Anyone familiar with What Is/Are ... Government books?

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Anyone familiar with What Is/Are ... Government books?
Thu, 09-13-2012 - 7:54pm

I'm going through some stuff from Scholastic.  There is a Government Pack with 5 books which look like an introduction to how our government works.  They are written by Nancy Harris.  The target grades are 1-4.  DS is fascinated by this general topic as it is election year and a huge conversational piece in our household.  I wondered if anyone is familiar with this particular set or could recommend good basic literature about government or US History.  Amazon does not have any reviews, so I am a bit nervous.

There are 5 total books.  Here are the books on Amazon for visual reference:

What Are the Amendments?

What's the U.S. Constitution?

What's a President and Vice President?

What's the Bill of Rights?

What Are Elections?



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-05-2012
Thu, 12-27-2012 - 2:23pm

Not sure if it would help for these titles - but I always check Amazon to read reviews on whatever I want to buy.  Good luck!

Avatar for vegiemama
Community Leader
Registered: 01-06-2000

Thanks for coming back with a review.  Glad you're liking the set.

Homeschooling mom to DD15 & DS11

CL of Homeschooling, Signature Showcase, Ectopic Loss, and Fertility Charting

Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
My son really liked How the US Government Works by Syl Sobel. It's a great overview of the three branches of government. Every now and then we still reference it. I would say it is good introduction for ages 5-8.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
I cringe when driving by a school too...the kids say, "There's the prison!"...yikes...
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2007

Great Montessori Site!!! And I'm going to have to look at the other site at Christmas time.  I sure wish that they had had that stuff when I was a kid!

My children were in public school until #1 was in 5th grade, #2 3rd grade and I pulled #3 out after 7 months of an autism preschool.  I needed to watch my child suffer to get over the "Expert-itis" and to know that I could do it.  AND I'm a certified school teacher--yikes.  We're worse than anyone for expert-itis.  I was a teacher but NOT a special education teacher.  Oh and I needed a friend kicking me in the backside and telling me I could do it.  Oh well. . . The two olders have never missed school.  #3 always wants to know what grade he is in for some reason.  My 4th, never in ps, doesn't occur to him.  We live right by a ps and so I always cringe when we drive by during recess but they never say anything other than the two older ones have thanked me for homeschooling them.    So there is hope!! 

I saw the state cards--those were nice.  I see what you mean.

Well, I have to fold some laundry so I better get to it--it's almost midnight :smileyhappy:






iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2007

Ooooooh I'm stealing your bean idea.  And if you have a great Montessori site AND you know how to attach links, I would love that.  I'm making things for my 3yo off of one site and grandma is helping me make some supplies.

My daughter did a lapbook on our state(Iowa) and my son did one on the Mississippi River which we live next to.  I didn't cover state history too much probably because I've lived so many places that I don't have roots and it didn't occur to me.  Now, she works at a historical house and if she works with one lady, then she gets quizzed saying something like, "Didn't your mother teach you?"  Oy. 

Risk is my son's favorite game.  I haven't played it yet.  He plays with any kid he can get here.  I stink at games and so maybe he's figured that out :smileyhappy: 

  And if anything I've learned in this homeschool journey is that I can't make my kids learn anything.  They learn what they have a desire for and need.  Sounds like your kiddo is interested so fertile learning ground--woohoo.  I opened up our history book for the first time today since June and was disheartened at the lack of retaining but as we got to talking, it was still there.  I just mainly read good books for history.  And we notebook science and history.   I do a lot of lapbook inserts into notebooks, though.  Just depends on the best method for the moment.  Lapbooking is great for units and small studies.  Notebooking for longer terms.  And I combine them, too.  


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2007

I LOVE lapbooking.  Now, for my kids, depends on who you ask :smileyhappy:  But when they do a lapbook then later when they go to write essays then you can just explain that each booklet represents a paragraph in their essay.  It's a great way to learn orgainizing your ideas.  And my kids love to look through their old lapbooks that they made.  I've never seen kids excited about going through completed workbooks. . .  hmmm. . . .

I'm not even sure if my 15 and 16 year old know all of their states. . . another hmm. . .  I KNOW they don't know their capitols.  Only the ones we go to.  Simply Charlotte Mason has a great method of teaching states.   Give the child an empty outline map.  Then you have them fill in as many states as they know.  When they are done, they get out an atlas and check their work and then add in two new states.  The next day you give them another blank map and see if they can add in the two new states, too.  Etc.  until they know them.  I started this but then didn't complete it.  We do a lot of puzzles of maps, though, and play with our globe a lot and look everything up on a globe.  That counts, right? 


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2007

Okay, you got links on your post.  Why won't it let me?  Arrghhh. . . . . I'm not a techie obviously.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-05-2007
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 10:28am

I'm sorry but I'm not familiar with those titles.  I do recommend Cathy Duffy's site for reviews, though.

We are also studying government this year due to the election.  My daughter is 16, though.  But here are some of the ideas.  She is writing a 5 question survey and we are going to the republican office and the democratic office.  We live in a smaller town and those are our only choices here.  She will research some of the other parties.  She is not allowed to tell them what her "Bent" is.  She has to ask the same five questions.  We are going to attend a Tea Party meeting, a city council meeting and a county board of director's meeting.  We don't follow stuff on tv because we don't have tv but she will follow articles in the paper.  Man is their a lot of bashing going on which I thought was a modern day thing but when we visited Lincoln's Museum,  he and his wife endured a LOT, too.

The night of the election, she will color in her own United States Map in red and blue as results come in.  I would highly suggest doing a lapbook and just using what your library has.   Homeschool Share has free lapbooks and they come along with book suggestions.  Not sure if they allow links anymore here.  Nope.  I couldn't get the link in but here it is in a way it will allow(I think):


If that doesn't work just go to homeschoolshare and look for free lapbooks and then you can search your topic there.  Feel free to just use the ideas and make your own booklets.  My daughter never made a cut and paste lapbook but my two younger boys I use templates for since they would be traumatized by the procedure and never learn anything.  There is a section if you search on this site with just templates and you decorate them yourselves.  I like those. 

Also check any of the election lapbooks in there if only for the book suggestions.  I have gotten ideas there and found some fun books.

Hope that helps,