View Full Version : Has anyone used the Constitutional Literacy

Leslie Nelsen
07-27-2015, 10:58 PM
course put out by HSLDA? Or know anything about it? Just curious as someone locally was looking to do this with a group and I thought I would ask y'all for information.


Robin in Colorado
07-28-2015, 09:56 AM
YES! I love it. I have taught it to high schoolers - this is my 4th summer.

I'm headed out right now but would love to share in detail what I like, don't like, and how it has worked well (or not) in the years I've been teaching it.

Leslie Nelsen
07-28-2015, 10:55 AM
Thank you Robin! I would love to hear more! :)

Robin in Colorado
07-28-2015, 01:33 PM
The series is on a 2nd edition now; I use the first.

I teach teens over the summer. I usually teach a class every other week and it takes 2 summers. FWIW, we have a t-shirt that the students buy at the end of the class, and we go out to lunch together wearing our shirts.

The class runs from 9 until around 1:00. We have a break at noon to eat and play Frisbee. I have a PDF teacher notebook and student notebook that came with the curriculum. I print the student notebook and bind it; they pay me for it. They use the same notebook both summers. The class meets in my family room; I have room for 13-15 teens if they don't mind sitting on the floor. I require the teens to be mature 13 at minimum; some of the discussion is very frank.

We try to get through at least 2 sessions each meeting. It works best to simply watch the video all the way through, then to read the discussion questions, then to go back and watch the video again, stopping to take notes.

MF assumes the students have a lot of background information that they don't have, and I try to fill that in for them during discussion time. I'm a decade or so older than the moms of the students in my class and have memories, or parents who have memories, of the 30's, 40's 50's and 60's, and our students need that background information which is not given in the videos. I believe that the students NEED that information - otherwise they have no basis to understand what was going on. This series is NOT all-inclusive, and it's important to have a facilitator who can fill in the blanks.

That said, this series is a GREAT series to use to understand things like: Are executive orders really laws? Why or why not? What about the regulations made by government agencies like the FDA or the EPA? What if something is useful and a good idea but is not constitutional? How can we as citizens make our voices heard? Why should we? Do US citizens have any governmental obligations? How does the Constitution apply to the states, or does it?

I'd love to chat with you on the phone about it - I have more words than I can reasonably type! :lol:

Shelly L
07-29-2015, 11:54 AM
Watching this thread with interest! We were 'gifted' a workbook by a couple who attended the HSLDA National Convention last year. We are part of our state board and the couple brought back books for all of us! I love hearing how you did this, Robin! I'm hoping I can get my husband to possibly lead a group, though it may need to be me during the daytime. I'm guessing the book I have is the first edition (since I assume they were free to the people who attended the conference). Are you happy with that edition, Robin?

Leslie Nelsen
07-31-2015, 12:09 AM
Robin - Thank you! I would love to talk more. Maybe after Aug 8th? :D That the WEDDING date of my oldest and things are aswirl here! :D


Robin in Colorado
07-31-2015, 01:11 PM
I do have the first edition, and it's a video series. At that time the workbook and teacher guides were pdfs that were downloadable. However, I think it would be worth it to get the new edition and to have each student get one of the new student workbooks. I like the edition I have but would like to see what updates have been made.

In our classes, we do get into some details in our discussions - it's so important for the students to know how we got here. What happened in the 40's that lead to this behavior in the 50's which lead to this attitude in the 60's which lead to.... Then we have to take it back to the Word and the church. "So, this was going on in the 40's. What does God's Word say about that? Was the church living according to the Word or to the world during that time? If we as the church had been living according to the Word, how would that have influenced this aspect of culture?"

And we have to remember that the Constitution is a stand-alone document. It speaks for itself, and has no religious bias. It's human nature to want everything to go our way. But something is Constitutional and does not necessarily support the Christian worldview. That's challenging to us. There is one instance where the Supreme Court made a religious freedom ruling that was clearly unconstitutional and yet favored the conservative Christian worldview. That's not OK and we should not support that.

Finally, I always remind my students that since they are no longer ignorant, they are obligated to act on their knowledge. Their time to change the world is NOW, not after college or after they're married or after they're retired but NOW.