Monday, March 29

Exploring Pre-Law with Homeschool Court {Review}

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. 

Now that we've reached high school, career exploration is an ongoing extracurricular at our house.  One of our sons has been curious about studying government and law, so when we had the opportunity to check out this Homeschool Court curriculum, we jumped at it!

We used the Homeschool Court Student Worktext in conjunction with the Teacher Manual and High School Supplement to round out six weeks of elective study.  (The supplement comes with both student and teacher components.)  During that time, we held a mock trial for the Case Summary: Forging Mama's Signature....and it was a lot of fun!

The Materials

  • Student Worktext
    • This is the meat of the program -- the textbook.  It includes nine modules, covering everything from who's who in the legal system to putting your knowledge to use in a mock trial.  Module topics include:
      • Legal vocabulary and key players in the judicial system
      • Biblical history of law, and how the 10 commandments relate to law today
      • How the judicial system works, plus types of cases and courts
      • Persuasive argument and debate
  • Teacher Manual
    • This has everything that the student text has (it's marked in grey, so you know which parts the student can see), but also has directions and extra material for the teacher.  These can be read aloud to students, or used by the teacher to facilitate discussion.
  • High School Supplement
    • The high school supplement includes digging deeper opportunities for enrichment, such as research, reading, writing, and real-world applications.  For one of these, we looked at recent Supreme Court nominees, recent cases, and then discussed how they have played out in real life and affected the future of our nation.
  • Case Summaries
    • Three case summaries are included with the program.  We did one about a contested will, but there are also ones about a dog bite and school prayer.  I would recommend letting your students decide which appeals to them most, and having that be the once you tackle first.  If you are at home, parents may have to wear multiple hats for the mock trial.  For a co-op, there are more than enough opportunities for everyone to participate!

Our Experience

In the past, our children have used logic and deduction classes, where one of the topics covered is fallacies.  This program gave them the opportunity to revisit that knowledge and extend it into a real-world scenario.

As a parent, I was pretty happy to see that there were several vignettes to illustrate the concepts covered, and they were age-appropriate and appealing for my high schoolers.  The program also included actual audio segments (links to them) from real Supreme Court arguments -- ones that are current and relevant today!  Additionally, there were many research projects for them to work on.  

The curriculum sparked some fantastic conversations in our family, and with my teens, that allowed me to learn more about their personalities and beliefs, how they view the world, and how they form their opinions.  As one of my sons put it, "From crime shows, I've learned that 90% of legal problems can be avoided by marrying the right person and only doing it once."  (I'm not sure about his statistics, but it sounds pretty good.)  Finally, just for fun, we watched My Cousin Vinny at the end of our first unit, and let the kids apply what they had learned from Homeschool Court to the movie.

When it came to the mock trial, we practiced striking jurors, and walked through the steps, various roles, and presenting evidence when making an argument.  If used in a co-op setting, there is an opportunity for peer feedback on performance, but we just did this aloud as we progressed.  Also if using in a co-op, there is a schedule for using the various components and the mock trial in a large group.

Overall, I'd have to say that we were very pleased with this curriculum.  It gave our children a chance to explore interests in a setting and manner they probably would not have otherwise had...and now one of them has a better of idea of whether to pursue law as a career!  (Spoiler alert -- Maybe, but not in a courtroom setting)

See what others are saying about Homeschool Court at the Homeschool Review Crew!

Homeschool CourtHomeschool Court Reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.