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American History, Government and Economics.

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We want to study this all together in 1 year. We want to keep Government and Economics studies in context of American History (so it will start from the beginning and end where we are now) but we want it to have a STRONG Gov/Econ aspect to it. Does this make sense? I know MFW has the option for 2 years but is there anything that does it thoroughly in 1 year? We want to spend 2 years going through World History (Similar to MFW WHL but something that will be enough to do over 2 years so we don't feel rushed- possibly SWB books + supplements if they are all out by then) but want to get a THOROUGH year of American History, Government and Economics in as well. What are my choices?

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I can't give any specific recommendations, but my plan is this:


This year, a full year of American Gov't. We've already done a fair amount of Colonial/Rev hist. After we are done with American Gov't we will spend the summer filling American history holes, as gov't covers a lot of that anyway. We're going to do Hillsdale online constitution course, Homeschool Connections online election course, and then a traditional American Gov't book. I really want to do gov't this year, because of the election, and I want to give it a full year because I think it's that important.


Next year we will do a full year of econ, as I also think that econ is very, very important. I don't like the 1 semester skim of econ that most texts give, so I'm going to be amalgamating my own sources.


That's my plan. Good luck forming your own!

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I don't have any specific suggestions for you, since we're doing things a little differently. But I'll be happy to share what I have planned.


Next year, my son will study Modern U.S. History (1865 - present) for the full year. In the first semester, because I want to do this during election season, he'll do half a credit of American Government.


For the history portion, I'm using:


- American History on Screen, about 10 of the films.

- another 25 or so films for which I'm writing my own units.

- second half of the U.S. History course on Hippo Campus.

- Don't Know Much About History, selections.

- several of the lessons here: http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/

- ideas and structure from Hewitt's honors syllabus.


For government, I'm using:


- this text: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/american-government-karen-oconnor/1014569340?ean=9780321317117 .

- selected readings from Debating Democracy.

- The Complete Idiot's Guide to American Government.

- some of the games from www.iCivics.org.

- ideas from Hewitt's syllabus.


My plan is to do half a credit of economics the following year.

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We will also be doing 1 credit of government. TOG gives 1/2 credit and we will also use the HippoCampus AP Government for 1/2 credit. I also plan to use iCivics, Road to the White House board game, and some fun/interesting projects. Ds will take the AP Exam.


AP American History will be a mixture of TOG Year 3, HippoCampus, movies, A Biography of America from Annenberg.

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We did extra work (i.e., more than just a textbook) for each of the Gov't and Econ, though only counted each as 0.5 credit each. We did 2 of the 3 subjects you listed together in one year (US History and Government) -- I think it would be WAY TOO HEAVY to do all three of these topics simultaneously. If you want a THOROUGH study of these three subjects together that cover from the founding of the U.S. to present, please be prepared to spend 2 full years on it. You will NOT be able to thoroughly cover all three topics in one year, in my opinion (unless you plan to only do math and one other course that year). I also think you risk serious burn-out rather than getting serious depth, esp. if doing this with a new high schooler, and if the student has not shown a deep past interest in all three topics.


A different way to get your depth is to a 2-year plan; in year 1, do early-to-Civil-War American History with a full year of American Government; the formation of our Government and many key judicial decisions happen by the 1850s (though, you will then need to study the Executive Branch bureaucracy and Civil Rights, and modern campaigns/politics either the following year, or separate from the Historical time period, as those are primarily from 1950s to present). Then in year 2, do Reconstruction-to-present American History with a full year of Economics; the bulk of your American Economics happens from about 1920 to present.


We did the American History and Government when our 2 DSs were grades 10 and 11, using Notgrass' Exploring America (History) and Great Source: Government textbook for Government. We also did the Uncle Eric book "Are You Liberal, Conservative or Confused." DSs also participated in the state YMCA Youth & Gov't program, each for 3 years. Not only did that give them a thorough understanding of how our government works, but they really understand the political rhetoric of speeches; how to read propositions that are on the ballot and understand them; and how to think through the pros and cons for voting -- Youth & Gov't really turned our 2 DSs who could care less into young men who take their Civic Responsibilities seriously, which is what I personally think learning Government is all about... :001_smile:



Other resources that would be very valuable to consider using (esp. with a younger student):

- Hippo Campus free online text for American Government

- Complete Idiot's Guide to American Government

- Complete Idiot's Guide to Government and US Politics


If you plan to do Government with a young high school student, consider the Standard Deviant series of videos on Government, and *definitely* get your student involved in either your state's Youth & Gov't program, or TEEN Pact program (Christian). Also consider a Model UN program, or a mock judicial branch program for teens -- I linked all the "biggies" in this past post.


The very best way to learn this stuff is by doing it! JMO!




The following year we did Economics (DSs were grades 11 and 12). I don't think I would have wanted to do this topic any younger than age 16, and it would have to be a bright, interested and motivated student. Microeconomics, but especially Macroeconomics is a tough subject, as it requires SO much understanding of past History to allow you to focus on governmental policies and how those were a response to what was happening world-wide and within the nation at a social, historical, and political level. If you don't already have a handle on the History, you're trying to absorb several topics simultaneously, whereas if you wait on the Economics and do it AFTER you've done the American and Modern World histories, it adds depth to your past history studies instead of just being overwhelming. Just my 2 cents worth.


When we did the Econ, we used the Teaching Company: Economics lecture series (Timothy Taylor), the Uncle Eric book "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy", and for personal finance, Larry Burkett's Money Matters for Teens and Dave Ramsey's Foundations in Personal Finance. Again, just my opinion, but the personal finance aspects, which technically not usually considered part of an Economics credit are *critical* for students to learn how to be wise with money. And the TC: Economics lectures were extremely well done, especially in using real examples from American fiscal policies in the past 15 years and the real results, both within our country and internationally. Also, because we did this AFTER the Government class, we could really understand the importance of what Congress is doing/not doing and how profoundly that affects our family's personal finances.



Another Economics Resource (accessible to younger students):

- Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics


Other Economics Resources highly recommended by WTMers (but probably best for older students):

- Basic Economics 2nd Ed: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell (secular) = http://www.amazon.com'>http://www.amazon.com

- Economics in One Easy Lesson by Henry Hazlitt (secular) = http://www.amazon.com

- Economics in a Box (Christian?) = http://www.economicsinabox.com/



Best of luck, whatever you decide. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I have wondered if the colleges will look askance (ohhh vocab!) at our transcript for a full Government credit since most only require a half-credit.



This shouldn't be an issue; there are some state education boards which require a full year of Government, plus 0.5 credit (half year) of Economics. Some states also require a 0.25-0.5 credit of Personal Finance in addition to an Economics credit. The History portion of Social Studies also varies, with some states requiring 1 year of American History, and some require 2 years; some require only 1 year of World History, while some require 2 years, or 1 year World History and 1 year World Geography...


Since there is such a wide divergence among the states on the Social Studies requirements, most colleges only require 2 credits of Social Studies, and allow a wide variety of things to count (History, Geography, Government, Economics, Psychology, etc.). Colleges are more concerned about Math and Writing skills at this point...


BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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