Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
One of our educational goals for our children is to have a good understanding of our government and grow up to be informed, productive citizens. As a part of that goal, we have been looking for an excellent high school-level government class. We have recently reviewed the Principles and Precepts of Government from Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum (PAC).
What Is Principles and Precepts of Government?
The Principles and Precepts of Government curriculum included three text booklets and three coordinating activity booklets. There was also a teacher’s resource kit with tests and quizzes. You can choose from print or digital versions, and we were able to look over both for this review. The program is worth ½ of a social studies credit.
The text booklets are approximately 60-75 pages in length. Each one contains three sections which are further divided into five topics.
The content begins with the evolution of government, going back to historic empires before Christ. Then it moves on to the Roman government before introducing the colonies and the beginning of the US government.
The second booklet is an in-depth look at the constitution, the bill of rights, and the branches of government. The final booklet covers state and local government, the election of the president, rights and responsibilities, and parliamentary procedure.
I am somewhat concerned that the paper formatting of the text booklets may not hold up to long-term use.
Each topic is only 3-4 pages in length, making it a manageable amount to cover in a day. At the beginning of each topic, a vocabulary list covers essential vocabulary from within the text. Those vocabulary words are also written in bold format within the text. There are black and white illustrations and maps sprinkled throughout the text.
Most sections also include a life principle, an important quote about government from famous historical figures. For example, one of the sections is from Francis Bacon. “If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us.”
The activity books are broken down into the same chapter, sections, and topics as the textbooks, which makes pairing them seamless. Each topic has a page or two of questions that are mostly fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice. Sometimes, there are places to write down quotes or important content, such as the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.
I think it is important to note that while these are called activity books, they are more in the style of what most people would consider workbooks. There are no hands-on activities, just the questions.
How Did We Use Principles and Precepts of Government?
I have a rising ninth-grader and a rising high school junior who both need an American Government course, so we are going through this course with both. They are doing the work independently, but then we discuss it as a family. (You need a second set of activity books for a second student as they are consumable.)
Since it is broken down into small topics, we can do two to three topics a week and cover the course material in one semester.
What Did I Think?
I liked that the curriculum was straightforward and easy to use. They had the students understand the background of our government and get a good knowledge of our constitution. Grading was simple because it included worksheets and tests.
I would like to see a little more time on primary source materials and more hands-on learning, but I appreciate the quality content and ease of use.
I also really appreciated this quote on the Paradigm website, “Principles and Precepts of Government is designed to equip students with an understanding of the evolution of various forms of governance, and thereby gain an appreciation of the workings and myriad benefits afforded in their American Republic, the sacrifices to bring it to fruition, and the requirements of involvement to preserve it.”
I just felt like that quote aligned with our family’s desire to teach our children about our government.
Both of my high school students will complete this course and some additional government materials to make a full government credit in the fall. You can also pair this course with an economics course from Paradigm to make a full credit.
What Did the Teenagers Think?
“I like how it is easy to find where you need to be in the text and activity books because Chapter #, Section #, and topic # are given at the top of the page. At the beginning of each section, it gives a vocabulary part, and throughout the section, it highlights all the words in the vocabulary part. I like how the quizzes are formatted with multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, or true or false questions. The curriculum covers from about 500 BC to more modern times, which I like because it gives you a good background on how government started and how it works now.” Elizabeth, Age 14
“The government course is a great course on the history roots and workings of the US government and I like the way that the quizzes are set up as multiple choice or fill in the blank.” Matthew, Age 15
Overall, this is an excellent self-paced American Government course for high schoolers. Most high schoolers could complete it independently, or you can add in family discussions. If your student is a more hands-on or auditory learner, you may want to add some additional activities or lectures.
I encourage you to check out this course and the other offerings at Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum. You can also click on the graphic below to see what other Review Crew Members thought about various classes.