Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting a Constitutional Education – Free Homeschool Curriculum

As a homeschooling father, I am always looking for ways to teach my three kids a unique, but true, perspective of any subject. I take it as a personal challenge to ensure that I research topics and understand them thoroughly before attempting to pass on any learning. This does require quite a bit of time, and sometimes I wish I had more time to pursue other interests like golf or restoring an old car. But right now, at this stage of my life, nothing is more important than impressing true, meaningful knowledge and wisdom on these three children living in my house.

The Constitution of the United States is one of the most important documents ever created, and likely affects those of us who live in the United States more than any other single paper written entirely by men. It is one of the few mandatory subject requirements handed down by our state board of education. I wonder – how many people have read the Constitution? Do our public schools require the reading of the document, or do they only present the subjective interpretation of what the Constitution means? I have decided this: my children are going to read the Constitution and are going to understand what it means. And I intend to teach them how it can become distorted in our country and in our government so greatly that the principles contained within that document are almost unrecognizable today. Finally, I intend to instruct them on how they can have an effect to reverse this trend in their lifetime.

To this end, I am starting a nine-part series on the Constitution, what was meant in the words that the founding fathers laid out, and how it is interpreted today. I have read several books lately that have helped tremendously on this topic – most notably by David McCullough and Thomas J. DiLorenzo. In the coming weeks, you should expect to read the truth about topics such as (click on the highlighted text to go directly to the article):

1. Does the Constitution give the President as much power as we seem to think? What about the Supreme Court? Are the nine justices that sit on the court really invested with the ultimate authority to interpret the Constitution and how it applies to our freedoms?

2. What was the purpose of the Constitution in regards to states' rights versus central government rights? What did the framers intend in regard to this power struggle? Was the Constitution approved as a nation? How does the Seventeenth Amendment affect this?

3. Is government debt really okay? What are the pros and cons? Is it constitutional for the government to go into debt?

4. What happened to states' rights when the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified?

5. What are the concepts of secession and nullification about? And was Abraham Lincoln really a good president?

6. What are “enumerated powers” versus “implied powers” in the Constitution?

7. What happened to my money when the Federal Reserve Act became law in 1913?

8. What is the “General Welfare Clause” and should I like it?

9. What brought about the birth of “judicial activism”? Was this interpretation intended by the founding fathers?

Consider this to be curriculum suitable for using with your own children – all for free. Two installments per week will be posted, ending in early March. When the series is completed, I’ll put together an official question and answer key that homeschooling families can use. Until then, feel free to share these postings with your children and discuss the overall principles behind some very meaningful Constitutional principles. There will easily be enough material here to count as a quarter’s credit in government.

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