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Planning Tip – Study American Government Next Year

April 13, 2012

Next year would be a SUPER fun time to study American Government!  Why, because of the election!

You can use our 4 year election cycle to your advantage, by teaching American Government during these big election years.

Colleges like to see American Government on the high school transcripts.  Usually a half-credit semester class, an Honors or AP class might take a whole year.  Often during senior year, students will have a 1/2 credit class on American Government in the fall, and a 1/2 credit class on Economics in the spring. But as homeschoolers, we can choose the BEST time for these classes, rather than just teach it during senior year out of habit.

“Hands-on” American Government

During an election year, it’s even easier to find hands-on fun for your studies.  Instead of using a book, you can search for experiences that will teach your homeschoolers concepts in Civics and American Government.

YMCA Youth and Government and TeenPact are similar programs.  TeenPact is from a Christian perspective.  These groups have teens “take over the state capitol” to learn how government operates.  The kids become senators, legislators, governor, and lobbyist.  They act those roles as they propose and pass bills.  Both of my kids really enjoyed the experience.

Teens might enjoy being a Page at the State Capitol.  During an election year, there are many opportunities to work for an election campaign.  You can also watch debates, using note-taking skills, and discuss values as you review your notes.

So here is my simple suggestion.  Consider studying American Government with your high school student next year.  It will make more sense in the context of an election year.

When it makes more sense, kids have more fun, and will retain more information.  That’s success!

Homeschooling is NOT the same as doing schoolwork at home.  There is LOTS of freedom!  My Gold Care Club will give you all the help you need to succeed!


  1. Nicole @ Journey to Excellence says:

    “Relevant subjects” is my favorite way to teach. During my son’s 8th grade year, I planned his four years of high school history/social studies and DEFINITELY planned this next year (his sophomore year) to include a semester Current Events study and a semester American Government study. I am very excited for him to dig into the election process!!

    April 13th, 2012 at 6:25 am

  2. Peter Wielhouwer says:

    I agree! As college professor and home schooling father, I have taught four American Government courses this year to college and home school high school students, and the presidential election is a great opportunity for doing it!

    April 13th, 2012 at 10:00 am

  3. RebeccaC says:

    Very good suggestion! Living out of the country, I had forgotten about the coming election…well, not “forgotten”, but most definitely not in the foreground of my thought processes! Next year I’ll have a senior, two juniors, and two freshmen. Sounds like a great year to do Am. Gov.! Hmmm…I might make the senior teach the class so that I can work on other stuff. It’s a thought! ;^)

    April 15th, 2012 at 6:54 pm

  4. Donna says:

    Lee, I have often wondered why I usually see government class listed in the senior year. I know as homeschoolers we have the freedom to change that, but have hesitated about starting this subject with my son who will be a freshman this upcoming year. Any thoughts as to why a lot of people seem to wait until senior year for this subject. Eons ago (when I was in high school) that was always the plan for public school anyway.

    May 3rd, 2012 at 3:01 pm

  5. Lee says:

    Dear Donna,

    I think it helps to have an understanding of World History – much of our government is derived from the ancient Greeks and Roman societies.
    I think it helps to have an understanding of US History – knowing why we formed a country helps us understand why our government is formed this way.
    Economics and Government are usually both a 1/2 credit class, often put into the same year.
    Economics is often taught as a senior, when 18 year olds do their income tax for the first time.
    Government is often taught as a senior, when 18 year olds vote for the first time.

    These are all interesting reasons for waiting until later before doing Government, but there is the one big thing to weigh against all those reasons! It’s the whole “Strike while the iron is hot” concept. Things make more sense when you see it in action.


    May 3rd, 2012 at 4:33 pm

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