The Story of the Constitution is a fairly unique United States government text. It tells the story (in a surprisingly engaging way) of the origins, purpose, and nature of our nation's most important document. This isn't a full government text—it focuses exclusively on those aspects of the U.S. government defined and affected by the Constitution. The cLP text The Land of Fair Play is a companion U.S. government text that fills in many gaps.
This is an eighth grade text. You could use it for older students, though we would suggest not for younger ones. The book is sparsely illustrated with black and white drawings. Fifteen chapters discuss the conditions that led to the fight for American independence, the drafting of the Constitution, and the ratification process. Each article is covered in detail, as are the Bill of Rights and early Constitutional amendments. Kids get an intimate sense of the value, complexity and novelty of the government our Founding Fathers set up.
The text is fairly readable, though there is a lot of it and sometimes it seems dry and stilted. Besides Sol Bloom and Lars Johnson's text, students end up reading the entire Constitution, which can even be a chore for adults. At the end of each chapter there are several review exercises which basically amount to quizzes—there is matching, true/false, and essay questions.
Supplementary materials include a test packet and a teacher's manual. There is also a CD-ROM available from Alpha Omega. The teacher's manual includes answers to all tests and in-text questions. It also includes a semester schedule and supplemental quizzes to help students study for tests and which can be administered orally.
This is one of the most focused texts concerning the U.S. Constitution we carry. It is best used in conjunction with The Land of Fair Play, though getting through both in one year may be tricky. You will certainly want to supplement your child's U.S. government instruction that is broader in scope, either simultaneously or at a later date. If you do study The Land of Fair Play we suggest you do so after The Story of the Constitution, not before. You may also want to supplement with a good economics text (we recommend Economics in One Lesson).