“The constitution—it’s only keepers, the people”. So said George Washington and how true it is! How can we “keep” the Constitution, that sacred document that preserves our liberty, if we don’t know it? How can this “marked generation” that we are raising up defend it if they don’t understand it and have its words and meanings implanted deeply in their hearts?
As part of our homeschool, I like to teach my children about the principles of freedom. There are many good resources available to use to do this (see below), but the important thing is that we do it. Even an eight year old can learn the key point of each of the Bill of Rights and recite the Preamble to the Constitution. Knowing our rights is vital!
One good approach when studying the Bill of Rights, is to learn the amendments one by one, giving stories and case studies for the children to judge. For example, when studying the 2nd amendment (the right to bear arms), tell a story to your children to discuss:
A group of neighbors had a meeting in Mr. Brown’s house to discuss accidental shootings. It seemed that the hunting season always resulted in somebody mistakenly shooting their own foot while hiking, or even worse, accidentally shooting their own brother or father. Even with safety classes being taught in the community, it seemed every year there was another awful accident. Mr. Brown and his neighbors have come up with an idea to prevent another tragedy. They have decided that they will try to pass a law to ban private possession of weapons.
- Do you think Mr. Brown and his neighbors idea is in keeping with the principles of the Constitution?
- What if they personally decided to put their weapons all in a safe spot under lock? Would that be constitutional?
- Do you have an idea of how to solve their problem that uses Constitutional principles?
Children can understand the basic tenants of our Constitution and become accustomed to judging whether the laws that are being enacted are constitutional. This is a critical skill for those who will preserve our freedom!
Here’s my favorite resources for teaching my children:
I like to start young and teach my children to sing the songs of America with Wee Sing America. Three and four-year-olds even love to sing a long to these. We sing one of these songs right after the pledge of allegiance in our homeschool each day.
Another excellent resource for teaching young ones is I Love America. I love this fun introduction to American History for young ones. It takes so little preparation on my part and the kids thoroughly enjoy the lessons, such as Columbus and the Discovery of America, Why I Like Being an American, Washington and Valley Forge, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Pocahontas, etc., complete with illustrated stories, art activities, songs, poems, and more. We especially enjoyed learning the Preamble to the Constitution in sign language. There is also a coloring page for each of the 50 states that teaches the state’s bird, flower, tree, chief product, and other information. 300 pages, spiral bound, for ages 4 to 10 years. Comes with 2 CDs: Activity and Music. Activity CD has games, activities, and sheet music of songs which are on the Music CD.
The next thing I introduce my children to is Take Your Hat Off When the Flag Goes By. What an easy way to learn about the Constitution! Includes original catchy songs such as Take Your Hat Off, I Love America, In 1776, Here in America, Checks and Balances, Three Branches of the Government, George Washington, and more. CD comes with large, paperback, full-color 9 x 11 inch picture book complete with all the lyrics to the songs. The book has a quiz section in the back to see how much you really learned. You’ll be surprised how much information sticks when you learn it to music.
The Bill of Rights in Minutes is one of my favorite resources for teaching these important rights! The picture clue charts helped us learn and remember the key points of the Bill of Rights easily—and it is fun! For example, the 9th Amendment (i.e. the people retain their rights not enumerated in the Constitution) is illustrated by a scrolled Constitution which resembles a number 9, along with a colonist holding tight to the letter “R” (his rights). Clever and fun, you’ll have the Bill of Rights down cold! Includes charts of the written amendments, illustrated memory charts, notes and teaching aids. Highly recommended!
Love these picture books that matter! The Kids’ Translations Collection: American Founding Documents are picture books that explain important founding documents.Are unalienable rights from outer space? How long is four score and seven years? When a flag is spangled is that good or bad? These wonderful books make important historical documents meaningful. Each book translates the work of a primary source into a language kids (and myself) can understand— in easier language, what it means, and the background story with lots of photo illustrations and interesting facts. The “Why Do I Care?” section condenses all the important points of the document into good reasons that we have it! Also includes a timeline, vocabulary words, a glossary, related internet sites, other children’s books on the topic, and more. 32 pages, paperback. Vital information for young and old! Books include: Gettysburg Address, Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The Star-Spangled Banner, and the Pledge of Allegiance.
More excellent resources:
A wonderful, faith-building overview of America’s history. Read it aloud to your children. Inspiring
Learn to think, to analyze what is happening today in light of what the Founding Fathers would think.
Learn it, know it, enjoy its provisions for freedom, defend it!
Principles of freedom propelled our world forward 5,000 years! Everyone enjoys the benefits of freedom.
Let freedom ring!
May I recommend: