Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Homeschool Court (A Homeschool Crew Review)

 Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew  


For many students, the court system of our government can be very intimidating.  Images of judges in black robes and lawyers yelling either at each other or at the witness on the stand flood our television stations.  While this makes for good television drama, it doesn't really allow students to see how the system actually works.  For the last few weeks, the kids have been learning how the judicial branch of our government works using the Homeschool Court Student Worktext from Homeschool Court.  


We were given the digital download version of the curriculum.  This included 8 different files for the course.  The 165 page Teacher's Manual and the 108 page Student Worktext comprise the main portion of the course.  Then students are given the option of one of three different mock trials to prepare for. A Student Case Summary and Teacher's Case Summary are given for each of these three trials. (I will discuss these in a few moments).

The Teacher's Manual and the Student workbook cover the actual textwork for the course. The text includes 9 chapters, with the first 7 each focusing on a different aspect of the Judicial system.

Chapter 1: The Basics
Chapter 2: A Biblical View of the Law
Chapter 3: Who's Who in the Court System?
Chapter 4: Our Judicial System
Chapter 5: Types of Cases
Chapter 6: Steps in a Trial of an Appellate Case
Chapter 7: Persuasive Arguments

The final two chapters focuses on preparing for the mock trials and also contains a grading rubrics as well as a certificate of completion. 

This curriculum is designed for grade 4-8 and can be used with high school students using the optional High School Supplemental material. When used with the supplemental material, high school students can earn 1/2 course credit (with 60 hours of study). 

Depending on the age and learning level of your student, there are two suggested formats for Homeschool Court (although the curriculum can be easily adapted to fit any classroom situation).  Option 1 suggests 9-11 weekly sessions which allow for 1 week for each chapter of the workbook, followed by 1-3 weeks dedicated to research and prep for one of the mock trial session.  For younger students or those who need more time,  Option 2 suggests 17-19 weeks to complete the course, with 2 weeks dedicated to each of the 7 chapters, followed by the 1-3 weeks for prepping for the mock trial.

We took a slower approach to using this material so that Garrett could keep up and also because we are currently in an extremely stressful season with packing and moving. We found option 2 to be an easy fit into our current schedule, allowing for several shorter lessons per chapter rather than trying to fit the entire chapter into our week.   This means we have not yet gotten to the mock trial portion of the course, but instead have focused on the understanding of the material being presented. 

Example of text material in the Student Workbook

The material has been very informative, interesting, and written in a style that is easy to understand - I do believe the kids have been learning alot from the material.  I also really liked the Christian view of this curriculum, such as how many of the laws that we have today are based upon the laws given to us by God to Moses in the Ten Commandments, which bought the Bible into thought for the kids.  We have also been enjoying the "Dig Deeper" questions at the end of each chapter, and while at the time we are not writing papers because we're in moving mode, we have been using them as discussion questions. 


Dig Deeper Discussion Questions


 Another thing I really liked is that the student text and activities are also included in the Teachers Guide, so that I didn't have to have copies of both to refer to what the kids were seeing in their packet.  This made it super easy to cover the chapter together.  If Ashleigh was asking about Question #5 on a particular page, I had it in front of me and could easily read the question and help her understand what was being asked without her having to bring her worksheet to me.  The student workbook text is shaded in grey in the teachers manual, making it simple to see what the kids were seeing.


Teacher's Guide showing an Activity from the Student Workbook

The only slight hickup we had was that one of the hyperlinked resources that we were asked to download for Chapter 1 didn't work at the time we were on chapter 1.  This wasn't actually a problem with the curriculum but instead was a problem on the website (which was the Court for the State of Washington). I've noticed that since then, the link was fixed, so this shouldn't be an issue for others. 

While we have not gotten to the Mock Trials yet, I have looked them over ahead of time.  We were given three different trials that the kids will be able to choose from when they get to that portion of the course:  Dog Bite at the Dog Show,  Forging Mama's Signature, and School Prayer (Forging Mama's Signature is a case involving a contested will).  Each of these mock trials has both a student case summary as well as a Teacher's guide.   These case guides include all the evidence that the students will need in order to help prepare for a mock trail, including witness statements, medical records, penal codes that would be used in the case, ect. The students would then use this information to prepare their case to the jury (the instructor).  


Case Summary for the Mock Trial "Dog Bite at the Dog Show"

I have a feeling this is something we are going to revisit, most liking upon purchasing the High School supplement later down the road.  I think this is a great resource for helping students understand how the judicial system works. 

#hsreviews #homeschool, #homeschooling, #homeschoolcourt, #homeschoolmocktrial, #homeschoolcurriculum, #christianmocktrial

For more information, be sure to visit the Homeschool Court website.  You can also find them on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HomeschoolCourt
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HomeschoolCourt
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homeschoolcourt/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HomeschoolCourtDBurton/_created/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjXgvZzIUtMU4nZe-jFeisw

Be sure to click the banner below to see how other members of the Crew used Homeschool Court with their families.  

Homeschool Court Reviews



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Wordless Wednesday


 Crazy to have all the photographs and hangings off the wall and boxes piling up in the hallway..  Today I'll be boxing up the schoolbooks that I plan to bring in the car with me since I don't know how long it will take to get moved into our house and then get our household goods..

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wordless Wednesday


Poor Kenny.. He can't understand why he can't jump on and sit on my lap when I'm sitting at on a kitchen stool.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wordless Wednesday

I cannot even begin to describe the anxiety and stress these last few weeks have been for me and I know that leading up to next month, it will only get worse.. But at least one thing is off the stress making list.  


This is a huge relief as it means that we can leave here, drive there and go straight to our new home, pick up the key and not worry about temporary housing or hotels.  It means that I can pack a few pots and pans, some paper plates, a few sleeping bags and other necessities and we can sleep in our own home until the movers make it and the unpacking process begins!!!

And a nice person from the new base was even nice enough to drive past the house to get us a picture so we could actually see the exterior and front yard.. Already loving the trees in the front!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Death Valley National Park


I had a few things on my California bucket list when we first moved here.. The first was to see the Great Sequoia Redwood trees.  CHECK    Second was to visit Yosemite.  CHECK   Third was to visit the beach and swim in the Pacific.  CHECK  Next was visit Joshua Tree National Park.  We checked that one off right before it was sadly burned during the wildfires last year..   Not a bad start, right?

When we found out we got orders out of here, there were three things left on my list that hadn't been accomplished yet.  Hike to the Hollywood sign... Walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.. and visit Death Valley National Park.   Two of these, I could leave California and would be okay without seeing.  However, being the National Park junkie that I am, I was NOT leaving this state without getting to Death Valley.  This weekend, I checked that one off my bucket list. 

 We were only able to spend 1 day in the park, getting there early and staying until night fall.. But it was amazing..  Luckily not too hot - the temp when we were at the basin was 86 degrees.

Our first stop was a place known as Star Wars Canyon (I believe a scene from Star Wars was filmed there and that's why it's nicknamed that).. It's actually called Rainbow Canyon.  During the week, military aircraft from our base as well as a few of the other nearby bases fly thru the canyon, but we didn't get to see any while we were there.

After leaving Star Wars Canyon, we headed into the main part of the park.  Next stop was the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. One the way there, we saw a few wild burros, so of course we had to stop and take some photos (we were a good distance away).


I don't know what it is with my kids, but if there's a sand dune, they are going to roll down them. LOL  I would say I expect them to grow out of it one day, but their dad is the same way - who do you think they learned it from lol

This is also where we decided to have a picnic lunch. LOL   I had made Naan bread the night before, along with some chicken breasts and so we made chicken wraps with some trail mix and fruit for a quick pick me up.

Next stop, We headed to Furnace Creek.   This was really neat.  It's a little creek running thru the desert. My understanding is after the lake dried up and death valley became a desert, all that remained was this creek that flows thru this area.  The water has a very high saline content.  The main draw here is that there are these fish that live in the creek, called Death Valley Pup fish who were trapped when the lake dried up and have evolved to live in the high saline environment.   So of course, we had to walk out on the wooden boardwalk to see them.

After spending some time checking out the fish and enjoying the views, we made our way to Badwater Basin. This is an endorheic basin that is the lowest point in the Continental United States - the highest point in the US, Mount Whitney is only 85 miles away.

The basin is a huge salt flat that you can walk on.  In some portions of it, there were areas dug out so that people could see that directly underneath the salt flat was water and mud below the surface.  

We didn't dig ourselves (there's actually a sign that says not to dig but it seems people do it anyway) but we did walk on the salt flats.  It was a really weird experience because even under your feet, it felt hard but soft at the same time - it reminded me of Talc in a way.  Of course, everyone had to touch it (and a few members of the family even tasted it - they are crazy).

You don't really think about the fact that you are below sea level until you're walking back and you just happen to notice the sign way up on the rocks in front of you indicating where sea level is.  From far below, the sign looks so tiny, as you can see in the picture below ( the sign is the small white rectangle in the rocks).  I wonder how many people miss seeing this sign but we definitely noticed it and were amazed just how far down we actually were.

Our final stop for the day was Artist's Point. This area really allows you to see the different striation of the rocks and was super pretty.  This led to a great discussion about different minerals and metals found in rocks, such as copper and iron, and what might lead to the different colors we could see.  It also helps you to realize the vastness of the rocks when you see the people who look like ants crawling on them.

With the sun starting to sink below the horizon, it was time for us to make our way home. But not without an amazing sunset to see us off.  I wish we had more time to explore and I hope to one day go back and spend more time to see things such as the Natural Bridge, the Golden Canyon and The Devil's Golfcourse.. But I'll at least be happy to stay we went at least once and saw some pretty amazing things in the time we had. 



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