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U.S. Constitution Course Review by Jennifer HarrisonAn American View of Law, Liberty, and Government
Institute on the Constituion
8028 Ritchie Highway, Suite #315
Pasadena, MD 21122
This summer, I attended a homeschool conference that featured Jake Macaulay and his presentation on the American view of law and government. Jake is President of the Institute on the Constitution, which endeavors to restore an American View of law and government. They sum that view up nicely with this statement:
“There is a God, our rights come from Him,
and the purpose of civil government is to protect our God-given right.”
In his conference session, Macaulay boasted that after completing his U.S. Constitution Course, my student would know more than the average politician about the U.S. Constitution and the original intent of the founders who framed our founding documents. I was intrigued. My son is a senior and he wants to study Law and possibly enter into politics one day. I want to send him off with an excellent civics course, and I have found it in this program. More than just civics, this course provides a full understanding of the Biblical principles that are the backbone of our founding documents.
The U.S. Constitution Basic Student Course Kit includes two DVDs featuring 12 lectures on the U.S. Constitution. The kit also includes an impressive Student Manual, which includes lecture notes, assignments, essays, source documents, and quizzes that correspond with each lecture. It’s everything you need in one book. The DVD lectures are roughly twenty minutes long. They are interesting lectures that could be appreciated by the entire family, making interesting dinner conversation. There are optional extra assignments available online as free resources but there is plenty to be gleaned from the lessons without them. The twelve lessons include the following lectures:
- An American View of Law, Liberty, and Government
- America’s Beginnings: Discovery, Purpose, & the Founders’ Faith
- The Philosophical Worldview of the Constitution
- 1776-1789: From Independence to the Constitution
- Overview of the Constitution: Preamble and Article I
- Overview of the Constitution: Articles II and III
- Overview of the Constitution: Articles IV, V, VI, and VII
- The Bill of Rights and The First Amendment
- Amendments II-X
- Amendments XI-XXVII
- The Crisis of the Constitution: From Biblical Absolutes to Evolutionary Humanistic Relativism
- Reclaiming the Constitution: How do We Approach the Restoration of the American Constitutional Republic?
Because of the flexible format, there are a variety of ways you can schedule the program. The entire thing can be crammed into a weekend, an arrangement that could work well for homeschool groups or church groups, though it would be a lot of information to take in all at once. At home or as a group, you could work through the lessons at a rate of one per day or one per week. We opted to devote two weeks to each lesson so that we could spend a little extra time absorbing the content without strain to our schedule.
A typical lesson for us would start with a viewing of the DVD, followed by some discussion with mom. The twenty-minute lesson seminars are given by Jake Macaulay, who manages to convey the seriousness of our modern position in an inspiring way, rather than in anger or despair. Students follow along with the seminar, using a fill-in-the-blank lecture page from the student manual.
The rest of the week is spent reading the assigned material and discussing it. These reading assignments are brief, usually including only a couple of pages. The reading material is provided in the student manual and it includes:
- The Mayflower Compact
- Declaration of Independence
- The United States Constitution
- Amendments to the Constitution of the United States
- The Law by Frederick Bastiat
For the second week, my son reviews his lecture notes in preparation for a test on the lesson. The test and the answer key are both found in the student manual.
Upon finishing the course, the book includes a form to mail in to The American View to send off for a certificate of completion, showing the student has completed a full Civics course as required for high school students.
The cost for this program is $125.00 (tax included). In addition to this Basic Student Course, they also offer a Complete Course on the U.S. Constitution which includes the DVDs and Manual in the Basic kit, as well as a Host Manual, 6 more DVDs, a CD, a book, and a booklet. That kit is $250.00.
I am thankful that I found this program. Though my interest was originally spurred by my concern for my son’s future law career, I think it is an important course for all citizens. It is an eye-opening course that not only shows us how far we’ve strayed from the original intent of our founding documents, but it also gives practical understanding of what needs done to make a difference in where our country is headed.
-Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2017