American Government and Economics

History / Bible / Literature 400
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Age Range: 17-18 & above
Grade Range: 11-12
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Unearth the heritage and history of the U.S. government

  • Take a tour of American government, with an up-close look at the three branches with our high school history curriculum.
  • Consider modern-day economic theories and values in light of God's perspective on possessions with our homeschool bible curriculum.
  • Encounter the "great American novel," along with noteworthy short stories, plays, poems, biographies and more.
  • Discover practical ways to live out a faith that is relevant to and integrates with our government, culture and the world.
  • Purchase this package and you'll get free shipping (lower 48), a one-year guarantee and other perks.

100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE

Take up to one year to use your curriculum. If you don’t love it, return it! Complete details here.

Have a Question?

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Available 7am-5pm MT Mon-Fri.

1-800-903-1675

Unearth the heritage and history of the U.S. government

  • Take a tour of American government, with an up-close look at the three branches with our high school history curriculum.
  • Consider modern-day economic theories and values in light of God's perspective on possessions with our homeschool bible curriculum.
  • Encounter the "great American novel," along with noteworthy short stories, plays, poems, biographies and more.
  • Discover practical ways to live out a faith that is relevant to and integrates with our government, culture and the world.
  • Purchase this package and you'll get free shipping (lower 48), a one-year guarantee and other perks.

Overview of Government

One-Semester

Instructor's Guides

Government 420 is designed for your student's independent study. The Government and Bible Student Guide provides daily reading assignments, along with additional notes and questions to reinforce reading and aid understanding. Use your accompanying Parent Guide to follow along, monitor learning and discuss, as desired.

Government / Civics

Sonlight's 420 American Government course looks at how our government works and why it works as it does. The course starts with a brief study of the few biblical passages that deal with government (what, ideally, should the government do, and what should be our response to the government).

The primary text, Carson's Basic American Government, presents both the founding documents and a brief history of the United States Government. The history begins during the time of the Colonies, before they had combined into one. The Constitution transformed the 13 Colonies into one government, and students study the Constitution in depth, with all the various Articles and Amendments.

Besides the Constitution, students read some of the key documents and speeches; in an upper-level history course, it's good to read primary source documents.

After the Constitution, the course continues with a history of American Government as seen through the various administrations. For example, the Jeffersonians/Jacksonians dominated the early 1800s: How did they interpret the Constitution? And then, during and after the Civil War, Americans' understanding of the purpose of government shifted. How so? (If this sounds dry, it's only because you haven't yet read the text. History is interesting in the hands of a great storyteller – even a history of government.)

Besides Carson's text, this course includes six other books:

  • one that informs the reader of current politics in DC (lobbyists, bureaucracy, special-interest groups, and other things that come up on the news);
  • one that goes more in-depth on how Congress works in practice;
  • one that brilliantly summarizes the Supreme Court, especially the current court;
  • one that details how a president is elected (what makes Iowa important; if you don't understand it all, this is the book for you);
  • one about the ideology of political parties;
  • one that looks at one man's experiences of the racial divide in our country and why the Civil Rights movement was so necessary (still current and applicable, sadly).

Thus, two books cover the workings of government from before the States were united up until today's politicking in DC. One book each covers the three branches of government: legislative, judicial, and executive; one book helps with thinking about voting; and yet another highlights one of the main problems in our country, from before its inception up through the present day. Such a good balance!

My hope is that students come away with an understanding of the foundational documents, some sense of both the history and the present, the ability to read and make sense of the news, and the knowledge of whom (and how) to ask if you want to change something in Washington. When finished, your students will know about the House Ways and Means Committee, the reason most controversial Supreme Court rulings come in June, and the difference between caucuses and primaries.

In short, the news will make sense.

Overall, this course moves well from topic to topic, covering widely with a reasonable amount of depth. Very high-interest throughout. Also includes two books for Bible.

Civil Law of the Bible

Should religious truth influence civil government? The politically correct answer is no. The level 410 Bible and Theology program challenges that answer.

You and your students will interact with Scripture in an ambitious new way. Two thought-provoking books, God and Politics, asks you to question assumptions and serve as your guide to examine civil government through a Biblical lens; and Miracles, how we need to not only accept but rejoice in miracles as a testimony of God in his creation.

Overview of Economics

One-Semester

Instructor's Guide

As with its upper-level counterparts, students can readily and successfully study Economics on their own. Your Instructor's Guide (with two lesson plan options, general and AP* prep) provides daily assignments, helpful notes, thought-provoking questions and answers, too—all of which reinforce your student's reading and understanding.

Economics

Many states require Economics in order to graduate. Sonlight's course gives students a balanced, critical view of modern economics, from basic theory to politics and trade. It also seeks to look at God's perspective.

Central to this course is a quality online program from Thinkwell (good for one student for one year; additional subscriptions needed for each student).

Thinkwell co-founder Dan Heath writes:

I had an amazing microeconomics professor when I was a freshman in college. In the first minute of the first day of class, he asked a question: Why do you always see multiple gas stations clustered on the same street corner? It seems a bit crazy, when you think about it. Why would a gas station owner deliberately position himself next to the competition? An hour later, we knew the answer. More importantly, in the span of one class period, we had learned that economics is not about money. It's about a new way of thinking.

That class was full of ideas that stuck with me. They're etched into my memory – I can remember them clearly 15 years later. … And that amazing professor is the teacher of this course.

Thinkwell has 262 online video lectures, filled with animations, examples, and humor. Also concise, illustrated notes, a glossary, transcript of every video – even pertinent web links. Print as you need, or view it all online.

When students enter their answers to various exercises online, they get their grade automatically – complete with solutions, fully worked out and explained.

The Sonlight Instructor's Guide includes two complete lesson plans – one for general use, and one a more intensive track for students who wish to try for college credit.

Sonlight's Economics also includes relevant Bible passages each day, and questions for students to answer in the included journal.

Find out more about the course here.

Estimated daily time for American Government and Economics: Student: 1 hr.

Our high school courses are separated by subject to allow customers maximum flexibility. Feel free to buy either the History (i.e., Government and Economics) or the Literature, or both, or to mix-and-match with the History and Literature of other Sonlight courses.

Overview of the Literature

Instructor's Guides

Literature 430 takes learners on a yearlong adventure of independent study. The Literature and Language Arts Student Guide provides daily reading and writing assignments, along with additional notes and questions that reinforce and challenge your student. The accompanying Parent Guide keeps you in touch and on track, so you can come alongside at any point in your student's learning.

American Literature

Once children have achieved basic literacy, they can read for information. That is much of what we read each day: news reports, how-to books, cookbooks. I never go to my cookbook cupboard to figure out the deeper meaning life.

True literature, though, requires more effort, more thought. A novel has the basic, surface-level plot. But what is it saying beyond that?

Mortimer Adler wrote How to Read a Book to help readers read better — to read and understand more than the basic plot. It isn't a fun book to read, the way a fast-paced novel is, but it is informative, and possibly life-changing.

This book serves as the general framework for Sonlight's 430 American Literature course. Rather than choosing a book from each of the major periods ("Pre-Colonial," "Transcendentalism," etc.), and working in chronological order, instead, this course uses my favorite books by American authors and allows Adler's instruction to help read these outstanding works with more understanding and enjoyment.

So, for example, after the schedule assigns Adler's chapter on "How to Read History," the students get to enjoy two-time Pulitzer winner David McCullough's short profiles of fascinating historical characters. (They're incredible.)

After the schedule assigns "How to Read Practical Books," the students look at the classic guide on writing, The Elements of Style, beautifully co-written by E.B. White (author of Charlotte's Web).

After Adler offers suggestions about reading Tragedy, the students read one of the greatest plays of the 20th Century, Death of a Salesman (it won both a Tony and a Pulitzer the year it came out).

How to read autobiographies? Practice on Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery and the breathtaking missionary biography Evidence Not Seen.

How to read imaginative literature? Practice on Their Eyes Were Watching God, one of the most cheerful portrayals of happily married people in all of literature.

How to read short stories? Practice on five stunning shorts by Wendell Berry.

And, at the end of the year, after Adler talks about "How to Read Social Science," the students read Malcolm Gladwell's encouragement that, yes, success takes a lot of time … but if you love what you're doing, it's worth it. Go change the world!

As always, I seek to have a good mix of genres. One category is The Great American Novel, a book that accurately shows the culture of the United States at a specific time. Incredibly, this course has four: The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Separate Peace, and The Grapes of Wrath. These take place in, respectively, Colonial New England, the antebellum Midwest, an Eastern prep school, and the Great Depression South, moving to California. What a range of times and places!

This course has other genres, too: novels, detective stories, drama, lyric poems, short stories, history, tragedy, essays, science fiction, and autobiographies.

And I seek to balance the year as a whole, so that tragedies are balanced with more cheerful works; so that books that take a month to finish are followed by books that take a week or two; so that students read books by men and women, by more than white authors. This course is balanced in all those ways.

But mostly, I want your students to view each book as a delight and a gift, as I do.

Language Arts

For Language Arts, this course includes, as always, literary analysis. Also short daily writing assignments working through William Zinsser's On Writing Well.

Estimated daily time for American Literature: Student: 1 hr.

Prefer to build your own course of study?

Create a complete course of study by mixing and matching individual high school courses. Visit sonlight.com/high-school to get started.

Instructor's Guide
  • History 420 Parent Guide
    Get all the lesson plans and teaching helps you need to effectively teach History, Geography and Bible for the entire year.
    Retail: $61.99
  • History 420 Student Guide
    Get the daily schedule and tools your student needs for History, Geography, and Bible for the entire year.
    Retail: $34.99
  • Literature 430 Parent Guide
    Get all the lesson plans and teaching helps you need to effectively teach Literature and Language Arts for the entire year.
    Retail: $61.99
  • Literature 430 Student Guide
    Get the daily schedule and tools your student needs for Literature and Language Arts for the entire year.
    Retail: $34.99
  • Sonlight's Economics Program Instructor's Guide
    Demystify the world of Economics (macro and micro) far beyond any textbook.
    Retail: $37.99
Bible
  • God and Politics
    Was America ever a Christian nation, and should it be one? Which Old Testament laws apply to civil life today? To what extent should the state tolerate non-Christian views and practices in the name of...
    Retail: $22.99
  • Miracles
    In this groundbreaking work, Metaxas examines the compatibility between faith and science and provides well-documented anecdotal evidence of actual miracles.
    Retail: $18.00
History
  • The U.S. Supreme Court
    How do cases make their way to the Supreme Court? How do the justices come to their final decision? In this brief introductory text, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist explains how the Supreme Court...
    Retail: $11.95
  • Are You Liberal? Conservative? or Confused?
    Are You a Liberal? Conservative? or Confused? is part of the "Uncle Eric" series, where the author takes on the role of an economist writing a series of letters to his niece or nephew. Presented from...
    Retail: $12.95
  • Selecting a President
    Selecting a President is a nuts-and-bolts look at the presidential electoral system. From the primaries to conventions to the election and Inauguaration Day, come along on the fascinating journey that...
    Retail: $30.99
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to U.S. Government & Politics
    Our government works. This books tells you how. Step behind the curtain of bureaucracy and gain a true understanding of how the complex system functions. Learn more about the three branches of U.S. government,...
    Retail: $21.99
  • Congress for Dummies
    If you've ever wondered how (and why) they do what they do in Washington D.C., this fun, friendly book on Congress will shed some light. You'll learn who the players are and get an insider's view on the...
    Retail: $19.99
  • Basic American Government
    We looked at dozens of texts before settling with delight on this volume for our American government curriculum. It provides exactly the kind of basic outline we need for a high school civics class.
    Retail: $50.00
  • Black Like Me
    A white man darkens his skin to experience the black man's world in 1959.
    Retail: $9.99
Readers
  • Eternity in Their Hearts
    The year is 1795, and deep in the jungles of Burma hundreds of tribesmen rush out to a clearing to greet a white-skinned stranger. Could he be the one to bring the book their forefathers lost so many...
    Retail: $16.99
  • Up From Slavery
    Booker T. Washington was a devoutly Christian man who, as a former slave, treaded a dangerous middle ground in a time of racial backlash and disfranchisement.
    Retail: $12.00
  • A Separate Peace
    During World War II, two students at a New England boarding school experience the dark, tragic side of adolescence. Intense, mesmerizing, and compelling coming-of-age tale. Powerful.
    Retail: $17.00
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
    A powerful tale of one woman's life. Set in black communities in the Deep South in the early 1900s, and told with a stunning, deeply moving, almost poetic prose. Hurston breathes life into her characters...
    Retail: $17.99
  • Ender's Game
    The thrilling tale of Ender, a child genius in training to become Earth's top military commander. Aliens have already attacked twice. Now, Ender must complete his training and be ready to command against...
    Retail: $7.99
  • Outliers
    Continuing a quest to explain us to ourselves, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell turns his inquiring mind to outliers —those individuals whose achievements surpass that of the masses. What, if anything,...
    Retail: $18.99
  • Evidence Not Seen
    The true story of a young American missionary's courage and faith deep in the jungles of New Guinea during World War II, her imprisonment in a Japanese prison camp and miraculous survival.
    Retail: $16.99
  • Teaching a Stone to Talk
    Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Dillard explores the natural world and human meaning in this compilation of deceptively simple essays reminiscent of Emily Dickinson and Thoreau.
    Retail: $15.99
  • Death of a Salesman
    First performed onstage in 1949, author Arthur Miller's Pulitzer Prize winning drama continues to ask its audience some of life's most important questions, not the least of these, what is success? Through...
    Retail: $14.00
  • Fidelity
    Five stories set in the fictional town of Port William, Kentucky, reveal the author's deep love of and concern for nature and the land. Through his writings, we learn about the cyclic rhythms of the agrarian...
    Retail: $16.95
  • How to Read a Book
    Originally published in 1940, now completely revised and updated, How to Read a Book is "the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension." Learn how to achieve the various levels of reading...
    Retail: $19.99
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    "Notice. Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. -By...
    Retail: $26.95
  • Brave Companions
    In this masterful work of narrative history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author with a gift for storytelling opens a window to the world, past and present, with a series of profiles about exceptional men...
    Retail: $17.00
  • Elements of Style
    It's the "little book" that can have a BIG impact on your writing! The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is a classic manual that remains relevant today, it conveys the principles of English style...
    Retail: $14.99
  • Best Short Stories of O. Henry
    This collection offers for readers' delight the thirty-eight 0. Henry stories honored almost unanimously by anthologists and that represent, in variety and balance, the best work of America's favorite...
    Retail: $24.00
  • The Chosen
    In 1940s Brooklyn, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a secular Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and...
    Retail: $17.00
  • The Grapes of Wrath
    Nobel Prize winner "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck. "One of the greatest and most socially significant novels of the twentieth century."
    Retail: $18.00
  • Jacob Have I Loved
    Louise knows that she should be proud of her beautiful twin Caroline. But she is convinced that, ever since they were born, Caroline has done nothing but take from her: their parents' love, Louise's hopes...
    Retail: $8.99
  • My Antonia
    H.L. Mencken once wrote, "No romantic novel ever written in America, by man or woman, is one half so beautiful as My Antonia."
    Retail: $8.99
  • 100 Best-Loved Poems
    This book on poetry includes some of the best-loved English and American verse of all time -- Rudyard Kipling's "If," Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Village Blacksmith," John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian...
    Retail: $4.00
  • Our Town
    Pulitzer Prize. One of the most popular American dramas of all time, Our Town recalls three time periods in the life of residents of a small Connecticut town. It calls us to focus on the "little things"...
    Retail: $14.99
  • The Portable Poe
    Poe was perhaps the most melancholy and deeply brooding author in American history.
    Retail: $22.00
  • The Scarlet Letter
    A study of the tension between public and private morality, The Scarlet Letter carved new paths in American literary technique and substance.
    Retail: $8.00
  • On Writing Well
    On Writing Well by William Zinsser is the bible for anyone who wants to learn how to write and write well. Before you put pen to paper, pick up the classic guide to nonfiction writing. Learn the fundamental...
    Retail: $17.99
  • The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance
    Can Modern Economics be practical... even emotional? Yes!
    Retail: $27.95
  • Money, Possessions and Eternity
    A thorough study on what the Bible says about money
    Retail: $17.99
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Take up to one year to use your curriculum. If you don’t love it, return it! Complete details here.

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