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Need help creating a class for my political junkie ds15


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My son loves everything political.  He watches C-SPAN every moment that he can.  He is truly interested in the entire process, and enjoys reading articles about issues from different points of view.  This year, he did a civics class using Notgrass.  Next year, he is requesting as much history (I have that covered) and politics/government as I can give him.  I'm trying to come up with a class that is different than civics. I have several resources that I think he would enjoy (a Founding Fathers Great Courses class, a workbook that he wants to work through about applying the Bill of Rights to Supreme Ct cases, a few other things).  I'm thinking of having him keep a "political notebook" where he can keep track of current events, bills debated, etc.  What he does NOT want is for me to make this too "schoolish"--so he would not like tons of big papers, etc.., which I am fine with since that is covered in his writing program.  Anyone have any ideas to help me flesh this out or ideas for what I can call this course?  Thanks!

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What did he cover in civics?

I'd suggest dividing his attention (and the course) between local, state, and federal governance, and then the different branches/power structures within each of those.  

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Maybe he would like to take a look at Ancient Greece and the origins of democracy? I'm in full on Ancient History mode with my high schooler so that's what comes to mind 😅 I found this great courses https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/athenian-democracy-an-experiment-for-the-ages I don't have experience with this course but it might be worth taking a look.

Just a broad idea but depending on his interest you could dive in deeper 🙂

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Politics is a really wide, wide field.

Generally speaking, he should have a full year of US History and a half year of US Government on a standard high school transcript.

If you are wanting to add electives, you might consider things like:

*international relations

*international political economy

*content areas for traditional lobbyists/politicians: monetary & fiscal policy, social justice issues, infrastructure & agencies, etc.

*constitutional law

I would not put him into Famous Men of Greece, or the like. I'd start having him read from where politicians and lawyers read: The Economist, SCOTUSblog, foreign policy.com, and so on. If you wanted to give it a title, I'd call it "policy research" and also have him scope out the major US think tanks.  Policy research is the gateway to policy analysis. (Policy analysis adds social science research and economics analysis.)

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If he is open to reading articles and such from different points of view and wants to really expand his knowledge in this area, I highly recommend something along the lines of the AP Comparative Gov't course outline. We just finished up this last week and it has now become a required class for my dc. The perspective we all came away with is amazing! We all have a better understanding of not just the U.S. political system/government but how it compares with other countries which is really superb. I would throw in more countries if possible including India and North Korea. I used this site as my jumping off point along with this one from C-Span. I used oodles of YouTube videos and articles galore.

We spent 4 semesters on Gov't/Civics and this was an excellent way to wrap things up.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, answerdeskwtm said:

I think @lewelmadid something similar, very loosely organized. She might have some reading and viewing suggestions.

We called it Contemporary World Problems. My son read The Economist, National Geographic, and Scientific American for 1 to 2 hours per night year round for 4 years. For output he wrote 3 one page response papers (just so I could say it had some sort of output), and we discussed issues a LOT. We did cross cultural discussions on how different government systems were more or less effective at solving different types of problems and why.  Not exactly 'politics' but current event focused on a world wide scale. 

Edited by lewelma
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So many great ideas here!  Thank you all so much!  This past year, his civics class was just a broad overview of the US government (3 branches, etc.).  I'm going to sit down with ds and use these ideas and see if we can make a plan.  Thanks again!  🙂

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16 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

If he is open to reading articles and such from different points of view and wants to really expand his knowledge in this area, I highly recommend something along the lines of the AP Comparative Gov't course outline. We just finished up this last week and it has now become a required class for my dc. The perspective we all came away with is amazing! We all have a better understanding of not just the U.S. political system/government but how it compares with other countries which is really superb. I would throw in more countries if possible including India and North Korea. I used this site as my jumping off point along with this one from C-Span. I used oodles of YouTube videos and articles galore.

We spent 4 semesters on Gov't/Civics and this was an excellent way to wrap things up.

We did AP Comparative Government and it remains one of my favorite courses. It is also one of the least taken AP exams, so it can stand out a bit on a transcript.

One thing we did was take about 6 months worth of The Economist and tear out as many long articles as we could find that related to the case study countries. These became a reading packet when we studied each country. When the kids took their exam, this reading gave them extensive background information that was fodder for the free response questions.

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My very politically minded DS also did Comparative Gov & Politics, but did not end up taking the AP exam. I think he could have aced it with a little targeted test prep, but for him just learning the info and presenting it to me in a lecture format was engaging enough to satisfy him. We used this book plus it's companion case study book and it was phenomenal! 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/2/2021 at 8:17 PM, prairiewindmomma said:

Politics is a really wide, wide field.

Generally speaking, he should have a full year of US History and a half year of US Government on a standard high school transcript.

If you are wanting to add electives, you might consider things like:

*international relations

*international political economy

*content areas for traditional lobbyists/politicians: monetary & fiscal policy, social justice issues, infrastructure & agencies, etc.

*constitutional law

I would not put him into Famous Men of Greece, or the like. I'd start having him read from where politicians and lawyers read: The Economist, SCOTUSblog, foreign policy.com, and so on. If you wanted to give it a title, I'd call it "policy research" and also have him scope out the major US think tanks.  Policy research is the gateway to policy analysis. (Policy analysis adds social science research and economics analysis.)

My son loves this idea of "policy research".  Any other suggestion for quality sources along the same lines as The Economist, foreignpolicy.com, and the Supreme Court blog?  I'd like to make a big list and then narrow it down.  Still thinking how we might like to organize his studies.

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I'm putting together a class for my dd. I'm not sure how I'm going to categorize it, but we will be studying N Korea, Sarajevo, Haiti, Afganistan, Pakistan, Rwanda,  China, Russia, and Vietnam.  (About 1 month each).  I just finished Nothing to Envy as a preview read. It is excellent. She also has a book on Sarajevo (I havent read it yet.)  The Big Truck That Went By is about Haiti after the earthquake. I just started it, but it has been really good so far.

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I recommend reading the book The Righteous Mind.  It would be a great companion to thinking about issues from more than one side.  The Justice series of lectures may be good as well.  

Also, keep in mind that a course about government is not the same as thinking about politics and political issues.

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