American Government / Civics and Economics

Sonlight 420 History / Bible Course
Age Range: 17-18 & above
Grade Range: 11-12
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Get complete lesson plans, schedule and teaching notes for two 18-week courses: American Government & Civics and Economics.


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Get complete lesson plans, schedule and teaching notes for two 18-week courses: American Government / Civics and Economics.

Overview of Government


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.

Find out more about the American Government/Civics course here.

Overview of Economics


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.


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.

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: $64.00
  • History 420 Student Guide
    Get the daily schedule and tools your student needs for History, Geography, and Bible for the entire year.
    Retail: $37.00
  • Sonlight's Economics Program Instructor's Guide
    Includes this exclusive Instructor's Guide complete with a schedule for the half year (18 weeks) Economics course.
    Retail: $39.00
  • 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
  • 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?
    Presented from the viewpoint of America's Founders, this book gives a clear, interesting explanation of political labels -- what they mean, associated economic policies, the plans promoters have for your...
    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. Learn more about the three branches of U.S. government, the role political parties play in democracy, the various roles of the president and more.
    Retail: $22.99
  • 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: $60.00
  • Black Like Me
    A white man darkens his skin to experience the black man's world in 1959.
    Retail: $9.99
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Take up to one year to use your curriculum. If you don’t love it, return it! Complete details here.

Have a Question?

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Available 7am-5pm MT Mon-Fri.