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Constitutional Literacy Workbook & DVD Set Review by Erica Beyea

Michael Farris & Jonathan Rogers
Apologia Educational Ministries
1106 Meridian Plaza Suite 220/340
Anderson, IN 46016

Never before in the history of America has it been as relevant and important to know and understand our government and the Constitution than it is today. American media and government leaders are continually changing the meaning of words and ideas to suit their personal purposes and there is a lack of basic understanding of the principles that our nation was founded upon. Homeschool families can successfully rise above this problem and face the challenges of modern America by educating themselves with the Constitutional Literacy course from Apologia Educational Ministries.

This twenty-five chapter course will enlighten and equip students to have a firm grasp on the laws that govern our land. Designed to cover one chapter per week, students can take a full semester to complete this course. The training begins with an Introduction to the Constitution, teaching the student how to interpret and understand the words, and laying the foundation for a thorough understanding of the functions of government. From there, it reviews original intent of the authors of the Constitution, the ideas that influenced them at the time it was written, and the three branches of government. Each individual right, as laid out in the Constitutional Amendments, is examined to explore its relevancy both as written, and in our modern era. Supreme Court cases regarding these liberties are examined to discover how they either supported or rejected the Constitution in their decision.

There are five DVDs, with five lessons each. Lessons are approximately 20-25 minutes long, and have an interesting mix of video, speaking, and graphics. It is not just a lecture, but is well illustrated and enhanced with music and video clips. Each chapter in the workbook is about ten to fifteen pages long. Students are instructed to first read the chapter in the workbook, and then watch the video, pausing as needed to fill out the pages in the workbook. All of the answers for the workbook can be found while watching the video.

Workbook chapters are divided into six sections: purpose, which outlines the lesson; parlance, listing new vocabulary words that the student will learn; preamble, giving historical background of the topic; ponder, which includes study questions for the student; payoff, a summary of the chapter; and probe, which assigns some deeper study and research ideas relevant to the topic that the student can complete on their own. The chapters include illustrations and interesting character sketches of historical figures.

This Constitutional Literacy course was designed for high school students through adults. Mature themes such as abortion and homosexual rights are tactfully discussed. Author and Constitutional expert Michael Farris teaches this same material on the college level at Patrick Henry College. It is not watered down at all, even though this course is appropriate for high school students. They can expect to be challenged and have their mind stretched as they study this course, but when they have finished, they will have an understanding of the Constitution and American Government that few adults possess. 

We have used this course in our homeschool with our high school students. As parents, we have also studied right alongside our children. Even though we are well-educated adults, we found much of this material to be new to us. The course digs deep into its content, and it has been exciting to use. Learning this material as a family has been a significant source of growth. We have found the lessons presented in a thorough way that makes it easy to understand, though the course can be labor intensive. When the work is invested in the course, the result is definitely a well-rounded citizen with a strong grasp on American Government and the laws of the land. We are using this course in our homeschool for a History elective and could not be more pleased with the results, giving this our highest recommendation for not only high school homeschoolers, but any adults who wish to learn more about the Constitution as well. The full course, workbook and DVD set, can be purchased from Apologia for $99. Extra workbooks, which I recommend for families with multiple students so each can have their own, can be purchased for $33.

In this presidential election year, we have two children who are voting in their first presidential election. There has been much discussion in our home about the Constitution and the laws of our country. Working through this course has increased understanding and I feel that it has made us all better American citizens.

-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016