Constitutional Literacy with Michael Farris

Constitutional literacy (knowing and understanding the Constitution of the United States of America) has four parts: what the document says (i.e. words and phrases), what the words and phrases meant to the men who wrote them, what the Supreme Court has ruled on various phrases, and lastly, how Supreme Court interpretations have differed from the original meaning. Michael Farris, a Constitutional scholar and lawyer with the Home School Legal Defense Association, designed a course to teach his own daughters the principles of American liberty that are found in the Constitution. That course evolved - revised and expanded through a class of interns for HSLDA, to an online course for homeschool students, and finally as a required course for all students at Patrick Henry College. Now in this form - DVD lectures plus study workbook - it is accessible and doable for all Christian students and families.

The general format is straight-forward and simple: read a workbook chapter, then watch the DVD lecture with the workbook open, pausing to answer questions. Completing one of the 25 episodes each week while also completing one or more of the assignments/projects found at the end of each chapter means the course can be done in an academic school year.

The Workbook lessons have a consistent format and are designed to provide both understanding of the lecture material as well as a resource for remembering and reviewing that material. Lessons include these sections. Purpose - bulleted points that provide an overview. Parlance - a section on vocabulary - the special legal terminology used by legislators, jurists, attorneys, and constitutional scholars. Preamble - introduction of the chapter topic with historical background or in the context of everyday life. Ponder - digging deeper into the specific issues covered in the lecture. Payoff - a summary of the issues and arguments covered in the chapter. Probe - explore how the concepts relate to contemporary issues. Also included in the workbook are profiles of important people, cases, or topics. The author's answers to all questions are available online at the publisher's website. The complete text of the U.S. Constitution and a glossary of terms are included as appendices. 350 pgs, spiral bound

The five-disc set of DVDs provide over eight hours of lecture instruction. Although lectures by Michael Farris are the heart of the DVD content, PowerPoint informational overlays are utilized as well as other multimedia content ensuring the videos are engaging.

This is obviously a valuable course for our students (and parents, as well). ~ Janice

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