Posts Tagged ‘history’

The Bill of Rights

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

bill-of-rights

Today we will be dramatizing the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution. These are our cherished freedoms as human beings, so they are quite important. The Notgrass Company has sponsored the furtherance of these fun and exciting blog posts, since we are basing our study completely on their Exploring Government book, which has made our learning of high school government a pleasure!

Without further ado, we present to you our next installment in our government series, to familiarize you with the Bill of Rights. Feel free to perform these skits in your own homeschool co-ops and/or schools.

The Bill of Rights Dramatized

Amendment I:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(One person is praying, one is speaking, and one is reading comics. After a bit, they gather together.)

Amendment II:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

(One person bares his arm literally; another is holding a gun.)

Amendment III:

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

(A soldier walks into a woman’s house. She points at him to get out, and he leaves.)

Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

(One person holds lots of stuff. A police officer tries to take her stuff; another officer pulls him away and reprimands him.)

trial-by-jury

Amendment V:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

(A trial scene where the jury gives an “indictment” to the judge. Defendant puts on a military hat and jury takes “indictment” away. One person sits in a chair across from a judge. Judge convicts the person, then someone else holds up “x2” crossed out.)

Amendment VI:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

(A trial scene rushes together quickly: the prosecution brings out witnesses, then the defense also brings out witnesses.)

Amendment VII:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

(A trial scene with the jury bouncing around to draw attention to the fact that it’s there.)

twenty-dollars

Amendment VIII:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

(Lots of money is shown, then a “cruel and unusual punishment” is inflicted in the form of tickling someone with a feather.)

Amendment IX:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

(One person acts really important; another person is drooping because he doesn’t feel important. Someone reprimands the important person for looking down on other people.)

Amendment X:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

(Three people wear labels “Government,” State,” and “People.” One person gives “Rights” to the Government, then stops and gives it to “People.”)

I hope you enjoyed our re-enactment of the Bill of Rights. Stay tuned for the next episode: Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

How the Judicial System Works

Monday, May 1st, 2017

how-the-judicial-system-works

The Notgrass Company has decided to expand this government series by sponsoring these blog posts! You guys, as homeschoolers, you have to teach government to your high schoolers anyway, and the Exploring Government book is clear in its explanations, full of modern color pictures, and interesting in its examples (as you’ll see in the mafia counterfeiting illustration below). It makes the study of government actually enjoyable. It’s perfect for Christian homeschoolers. Go buy it already!

In the unit on “The Judiciary,” this Notgrass government book gave a fun example of a fictional counterfeiting ring that sounded like a mafia sting. I had one of my sons modify this story for the next video in our series. We even changed the names to remain incognito, to protect the identities of the original fictional characters. So now, ladies and gentlemen, we present “How the Judicial System Works.”

How the Judicial System Works (dramatization)

A Chicago gangster is counterfeiting money in his basement. Two federal agents break into his house and tell him he in under arrest. They tell him he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can and would be used against him, that he has the right to have an attorney present at any interrogation. If he can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided for him.

The gangster (we will call him Bob McBob) is taken to the county jail, then to a federal magistrate two days later, along with his gang’s leader (Fred Fredrickson), who was also arrested. They both plead not guilty to the charge of counterfeiting.

sting-operation

The magistrate set the bond the men had to pay in order to be released from jail until the trial. This money is a promise that they would not run away before the trial. If they did, the state could take their assets. The magistrate set the bond at $500,000 each, which they couldn’t possibly pay. So they had to stay in jail until the trial.

The prosecutor offered McBob a plea bargain. If he would plead guilty, the government would ask for a lesser sentence in exchange for his testimony against Fredrickson.

The federal district judge held pre-trial hearings where he heard defense motions regarding the trial. The defense attorneys asked for a change of venue for the trial to try and get an impartial jury. They also questioned the specificity of the search warrants and asked that the evidence the agents gathered be suppressed.

arresting-counterfeiter

But the judge refused all of these and set a date for the trial.

Before the trial the two sides exchanged witness lists, the prosecuting attorney gathered evidence, and McBob’s defense attorney met with him and discussed the plea bargain. McBob ended up agreeing to the plea bargain.

When the time came, McBob and Fredrickson appeared before the federal district court on charges of counterfeiting. The judge heard the opening statements and the prosecuting attorney called in witnesses. After hearing the witnesses’ and McBob’s testimonies, the jury pronounced them both guilty. The judge sentenced McBob to four years and Fredrickson to ten years in prison.

I hope you enjoyed our re-enactment of “How the Judicial System Works.” Stay tuned for the next episode: The Bill of Rights!

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Types of Government

Monday, March 27th, 2017

types-of-government

Today we are going to learn about the types of government. We are starting a new video series on high school government, using Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass. I was looking for a government program to teach my homeschooled high school kids, since it’s a mandatory class for graduation. I saw this Christian government textbook when I was at a conference in Ohio last year. It had colorful pictures and understandable text, similar to Apologia high school textbooks that are written in a more conversational style than the usual boring, hard-to-read, and impossible to understand textbooks on these subjects.

After watching the fun videos my kids perform for this course, you will laugh when you find out I was dreading to teach government. That’s why I was thrilled when I saw this book, held it in my hands, and read some of it. I also got to meet the author of the book and his wife. While we were in a keynote session, he reached over and held his wife’s hand during the prayer, which I thought was sweet. When he won a door prize, he danced a jig, which I found entertaining. You can see the love of Christ shining out of their faces.

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Now onto the first video of the series…

Types of Government Video Demonstration

The first form of government is a dictatorship, where one person rules and has absolute authority. The North Korean government is an example of a dictatorship. In the video, you will see someone dressed as a dictator, forcing people to labor because they have no choice about it.

Next we have an oligarchy, where a small group of people hold sovereignty. The former Soviet Union had an oligarchy. Here we had several people in gray wigs, governing over the people by sitting in a meeting, conversing together.

Next is a monarchy, where a king or queen, who holds the throne by hereditary rights, rules. There are two kinds of monarchies: absolute and constitutional. Absolute monarchies are similar to dictatorships, but the leader is royalty. Constitutional monarchies have monarchs, but they are under the law. There are very few absolute monarchies now, but throughout history, this has been the most prevalent government type.

For the absolute monarchy, we had the queen of hearts give a signal, “Off with his head!” For the constitutional monarchy, we had the “law” appear above the queen’s head. We thought it was appropriate to dress up as the Alice in Wonderland deck of cards, to add whimsy to the video. (The cards were left over from a year where our whole family dressed up as a deck of cards for Harvest Festival.)

monarchy-type-of-government

The next and most common form of government is a republic. This also has two kinds, presidential and parliamentary. Presidential republics have the people vote directly or indirectly for a president who is not part of the elected national assembly. Parliamentary republics, on the other hand, have the chief executive be part of the national assembly. When one party wins a majority of seats, their leader becomes prime minister, or chief executive.

When we acted this out, we had a mob of people crowding around Abraham Lincoln to make him president by direct vote by giving him the sunglasses. Oh, yes, in case you didn’t notice in this entire video, the people in power are wearing the sunglasses.

For the parliamentary government, you have a vote in parliament, and the group with the most votes chooses a person to be prime minister, and that person (of course) gets the sunglasses.

Lastly, we have a true democracy, where all the people gather together to make, remove, and amend laws. No modern country is truly democratic, mostly just republic. All the people put on sunglasses.

We also added anarchy, which is no government at all. You will have to watch the video to find out what happens when you have anarchy.

types-of-governance

I hope you liked our first video in the Exploring Government series. Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we dramatize how a bill becomes a law!

Huge List of Hands-on Activities for High School

Monday, March 6th, 2017

hands-on-activities-for-high-school

It’s harder to find hands-on activities for high school than for elementary, but just because you are homeschooling teens doesn’t mean that your day has to be boring and tedious. Everyone learns better by doing–this is true for practical skills like driving and cooking, but also for academic knowledge like science and history. Take a look at our enormous list of fun hands-on activities for high school!

Hands-on High School Science Activities

hands-on-high-school-science

High school sciences naturally lend themselves to hands-on activities because of the lab work required. But as you can see in the following list, you can also have fun with food, field trips, LEGOs, and even comedy to bring your science to life!

Biology

Chemistry

Human Anatomy

Hands-on High School History Activities

hands-on-high-school-history

Each of these activities are applicable to high school ancient history, even though we did many of them before the kids were teens. You would just expect more detail on each of the projects, and maybe a demonstration of the projects in front of a group of peers studying the same time period:

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Middle Ages & Renaissance

Civil War

Modern History

Hands-on High School Geography Activities

hands-on-high-school-geography

Hands-on High School Math Activities

Hands-on Activities for High School Art

hands-on-high-school-art

My high school students did a wonderful job with each of these famous artists, to learn their basic techniques and enjoy the works of the great artists:

I hope you enjoyed this huge list of hands-on activities for high school! Come back to this page often, as I will be adding more posts, including some new high school government posts with video demonstrations!

 hands-on-homeschool-ideas

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