Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Homeschool Court (A REVIEW)

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


I didn't realize how excited my kids would be about learning about the court system, laws, and having a mock trial until we started using Homeschool Court curriculum. It just never even crossed my mind to teach it! But, when this review came up and we started it my 4th grader was so excited that he wanted to build a podium and dress up. He was ready to go to court! And, he most definitely thought he should be the judge.

Homeschool Court
But, before he could be the judge for anything there's a lot of lessons to get through with a lot of information about how a courtroom works first. We received digital files of all the materials we would need to work through this course. Here's a list of what we received:

There are also high school supplements, but we did not receive that for this review as I used it with my 2 younger children who are 4th and 7th grade. I love that this curriculum spans such a wide age range of kids! It's perfect for homeschool families to teach as a group or individually.

My printed copy of the Teacher Manual. It's a 165-page document, so I printed out portions at a time.

The Teacher Manual has loads of information to help the teacher lead a class through this course. In the beginning, there is information on how to set everything up and prep work that needs to be done before class starts. It is also laid out exactly how the course will go. I kind of felt underqualified about how to teach any of this material because I just don't know very much specifics myself, but this walks the teacher through step-by-step. There are so many useful tips too. By the time I was through all of the beginning reading and notes to the teacher I felt much more confident that I could actually teach about our court systems and have a mock trial be successful. The teacher manual also contains the Student work-text, so I know exactly what the kids are seeing in their books as we go through the lessons (see example below).

The gray highlighted text is what is included in the student text. The unhighlighted text is what I'm supposed to use for talking points or general information. It all flows really well.

The Student Worktext contains all the reading and worksheets the students will need to follow along in a lesson. It can be read individually by a student or read as a group. We chose to read as a group and that worked just fine! The kids could follow along when it wasn't their turn to read. I ended up doing a lot of the reading because there is a lot to read, and so much important information and so many things to talk about that I didn't want them to miss anything.

My printed copy of the Student Worktext. This one is a bit shorter at 108 pages.

What other materials are needed with this curriculum? In the teacher's manual, there is a list of supplies and resources needed for each chapter, and not every chapter needs something, so the list is very minimal. For example, chapter 1 needs a whiteboard or paper, a printout, and an optional Judge Judy DVD (for a high school supplement activity). I was able to obtain all the things we needed easily, and even though we aren't doing the high school portion I located a Judge Judy DVD from my local library anyway because I thought it would be good for us to watch and see a courtroom in action.

"No Vehicles in the Park" printout needed for chapter 1 discussion.

How did we use this? We did this as a group reading through the chapters together, having discussions, and doing activities as they were presented. We have not made it to a mock trial yet, but there are little cases presented throughout the chapters that are up for discussion. I was surprised to find out how logically my boys thought about some things. In chapter 1 we discussed what they knew about the law and court and judges. I wrote their answers down on the whiteboard. It was interesting to see what they thought about it all, and how much of their knowledge comes from TV shows and movies. Basically they think judges all have funny hair and are old and boring. That made me laugh, but I am excited to help them see that this is not the case as we move through this course.

What my kids know about law, judges, and courts.

At the end of the course (the last 2 chapters), it is time to prepare and complete a mock trial. The kids choose their roles (or they are given) and have to prepare for those roles by reading and learning the case summaries. The courtroom needs to be prepared. It can be a real one if available, or a living room that is transformed into one with chairs and tables. The kids are encouraged to dress professionally with the boys wearing a white shirt and tie, girls in a dress skirt or suit if available. The judge can even wear a graduation gown if available (we have one already for when we get to our mock trial). It is encouraged to make the mock trial and courtroom as realistic as possible to help the kids really get into their roles. The mock trial will be a fun culmination to this course, and I look forward to seeing all the kids have learned.

What a great curriculum this is, and I would highly recommend this to any family who wants to teach their children about law and the court system. If you'd like to see what others have to say about this, click on the banner below:

Homeschool Court Reviews

1 comment:

  1. I love that your 4th grade son wanted to build a podium and dress up, go to court and be the judge right away! He sounds like such a joy to teach!

    Thank you for your very thorough review. It was so encouraging to read all about your experience and I felt like I was right there in your house with you. As a veteran homeschooler, oh how I miss those days full of wonderful discussions!


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