Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#1 Natural Law

I'm back! I have to keep it brief though because I'm tired and it's been a busy first day of school.

Today we began our 5000 Year Leap curriculum. We talked about Principle #1 today which is Natural Law.

We discussed Cicero, what Nature's Law is, and the first and second great commandments. For the little ones we talked about the 13 colonies and colored a Virginia coloring sheet.

I wish I could post more, but I must relax before another busy day of school tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Citizenship Test

Today I gave my kids 50 of the 100 questions that are part of the citizenship test to become a US citizen.  These questions were from the test that was used before October 1, 2008.  There's a new test now.  We'll do the other 50 questions next week and then check out the new test.  I have to say I was pretty impressed with how many of the answers that my 8 and 9 year old knew.  Here's the test and you can test your own citizenship knowledge. I believe that they randomly select 10 questions from this list to be on the actual test for potential citizens to take.


We've been doing Constitution Tuesday the past two weeks, I just have been too tired to blog about it because there's been illness.  We went over more of the Preamble and the started the First Article of the Constitution that talks about the Legislative Branch.

Last week we talked about how you had to be a citizen of the United States for seven years in order to be a member of the House of Representatives. That sparked my son to ask how someone becomes a citizen who wasn't born here.  I told him that they have to take a test, which led us to look it up and see what kinds of questions are on the test.

The new test is here:


But that is material for another week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Today I had my two oldest children memorize the Preamble to the Consitutution.  Let's see if I can remember it, by typing it right now:

We the People of the United States,
In order to form a more Perfect Union,
Establish Justice,
Insure Domestic Tranquility,
Provide for the Common Defence,
Promote the General Welfare and
Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
Do ordain and Establish this Constitution of the United States of America.

I'll admit, I couldn't do it and I cheated, but I'll work on it.

We also talked about the phrase, "In order to form a More Perfect Union." We discussed the definition of "more perfect" meaning that it wasn't perfect, but better than what they had before with the Articles of Confederation. We also discussed what "Union" meant and why the colonies were not united and the reasons they felt they needed something new. They weren't united because they began competing against one another, they lacked a common currency, and they lacked a central government to help regulate certain things.

I'm sorry if we are going kind of slow. I'm sure some of you are ready to get into the meat of it, but you have to bear with me, I'm teaching a 3rd and 4th grader.

If you want some nitty gritty details for today's lesson, you can read about Gouverneur Morris, who was the Founding Father that was primarily responsible for writing the text of the Preamble when he served on the Committee of Stile and Arrangement in the Summer of 1787. Just remember he wasn't actually a Governor. His name just happened to be Gouverneur.:


This is what he looked like:
Gouverneur Morris

OH! Also, I forgot about this.  Here is a video of the School House Rock song for the Preamble. It bothers me a little bit that they don't say the first line correctly.  They leave out, "of the United States." But it's good.  It will probably stick in your head for a little while, in a good way.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

I know it's Tuesday and I should be teaching something constitutional.  But I have nothing.  I'm trying to get ahead on my To Do list and I'm still busy taking my Christmas decorations down.  However, I will let you know that I am reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.  I really like it.  I'm reading it because it's the first selection in the Harvard Classics.

"The Harvard Classics?" you ask.  Yes, the Harvard Classics.  About 10 years ago my husband somehow came across a volume of the Harvard Classics.  He was determined to get the whole set.  They aren't that hard to come by, but the problem was that we were newlyweds and we didn't have any money.  Every weekend we would go on a hunt for Harvard Classics at thrift stores and garage sales.  Finally, we found a used bookstore that had a whole set (an old one).  The owners of the bookstore were very nice and they let us buy two volumes per week for $2.60 per book.  So since there are about 50 volumes, it took us about six months to get the whole set.

For the past several years the set has been sitting in our garage.  On Saturday we brought it into the house. Supposedly if you read the books, it's suppose to be like getting a college education, or something like that.  You can read more about it here.  Anyway, I was recently inspired to maybe try to read these books.  By nature I'm kind of the type of person who likes to watch The Bachelor and read People magazine, and the subject of history has never really been my "thing".  But learning about the Constitution and our Founder Fathers has been an enlightening experience.  I'm am thirsty for more knowledge in this subject area.  I was excited to find that the first selection was good 'ole Ben's Autobiography.

I also came across a homeschool method called the Thomas Jefferson Education.  I am partially adopting this method for our family.  It's basically a method that uses classic books instead of textbooks to teach your children.  Of course there is more involved, but that's the jist.  Several of the selections in the Harvard Classics are also classics included on the list of recommended reading for the Thomas Jefferson Education.

So there we have it.  Today's lesson is that I'm reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.  Ben Franklin was a Founding Father.

Oh, and did you happen to see Congress read the Constitution last week?  I sat with my kids and we watched it on C-Span.  The media kind of criticized that they left out certain parts that had been altered by amendments, saying that they were overlooking part of our country's history.  I say, "whatever."  I think it's cool that it was read and I hope it helps bring Congress to a remembrance that we should have Constitutionally sound legislation.

One more thing.  This weekend we took a tour of a local attraction.  It's where our state ratified the constitution.  I got to take the kids' picture by a framed copy of the Constitution.  They were excited to see it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year from Constitution Tuesday!

I'm back from hiatus.  Christmas and New Years was fun.  For Christmas my husband bought me some cool American History/ Constitution study material. This is what I got:

I haven't started this book yet.  It will probably take me awhile.  It looks good.

I'm hoping to come up with a syllabus for Constitution Tuesday with this book and the book below:

I've told you about this book before.  It's a good read.

A nice easy 32 page read.

Did you hear that Congress is going to begin Opening Session by reading the Constitution on January 6th?  How cool is that?  From what I've read, it's the first time it's ever been read in a session of congress.  The goal is to "underscore the limited-government rules the Founders imposed on Congress and to try to bring some of those principles back into everyday legislating."  

For full article read this:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/23/we-the-people-to-open-next-congress/

I think we should all read it this week, or at least some of it.

Sorry I don't have more lesson today.  I'm working on it.  I'm still recovering from Christmas.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Card

Nothing says "American" like an awesome Christmas card from Shutterfly!

Merry Glee Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Catechism on the Constitution

I wanted to share this cool little thing I found this week. Way back a long time ago they used to teach the Constitution to small children.  Not just teach it, but teach it well and kind of drill it.  This is a book published in 1828, written by Arthur Stansbury.  It's a question and answer guide to the Constitution.  Of course not all the material is still completely relevant because of Amendments and stuff, but it's a good course for children and adults to get introduced to the content of the Constitution.  I thought it was pretty cool.  It's called Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States: For the use of schools.  Do you remember learning the Constitution in this much depth?  I don't.  I recommend reading it.  I like it.