The FAQs below are for those who have questions about how issues of slavery and racism are handled in the course. The course is focused on the Constitution and how the United States Government functions. Thus, the questions below, while they are important, only apply to a very small portion of the course. The questions should not give a skewed view that this is a course focused on the history of slavery, black history, or on the history of racism.
FAQs, Helps, and Extras
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US Constitution and Government
- How many lessons are included and how long do they take to teach?
With 32 lessons, each intended to take approximately 45 minutes, this course is designed to be flexible. You can teach it to a large class of students or to only one child. You can teach one lesson a week for 32 weeks or twice a week for 16 weeks. If you need shorter class periods, each lesson can easily be split into two parts. This flexibility allows for the course to meet the needs of every family or class.
- What is the focus of the course?
The Good and the Beautiful US Constitution and Government course focuses on the establishment and development of the United States Government through the study of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and all 27 Amendments. The course also covers the lives of the Founding Fathers and Mothers and other key people that influenced the documents and bravely fought for equal rights. This course includes inspirational biographies, an exciting adventure story, informative lessons, fun and instructive hands-on activities, teacher-led discussions, beautiful mini books, and a complete reading of the founding documents, all in an easy-to-teach format. Students in Grades 4–8 will gain a deep understanding of the principles found in the US Constitution, including limited government, checks and balances, justice, liberty, equality, and the duty of every American to uphold the freedoms found within the Constitution.
- The course is designed for children in Grades 4–8, but can it be used by high school students?
Yes! If you use this course for high school students, we recommend adding more reading. Some suggestions include the following: one or two full biographies of the founders; some of the primary sources referenced, such as some of The Federalist Papers, Common Sense, and “Washington’s Farewell Address;” and Frederic Bastiat’s The Law. You could also consider having the students write one or two essays for the course. The ideas and discussions are fully applicable and appropriate for high school students.
- How are the Founding Fathers presented?
In this course you will learn about several of the Founding Fathers and Mothers of the United States along with other historical figures of different races. The Founding Fathers are not presented as infallible. We learn from the mistakes they made. However, the course also presents some of the positive character traits some of the Founders possessed and used to help establish the foundations of freedoms we enjoy today. We highlight the Christian faith of some of the key founders and inspiring stories that surround them. The course strives to instill feelings of gratitude for the sacrifices and efforts made by some of the key founders, while acknowledging that they and the documents they created were not perfect. In addition, the course teaches how some of the information published today on the Founding Fathers is incorrect or based on faulty assumptions that are not backed up by source documents. Those looking for a course that dwells more on the negative aspects of our nation’s founding instead of the positive will not find this course a match for them.
- Is the course faith-based?
Yes. We share source documents that we believe support the claim that God aided in the founding of America and show how prayer and faith played a role in the creation of the Constitution.
- What sources were used in the writing of this course?
The words of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as well as the Bill of Rights and the rest of the 27 Amendments are studied in their entirety and in-depth throughout the course. Children read the entire Constitution and other founding documents. Primary source documents including, but not limited to, writings, notes, letters, and speeches are used to teach about the historical context of the founding. There is also an extensive four-page bibliography at the end of the course book listing the secondary sources used.
- Does this course have a bias or push a political agenda?
We acknowledge that it is not possible to teach about the Constitution or history without having a bias. Because the course cannot be hundreds of thousands of pages to include all of history, simply what is included or not included automatically creates a bias. We carefully strive to teach the principles in the Constitution according to the original intent for which they were created and to be factual about how the Constitution works to run the government. We encourage students to seek for truth themselves. We have no political agenda in the course except for hoping to instill feelings of gratitude for 1) our country, 2) the way its founding documents laid an incredible foundation of freedom that we benefit from daily, and 3) the sacrifices and efforts made by some of the key founders while acknowledging that they and the documents they created were not perfect and that we can learn from those mistakes. We have no desire to push students toward any particular political party.
- Does this course acknowledge the history and impacts of black people, indigenous peoples, people of color, and women in the founding of the United States? Does the course discuss sensitive topics such as slavery and the rights of black people, indigenous peoples, and women?
The focus of this course is the Constitution and the founding of the United States Government. We discuss slavery as it directly and indirectly arises from these issues, including the Three-Fifths clause, otherwise known as the Three-Fifths Compromise; the ban on the importation of slaves; the Northwest Ordinance; Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence; the plight of enslaved and freed people through the advocacy of Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and others; the history of abolition; the Emancipation amendments; and the terrible, but real, issue of that some of the founders owned slaves. We note that indigenous peoples were not granted full citizenship until 1924 and were denied the right to vote in every state until 1962. We also discuss the struggles of the suffragettes in winning women the right to vote.
We do not shy away from discussing these important issues; however, we discuss them in the context of the Constitution itself. We believe that people of all ethnicities and races have contributed to the greatness of this country—a greatness that lies in our ability to recognize wrongs and to correct them. We are thankful for the freedoms the founders enshrined in the Constitution that allow us to freely yet constructively criticize wrongs and advocate for the correction of them. The United States of America is a beautiful and ongoing experiment in self-government.
- What does the course teach about the Founding Fathers and slavery?
The course uses primary source documents to teach that some Founding Fathers never had slaves and were always against slavery, some were raised thinking slavery was acceptable but later changed their minds and worked hard to try to abolish the evil practice, and other Founding Fathers supported the idea of slavery their entire lives. No group should be judged as a whole, including the Founding Fathers.
- Does the course normalize slavery?
No. The course teaches how, tragically, discrimination, proslavery sentiments, and other evils were prevalent during the period of the founding of our country. The course does not teach that slavery was acceptable just because it was commonplace or that we should excuse the act of participating in it because it was commonplace. Slavery has never been a normal or acceptable practice; it’s a horrific, evil practice. But it was prevalent in our history. It is inspiring to see how some of the Founding Fathers began to see and care about the atrocities of slavery and started fighting for its abolition. It’s disheartening to see that not enough Founding Fathers worked to abolish slavery at the time the Constitution was created.
- Does the course claim that the Founding Fathers who fought for the abolition of slavery were radical in their ideas?
The idea of having no slavery in our world is not a radical idea in and of itself—it is a correct and true ideal. However, abolishing slavery, was, tragically, a radical idea among much of the white population at the time the Constitution was created. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines radical as “advocating complete political or social change.” Slavery was so deeply rooted in much of America that the political and social change needed to abolish slavery was radical enough that it would take years of civil war and the dedication and sacrifice of many lives to make the abolition of slavery a reality.
- Does this course teach or support Critical Race Theory (CRT)?
No. It teaches the principles contained within the Constitution. The course teaches about the history of our founding documents, how our government is set up and works, and how many men and women fought to have all people benefit from the principles set forth in the Constitution.
Our course does not dive into current theories and ideas about racism today and how to combat them. However, as a company, we strongly encourage individuals and families to study and discuss the different approaches, theories, and ideas being promoted in our world today. We encourage you to use the lesson in the US Constitution and Government course that teaches about seeking reliable sources and understanding bias to help guide you in your study. Lastly, we encourage all people to remember that every single person is a beloved son or daughter of God and should be treated with respect. We always have and always will have differing political opinions and differing ideas on how to solve problems, but we can still have civil, kind, and respectful communications, all while being devoted and bold in our efforts to combat racism and false ideas.