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Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government Review by Lori Hooten

Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall
The Foundation for American Christian Education
4225 Portsmouth Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23321

Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government brings to students the “idea of America”. Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall have written a course that helps each student understand more about the history, beliefs, and ideals that America was founded upon. In addressing this idea, the students understand how America was created and just what it means to be under a self-governing nation.

Knowing and understanding American history is important so that Americans can continue to walk in the footsteps laid by our forefathers. Knowing America’s Christian history is a major part of this. Nation Makers covers the history of America, though it does not claim to be a history course. Reviewing the history of America is vital in understanding the idea of America. While not a philosophy course, worldview and how to think are taught within the pages of this study. And in working through the course, students will study and think about the Biblical principles important to early Americans.

Nation Makers teaches students how to think, how to reason, and how to discern. In working through this course, students will use these skills, learn how to apply them, and learn how to articulate their own thoughts and understanding.  The chapters begin with The Necessity of Christian Character. The Blessing of Self-Government is addressed next followed by The Nature of Law, The Impact of Christ on Religion, Education and Government. The last chapter is America - The Fullest Expression of a Christian Nation.

The teaching method recommended in the Teacher’s Planning Guide for this program is Read/Chat/Write. Students read the selection and write a single summary sentence for each paragraph read. Then the student(s) and teacher chat about the ideas and summaries. Each section ends with an essay that applies the ideas from the chapter and allows the students to express their understanding. Each of these activities is marked with an icon in the margin of the student book and the teaching method is more thoroughly discussed in the teacher guide.

Additional methods are employed to help the students grasp the ideas and concepts in Nation Makers. In addition to the Read/Chat/Write process, Memory Trees help student break down ideas from general to specific and retain the information. Definitions are also an important part of this study. T-charts, timelines, overviews, discussions, and written responses all assist the student in memory and understanding. The full-color book brings the text to life with quotes, primary source materials, and artwork that illustrate ideas well.

Appropriate for high school and above, this course is almost completely self-contained in the 142-page softback book. There are a couple of suggested resources and a downloadable Teacher Planning Guide that are not included in this book. The Teacher Planning Guide is a PDF file that is 25 pages. It gives the teacher an overview of the program and shows how to implement some of the strategies. It includes a Quarter Plan with goals and a year-long plan in 9-week blocks with the week’s key idea to help the teacher prepare for the course. The cost is $29.95 and includes both the softback student book and the Teacher Planning Guide download.

This course is interesting and a different approach to the founding of America. Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government helps students grasp ideas and learn to think with discernment. Through this, America is renewed and Christian self-government and liberty under law understood.

-Product review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2018