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AP US Govt @ PA Homeschoolers

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Is anyone familiar with AP US Government through PA Homeschoolers (Mrs. Rachel Califf)? I'm considering this course for my ds and would like to know if anyone has any good/bad experiences with it.


1. Was your child well-prepared for the exam after taking this course? What did he/she score?

2. What is the workload like? The website says 60-90 minutes per day. Is that accurate?

3. Were the discussions engaging?

4. Is this class doable for an academically bright but workload challenged 9th grader? He would be doing it alongside his 12th grade brother.


Any info would be appreciated.




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My son was well prepared for the test and got a five, but I think he could have done just as well without the class. Mrs. Califf was VERY slow about grading, often unclear about directions, and slow to respond to emails. A lot of the assignments seemed like busy work. I have been very happy with most PA Homeschoolers classes, but this is not one I'd recommend.


It is an easy class and an easy exam, though, so your 9th grader probably wouldn't have any trouble with it. I just didn't think the class was worth the money.

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but I think he could have done just as well without the class.


It is an easy class and an easy exam, though, so your 9th grader probably wouldn't have any trouble with it. I just didn't think the class was worth the money.


Good to know - that's our plan for next year.

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Agreeing with the previous posters that AP US Government is one of the easier AP courses to do at home. My kids self-studied it with great results, though I did do the readings and discussions along with them.

Here's what we used:


1) The American Democracy (Patterson), 6th edition...a typical AP text, kind of meh, but it worked


2) The Lanahan Readings in the American Polity...book of source readings & essays, excellent!


3) the Federalist Papers (selections)


4) Barron's review guide for test prep


I coordinated the Lanahan readings and the Federalist Papers with the textbook (Patterson) with the help of some syllabi that I located online.


My kids spent about an hour a day on this at most for one semester (we paired it with economics for the other semester). They felt that this was one of the easier exams, but they were seniors at the time & they read quickly.


To spice it up, I had them each pick an issue to get personally involved with that year. My son chose to follow a bill affecting homeschooling through the state legislature. We went downtown to sit in on hearings, etc. My daughter got involved in another issue, & we traveled to DC where we visited our representatives in Congress and took part in a march on the Capitol.

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Muttichen - Thank you for this insight. I do not care for "unclear directions". Anything my older ds can twist around to make easier, he will. And with his extracurriculars, we can do without busy work.


Kathy in Richmond - Your info is very helpful. However, my older ds MUST take classes online or at the community college. This was his revelation. He realizes that he puts in more effort and stays on track when the teacher is someone other than mom.


I'll look into PA other government class...Comparative Govt, I think it is.



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My two boys grades 9 and 11 are taking it right now. Ms. Califf warned me ahead of time that when she has two siblings taking it the younger one normally does not do well. I went ahead and signed him up because the year before he had done rhetoric level TOG. He LOVES history and reads quickly and tons of books.


However, my 9th grader HATES the class. Let me tell you why:


1. The textbook is horribly dry and boring. He has never used a textbook for history. TOG is sort of textbooks but has tons of other things like biographies and such.


2. The teacher had to have a c-section as class was starting this year and her grading wasn't timely first semester. Hence he wrote like 4 essays before he even got one back. So he by the time he got feedback it was too late to correct it. He got VERY discouraged. She has been MUCH better this semester and her comments have been very helpful.


3. Although he loves to argue with me, I found out that he actually does not want to have an opinion on issues. So the short answer question each week he struggles with. It will ask something like this:

Discuss ways in which bureaucratic policies affect our everyday activities. For example, how might decisions by bureaucratic agencies affect the food that you eat, the car that you drive, or the medicine that you can take when you are ill? Is there any recourse for citizens who object to the rules imposed by bureaucratic agencies?


He is says he really doesn't care. I tell him why he should, but these were the type questions he hated. Now, I guess they have just been completion grades because I have never seen any comments by her on what he has written.


4. Some of the students get involved in passionate discussions. He will not. He is afraid the students won't like what he thinks. He is VERY self-consious right now and that isn't the teacher's fault.


5. He struggles with the multiple choice. The questions confuse him as they are not straight forward but rather take information from several places and merge them. You have to think about what you know and how to apply it. It isn't a fact you can memorize.


6. Consider the relationship of the brothers. I thought it would be good as they could study together. Ha!! My oldest reads the chapter in one day. Looks it over and gets an A on the multiple choice quiz. My middle one reads it slowly over several days taking notes, takes the practice test that goes with the chapter and makes a C or a D. His oldest brother says he just knows what the answer is... ( that is not helpful!)


He has done very well on the article and cartoon analysis as well as the grading essay part. He has yet to write a good timed essay..


All of that said, my 9th grader has a very strong B in the class because of all of the extra credit points, participation points, etc. We discovered this year that online classes are not his strong suit. He likes a live teacher where he can talk in class. He will be doing all community college classes and no more online classes. We even decided to have him do Algebra at the community college and not JanTX online classes..


I hope this helps. My 11th grader LOVES the class and has enjoyed it and thinks the teacher is great. He took an AP class as a 10th grader ( AP STats) and so he already knows the procedures and it fits him. That said..he struggled at first in AP STats. Blue Hen was WONDERFUL about helping him and by October the light bulb had clicked about what he needed to do.


So I am not blaming Ms. Califf at all. I think she is great and she did warn me... I just thought my bright 9th grader could handle it and I mean, he has a B. If I can coach him through the essay part over the next few weeks, I think he will at least get a 3 and probably a 4 on the exam. My oldest will probably get a 5.

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