Teaching Government to Teens: Resources and Review of Notgrass Exploring Government

In this post I will be reviewing the Notgrass Exploring Government curriculum, and sharing how it has changed my view of American Government and Politics. I’m also linking up some {mostly free} resources for teaching Government and Civics to your teen.
Teaching Government to Teens: Resources and Review of Notgrass Exploring Government

Exploring Government Review

This year, we are using Notgrass Exploring Government for my 8th grader. We really wanted to study government this year since it is an election year. When I began trying to decide what to use for a civics/government course, I actually first ordered Notgrass Uncle Sam and You since she is still in middle school.After some thought and discussion we decided to go for the one that she could use for high school credit. I am teaching this class as part of an online co-op, and she is taking the same class from another teacher in the co-op.


990985: Exploring Government, 2016 Updated Edition--Curriculum Kit

Buy at  / Buy at Amazon


How we use the Curriculum

During the week before the online class, she reads the chapters and completes the quizzes. Then at class, we discuss topics relating to the chapter, play games and discuss the election. Because we are not using this course as part of her English credit, she will only complete 4 projects throughout the semester, one for each part.

What I think about the Curriculum

Just a note: The Notgrass Company did not ask me to do this review. These thoughts are totally my own, and I have not been paid for this review, nor did I receive any products in return for my review. I just wanted to share my thoughts on the curriculum as we are going through it. The links listed above are affiliate links. While I truly appreciate it if you use these links, you truly don’t have to, and I won’t be mad at you if you buy it somewhere else. 🙂

We have been using the curriculum now for about 5 weeks, and I am really enjoying it. I have found that the best way to learn is by teaching, and that has been proven true with this curriculum. I have learned things that I didn’t know before, even though I think I’m a pretty well-informed citizen.


The chapters are well-organized and establish that God is the basis and creator of Government from the beginning. The second section uses the American Constitution as a basis for explaining how American Government works. Chapters are short and understandable, while being thorough and engaging. Beezus has told me that she will be sorry when the class is over, she loves it so much. I have really enjoyed watching her engage in this election even though she isn’t old enough to vote. She has watched all of the debates and can converse intelligently about the issues facing the nation this year.

Governmental History

There is quite a bit of history weaved into the chapters as the author recounts what has worked and what has been a disaster in American Government. He includes lots of interesting facts about the Founding Fathers and their beliefs, as well as other significant events in history. He also includes some history of other nations as he explains the different types of government, including Rome, Greece, and England.

The Bottom Line

This curriculum would be a full government program without any extras, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming at all. Ray Notgrass has done an excellent job of weaving God’s truth into each chapter, and I have enjoyed reading it. I highly recommend this curriculum to anyone who wants their teen to understand God’s role in American government.

God Has a Plan for America

When I was a teen, I was very interested in politics and government. I remember listening intently to the debates the year Ross Perot made his debut. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to vote, and I was excited to do my part as a citizen to make America great.

Then I actually started voting. And quickly became disillusioned by the things that were (and are) happening in America. I began to feel like there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about the way my country was heading. One little vote doesn’t do much to stem the tide of liberalism and (dare I say it?) greed in America. I didn’t feel like there was much I could do to make America great.

Not only that, as I have watched judges legislate from the bench, and laws instated that I never would have believed, I began to feel a sense of overwhelming grief and fear for my country. What will happen to us when the Liberal agenda has its way? Where will Christians be when it is illegal to believe and worship as we see fit? 

God is in Control

I still have doubts sometimes, and I have tears rolling down my face as I write these words. But as I have read through and taught this curriculum, I have realized something. The Founding Fathers have felt exactly the same way as I do. They worried that if a certain candidate was elected, the country could face disaster. The election of 1800 was a hotly debated election and Thomas Jefferson became president because the Representatives in Congress felt like he was the lesser of two evils.

As I read through the history of America’s government and founding Fathers, I have realized that God has it all in His control. He’s the one calling the shots. Not Hillary. Or Trump. Not the Republicans and Democrats. It’s not even up to me. I have a teeny tiny little vote. It doesn’t really amount to much in the mountain of votes, but God has everything in His hands. As he has from the beginning of this wonderful nation. And that’s all that matters.


Teaching Government to Teens: Resources and Review of Notgrass Exploring Government

Resources for Teaching Government

Over the next few weeks I will be posting the resources I find while teaching this class. These are resources that you can use to expand your study of government with your teen or to help your younger students understand government as you are working through the textbook with your teen. While I didn’t list the exact chapters from the Notgrass book, the subjects are in roughly the same order and it should make it easy to find resources to go with the chapters. You can find an actual listing of the chapters in this pdf from Notgrass. I will update this page as I post the resources for each subject.

Backgrounds to American Government

  • God as the Founder of Government
  • Types and History of Government
  • Building the American Government

The United States Constitution

  • Congressional Organization – Article I
  • How Laws are Made – Article I 
  • The Executive Branch – Article II
  • Modern Federal Government
  • The Judiciary – Article III
  • Other Articles and Amendments

State and Local Government

  • State Government
  • Local Government
  • Taxation

Issues in Government

  • International Relations
  • Contemporary Issues
  • Making America Better


  • John Notgrass

    October 15, 2016 at 10:49 am Reply

    Thank you for your review, Amy. And thank you for taking seriously your responsibility as a parent and as a citizen!

    • Amy Lanham

      October 15, 2016 at 11:58 am Reply

      Thank you for your wonderful curriculum. It has really ignited a love for our country in my daughter, and I truly appreciate that!

  • Susan Evans

    October 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm Reply

    We just ordered this curriculum, and I’m looking forward to teaching it. I saw the curriculum this past weekend at the 2:1 Conference, and I was impressed by the fact that the text wasn’t tedious. It was clear and well-written with lots of color pictures to bring to life the subject.

  • Amy Milcic

    October 15, 2016 at 8:52 pm Reply

    We also just ordered from Notgrass & I’m so excited!! Thanks so much for sharing:)

    • Amy Lanham

      October 16, 2016 at 11:00 am Reply

      I know you will love it!

  • Charlene Nograss

    October 19, 2016 at 8:25 am Reply

    It was so nice being with you at the 2.1 conference, Amy. I appreciate the encouraging review so much.

    • Amy Lanham

      October 19, 2016 at 10:55 pm Reply

      We appreciate a wonderful government curriculum! Thanks for providing it!

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