For as long as we have been homeschooling, Ben has been wildly interested in American history, government, politics, and elections. He sat with me to watch the CPAC coverage recently, asking questions about each potential candidate the entire time. These kinds of questions always lead to great discussions about worldview and government and he eats it up. Ben says he wants to be a “historian” and major in history in college. So when the opportunity came along to broaden his horizons a little, we accepted.
FreedomProject Education (FPE) is an accredited classical academy with a philosophy firmly based on Judeo-Christian values, and is in active opposition to the Common Core. FPE offers a complete classical curriculum education to students from kindergarten to 12th grade, in a live, online, interactive classroom setting. In addition to the regular classes offered, FPE also offers on occasion, single “Family Classes.” For the past two months, Ben has participated in one such class, Mother Should I Trust the Government, based on the book of the same title, and taught by the book’s personable author, Dr. Jake Jacobs. I have also peered in to the class as well. The book, as well as access to the online class, were provided to us by FPE.
Every Monday night, this live class met from 7-9pm ET online in a webinar-style, interactive classroom through Adobe Connect. Using a Powerpoint presentation and a chat feature, families were engaged in conversation about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, our Founding Fathers, how the U. S. government was formed and its state today. We traveled a couple of times during the 8-week course, and could not always be present for the live class. Thankfully, it was recorded, so we could watch later. Each week, the download links were provided, along with the next week’s assignment. The recordings have been made available to us for the next two months.
Ben did not want to miss one class:
This is the best experience I have ever had with an online class. Dr. Jacobs talks to us like we know what we’re talking about and calls me by name. He cares about what I think and say, and he answers all of our questions so that we understand the book better.
The book, Mother Should I Trust the Government: The Making and Keeping of Our American Republic, was the only assignment for the course. There were no other readings, and no tests. The class was centered around discussing the book only. Students were assigned approximately one chapter per week to read before class. Ben took the book with him everywhere he went. You might even say he devoured it. I’m certain he has read it cover to cover at least three times in the past two months. He always wanted to make sure he was prepared for the classes he was able to attend live, so that he could intelligently participate in the discussion, and even for the recorded classes, so that he knew what was being discussed.
(Even if that meant reading in the car, driving to Florida, because he would be watching the next class in our hotel that night.)
There were a total of eight lectures in the series, and plenty of discussion each week. I don’t know how many times you’ve been able to attend a course (or even a book club) led by the author of the book, but I have not ever had that privilege. I believe that is what made this course so significant for Ben. He feels like he now knows the author of Mother Should I Trust the Government, and more importantly he knows and understands not only what the book is meant to convey , but also why Dr. Jacobs wrote it to begin with:
Unlike anarchists, America’s Founders realistically concluded that since men were not angels, government comprised of men must be: LIMITED, checked, balanced, separated; a federal republic and watched like a hawk forever.” – Jake Jacobs
He has heard the author speak from his own heart, and read it, too. Bonus.
It doesn’t take a rocket science to understand that our country is so far removed from the idea of “limited government” right now that it’s scary. Educating our children about how and why our government was formed and in what ways we have swayed from that ideology is the first step to firing them up for true change. It was easy for Ben to recognize this after sitting under Dr. Jacob’s tutelage for the past few weeks.
I believe this book and course are the heart of what FreedomProject Education wishes to convey to young people today. I don’t believe this will be our last class with them.
As I mentioned before, the “Family Classes” offered by FreedomProject Education are offered free of charge (with a $50 donation recommendation). This particular class is only offered once a year, but coming up next are How to Think: A Crash Course in Critical Thinking, beginning March 23, and Bible As Culture, beginning on March 24. Seating is limited, so if you are interested, don’t delay in getting your family registered. These classes are recommended for families with the minimum age of 13 due to subject matter and potential discussions.