Civics for Homeschoolers. You know, I hadn’t really thought about teaching my children a formal civics curriculum before this year. After all, we use money and postage stamps, we celebrate holidays and we stay reasonably informed about what’s going on in our community. So it never crossed my mind that we should dig a little deeper into why we do the things we do. But later this summer our family will be heading to Washington DC for the Family Bible Conference! While we’re there we’re going to take some extra time to visit the important National sites in the area. I’ve never been to DC before and who knows if we’ll ever make this four-day-drive across the country again, so while we’re there it’s super important to me to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity. I want to make sure my children understand the importance of what they’re looking at. I don’t want my children to feel like we are just looking at a bunch of old buildings and statues. I want them to know exactly why what they are seeing is important. I want America’s best stories to really come to life and I want my children to understand how it all works together and impacts our daily life.
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Our Family’s “Civics For Homeschoolers” Top Pick!
I did some research and spoke to lots of other homeschooling moms. So many of them told stories about how much their children had loved a curriculum called “Uncle Sam and You” and soon I had my heart set on using it, too. It’s a one year Civics curriculum by Notgrass Publishing specifically designed for home schooled, elementary age children. We have loved every other Notgrass item we have ever used (from their history and art curriculums right down to their “Learning Lifestyle Planner”!) so I was pretty sure we would like this, too. And I was right. Uncle Sam and You is AMAZING. The daily readings only take about 20 minutes (the assignments take 30-60 minutes more) and they make what I used to think was complicated-government-stuff, simple. We are going through Uncle Sam and You as a family, which means that although the program is designed for students in grades 5-8, my 13 year old is learning right alongside my 4 yr old. (And truth be told, I’m learning A LOT, too! You can see the video for example of a surprising fact I learned when we were studying about how a dollar bill travels through our economy.)
Video Flip Through
I can’t describe this curriculum to you and do it justice without showing you the inside. Literally, on every single page there are multiple high-quality illustrations to show the children more about whatever topic the lesson is about. So please take a few minutes to watch this video where I flip through the books to show you the inside and then I walk you through a sample lesson.
The sample lesson I highlighted in the video above is about money, but there are also lessons that teach about America’s founding documents, the branches of government, various patriotic symbols, the election process and how voting works, what happens in Washington, D.C., the role of the president, how Congress works, American holidays, what federal, state, and local government are responsible for, and so much more.
Each day’s lesson includes 5 or 6 page chapter to read will lots of colorful modern photographs and historic photographs that help to explain the topic to the students. At the end of each lessons there is a list of related assignments that include Biblical studies, literature, creative writing, visual art, and language art assignments. There are also an additional student workbook and lesson review book that is available for purchase. The student activity book has 1 page per lesson that is a fun game-like activity to reinforce was taught in the lesson. The lesson review book includes 5 questions per lesson to help the students remember what they are learning.
The one challenge we are having with this curriculum:
There is one challenge that I personally am having with this curriculum… but I think it will make you laugh. My children are really, really enjoying Uncle Sam and You. In fact, they are enjoying it so much that they’re spending their afternoons reading ahead in the textbook, which means that when I try to teach them the next day, I’m behind! So guess who has to stay up after bedtime to catch up on what she missed. That’s right… me. But I guess there could be worse problems for a homeschool mom… 😉
If you have ever wanted to teach your children to think about why we do the things we do, if you have ever wanted them to see connections between our history and our daily lives, I strongly encourage you to consider adding Uncle Sam and You into your family’s homeschool day.
You can purchase Uncle Sam and You directly through Notgrass Publishing (tell them I sent you!), or through Amazon: