis; as well as the fact that all the needed documents are included in the companion text. No time needed to find documents that may otherwise be difficult to locate. I highly recommend this if you are setting out on studies of American Government.