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Teaching Home E-Mail Newsletter #67
Inspiration, and Encouragement
February 21, 2004 /
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
Table of Contents
You Can Use Today
When Your Child
Is Doing a Long or Hard Chore or Assignment
For Your Child's
Birthday or Special Day
States Government, Part 2
We are a Republic,
not a Democracy / The Constitution
The Three Branches
of Government / How the Checks and Balances Work
of Government Powers / How a Bill Becomes a Law
of Freedom / Our Christian Heritage
Moment with My Egg Roll, Please"
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In this issue we continue our 4-part series
We trust that your whole family will enjoy studying this subject and
understand our government's unique workings and heritage.
We would like to hear from you!
Can you share a note of encouragement, teaching
tip, or family
photo and brief story with the 20,000 other home-school families
around the world that read this newsletter.
"Let us not lose heart in doing good,
for in due time we will reap if we do not
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
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Tips You Can Use Today
When Your Child Is Doing
a Long or Hard Chore or Assignment:
* Start it with him.
* Give him encouragement (hug, snack, help) or course correction
* Have him let you know when he is done so that you can view the
job and praise him for it.
For Your Child's Birthday or
* Serve him breakfast in bed, while you sit and visit with him
or talk over your plans for the day.
* Look through his baby book together, adding notes as you go
and talking about how much you looked forward to his birth,
enjoyed seeing him grow up, and love him now.
Daily To-Do Lists
* Transfer items from your master to-do list to your daily to-do
* Arrange tasks by categories such as errands, chores, and calls.
* Estimate the time necessary for each task and then double that
time or add extra time to allow for the unexpected.
* Prioritize by importance from 1 to 10.
* Do not allow emergencies or interruptions to preempt items on
your list unless they are more important than your current
(Hint: Your husband and children's needs come first.)
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Government: A 4-Part Series
Part 1. Introduction
(Issue #66 -- Last Issue)
Government: What and How To Teach
The Biblical Basis of Human Government
Forms of Government
Part 2. United States
Government (Issue #67 -- This Issue)
Part 3. Our Responsibilities
in Government (Issue #68)
Part 4. An Election-Year
Unit Study (Issue #69)
This series is intended to introduce the basics
of government and
provide a general outline for your studies. Children of all ages
participate at their own levels.
The Government of the United States of America
We are a Republic, not a Democracy
Excerpted from an online article by David Barton
We have grown accustomed to hearing that we
are a democracy;
such was never the intent. The form of government entrusted to us
by our Founders was a republic, not a democracy. Our Founders had
an opportunity to establish a democracy in America and chose not
to. In fact, the Founders made clear that we were not, and were
never to become, a democracy.
John Quincy Adams said, "The experience of
all former ages
has shown that of all human governments, democracy is the most
unstable, fluctuating, and short-lived."
A pure democracy operates by direct majority
vote of the
people. When an issue is to be decided, the entire population
votes on it; the majority wins and rules.
A republic differs in that the general population
representatives who then pass laws to govern the nation.
A democracy is the rule by majority feeling;
a republic is
rule by law.
If the source of law for a democracy is the
of the people, then what is the source of law for the American
According to Founder Noah Webster: "Our citizens
early understand that the genuine source of correct republican
principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the
Read the entire article at:
The Constitution of the United States is the
our American Government. As the supreme law of the land, no law
may be passed that contradicts its principles and no person or
government is exempt from following it.
The Constitution set up three separate branches
government to achieve what is called a balance of power to
prevent the abuse of power.
Read the Constitution at:
Beauty and the Pig:
New from Doorposts!
Bible study methods
Expanded studies teach how to:
* Use a concordance
* Do a word study
* Conduct a topical study
* Use marginal study notes
* Perform a character study
* Study a verse, passage, or entire chapter or book of the Bible
Also suggests 29 more related studies to practice these methods.
The Three Branches of Government:
Separation of Powers
1. Legislative Branch: The Congress
The primary duty of the legislative branch
is to make laws.
They can also impose taxes, appropriate money, and approve
treaties and appointments.
The legislative branch is made up of the two
Congress -- the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Senate is composed of 100 senators, two from each state.
This gives each state equal representation, no matter what its
size or population.
The House of Representatives is made up of
representatives. Each state is allotted a number of
representatives based on its population as determined by the
federal census. This gives representation of individual citizens.
2. Executive Branch: The
The President is elected by an electoral college
combines representation of the states and individual citizens.
(We will explain this more in the upcoming issue containing an
election-year unit study.)
The President approves or vetoes laws passed
legislative branch and implements them, commands the armed
forces, negotiates treaties, sets foreign policies, and provides
leadership for internal affairs.
Assisting the President are the Vice President,
assistants, administrative agencies, and members of the cabinet.
The cabinet is made up of the heads of the
departments of the government, who were appointed by the
President and confirmed by the Senate. The cabinet gives
advice to the President about important matters.
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General (Justice Department)
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Homeland Security (newest department)
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
3. Judicial Branch:
Supreme Court and Other Federal Courts
The judicial branch oversees the federal court
which includes the Supreme Court, 11 Circuit Courts of Appeals,
90 District Courts, and several special courts.
The duties of this branch are to interpret
the laws passed
by the legislature and approved by the President and to try cases
involving federal laws.
The Supreme Court is the head of the judicial
a criminal court, the Supreme Court rules on whether something
is constitutional or unconstitutional -- whether or not it is
permitted under the Constitution.
On the Supreme Court there are nine justices
eight associate justices and one chief justice. The judges are
nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. They have
no term limits; they serve until they either retire or die. The
Supreme Court is the highest court in the land to which an appeal
can be made. Its decisions are final, and no other court can
overrule those decisions. Decisions of the Supreme Court set
precedents in interpreting the law.
Many believe that this branch is out of balance.
Dr. James Dobson, Founder and Chairman of
Focus on the
Family, says, "For more than 40 years now, judges have been
distorting our nation's founding documents . . . . It's high time
we raised our voices in protest of these reprehensible attempts
to deny us our liberties." Read more at:
How the Checks and Balances Work
The three branches of government are designed
to keep each
other in check. This is how it works:
1. Between the Executive
and Legislative Branches
* Congress creates agencies and programs,
funds, may override a presidential
veto, and may remove
the President through impeachment.
* The Senate approves treaties and Presidential
* The President may veto legislation, call
sessions, recommend legislation,
and appeal directly to the
people who elect the legislators.
2. Between the Judicial
and Executive Branches
* Judges, appointed for life, are free from
* Courts may declare executive actions to
* The President appoints federal judges.
3. Between the Legislative
and Judicial Branches
* Congress creates lower courts, may remove
* The Senate approves appointment of judges.
* Courts may declare acts of Congress to be
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Distribution of Government Powers
The following outline of the distribution
of powers between
federal and state governments can alert one to whether or not
a government has a right in a certain area.
(Powers Delegated by the States)
* Regulate interstate and foreign commerce
* Make citizenship laws
* Coin money
* Set weights and measures
* Run the postal system
* Regulate copyrights and patents
* Establish lower courts
* Declare war
* Establish and support armed forces
Both Federal and State
(Powers Held by Both, Concurrently)
* Collect taxes
* Borrow money
* Set criminal laws
* Charter banks
* Take property for public purposes (eminent domain)
(Powers Reserved by the States)
* Regulate voting laws and procedures
* Make marriage and divorce laws
* Make corporation laws
* Make traffic laws
* Regulate intrastate commerce
* Grant extradition requests
How a Bill Becomes a Law
This is how a bill becomes a law in our federal
(Most state legislatures are modeled after our national
Although it must be introduced by a senator
(representative), the bill may be written by anyone. Lobbyists
for different interest groups often submit input at this stage.
Most bills can be introduced in either house
although money bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
Read by title, numbered, registered, and printed.
4. Assigned to a Committee
Each house has several standing committees,
which review and
refine all the bills of that house.
5. Discussed in a Public Hearing
The committee usually refers the bill to a
which may hold a public hearing on the bill.
6. Acted upon by the Committee
The committee can kill the bill (prevent
it from being
presented and voted upon), amend it, draft a new version of the
bill, or approve the original bill as it was written.
7. Reported to the Whole House
The committee reports the bill to the whole
house (Senate or
House of Representatives), and the bill is listed on its calendar.
8. Acted upon by the Entire House
After debate, the house may either kill the
bill, amend it,
or pass it as written.
9. Acted upon by the Opposite House
If one house passes a bill, then that bill
is sent to the
other house for consideration. In the opposite house, the bill
must again pass through steps four through eight.
10. Examined by a Conference Committee
If a bill passes both houses but in different
conference committee, composed of members of each house, may
be called to work out a compromise. A compromise bill is then
reported to each house for approval.
11. Delivered to the President
Within ten days after receiving a bill, the
either sign it or veto it. If he does neither, and Congress
remains in session, the bill automatically becomes law. If he
ignores the bill and Congress adjourns before the ten-day
period expires, the bill is dead; this is the "pocket veto."
The President's veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote
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Our Heritage of Freedom
The structure of the United States government
is the result
of sacrifices and contributions of varied persons and cultures
throughout history. For example, our Bill of Rights was the
outcome of a progressive world-wide sense of the rights of
Here are some of the contributions that are
blocks with which the great edifice of liberty has been erected
throughout the ages.
* The Jews had a complete and detailed system of law and justice
based on the Law of Moses given by God.
* The Greeks contributed important ideas about order and justice.
* The Romans furnished parts of our concepts of duty, authority,
and rule by law.
* The Bible is referred to by our founding fathers as "the great
political textbook" giving us our ideas of morality, justice,
spiritual liberty, and the sanctity of law.
The Magna Carta
This agreement between the king and his subjects
by King John of England in 1215 at Runnymede. It ensured:
* That the king could not levy taxes without the consent of a
council of nobles (which would later become Parliament).
* That all freemen had the right to a jury trial by their peers.
* That people had the right to own property which the King could
not seize without payment.
These three freedoms are very similar to Amendments
and VI of our Constitution.
During the Reformation, many events took place
dramatically affected the progress of liberty and, later, the form
of American government:
* Wycliffe's translation of the Bible into English and
insistence that the common people had the right to read it
enabled people to rise out of the darkness of spiritual ignorance
and religious and civil tyranny.
* Martin Luther's 95 Theses and subsequent events impacted
the nature of civil and religious freedom including a return to the
truths of Scripture, the overthrowing of tyrannical empires, and
the value and responsibility of the individual.
* Gutenberg's invention of the printing press enabled individuals
to have the Bible and other literature in their own language at a
price affordable for the common man. This helped break the
chains of darkness and illiteracy.
Although it would be centuries before this
belief would be
given full flower, there came to be a growing realization that
men ought to be able to worship God according to their own
* The Edict of Nantes granted the French Protestant Huguenots
religious liberty in 1598. Although not fully enforced, it paved
the way for our First Amendment.
Condensed from an article by Rea Berg in the
Our Christian Heritage
Many Americans do not realize the extent
influence on our nation's founding, especially since it has been
"written out" of public education textbooks. Others either deny
our Christian foundations or seek to remove their memory or our
connection to them.
However, this nation has a rich Christian
Christian home-school families should be especially diligent to
thoroughly acquaint their children with it.
We have probably heard the accusation that
the Founders of
our country were deists. David Barton, head of WallBuilders, an
organization dedicated to the restoration of America's moral and
religious foundation, observes:
"In many dictionaries, the terms 'deist,' 'agnostic,'
'atheist' appear as synonyms. None of the notable Founders fit
this description as their own writings show."
Read the testimonies of Thomas Paine, Benjamin
George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and
James Madison online at:
Wall Builders. Online articles and excellent resources.
Christian History Textbooks
A Beka Book. http://www.abeka.org/th
Much of the information in this issue was gained from
Government and Economics in Christian Perspective,
recommended textbook published by A Beka Books.
Bob Jones University Press. http://www.bjup.com
Christian Liberty Press. http://www.christianlibertypress.com
Digital Learning Network. http://www.dlnvcr.com
Christian Heritage Week. Promoting our nation's Christian foundation
and many links to other sites. http://www.achw.org
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"A Moment with My Egg Roll, Please"
by Cindy Morrow, Georgia
It had not been a great week with the girls.
of being chronically behind, not doing any one thing well; not
being the the kind of Mom I want to be; and my house . . . sigh,
then being frustrated at myself for letting the temporal things
Temporal or not, I had to make a quick run
Warehouse. A strategic "get A, B, and C, then leave" trip.
I had my youngest, then 10, and her cousin
Delivering orders like a drill sergeant, I said, "Stay right by
me. And don't ask, 'Can we . . . can we . . .?' We're doing
quick, run-in-and-out trip."
So I'm clicking along and, sure enough, they
get snagged at
a vendor: sample egg rolls. The vendor is required to get
parental permission, so she looks to me and lifts her eyebrows in
I slow down, trying not to be rude. I really
time for this, I think. But I say, "Sure, they may."
but my body language is clear, I'm not stopping long.
The vendor, an older woman in her 50's, asks
"School's out already?"
"No ma'am, we're home schooled."
Vendor stops. Looks at me. Really
looks before she says,
"Thank you. Thank you for doing that. I'm grateful for
Thank you? In twenty years of
parenting and home schooling
I've had people say all manner of things to me about home
schooling, but never "thank you."
I hope I was finished shopping, because I
went straight to
the cashier. It took that long to compose myself; but I did
the egg rolls.
My family looks at me strangely when we have
stir fry and
I'm having a moment with my egg roll before I eat it, but I can't
get over it: she said "Thank you."
God Loves You.
Because we were separated from God by sin,
Jesus Christ died
in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ
as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
"For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
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