Homeschool Court Review

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

Mock trials, debate, and court activities are popular extracurricular for both public and homeschool students. If you've been wanting to get your children involved in some of them, but don't know where to start, the Homeschool Court offerings, including their Homeschool Court Student Worktext is a good place to start. See what we loved about this product and how it could work for your family in our review.

What is Homeschool Court? 

The publisher, a lawyer, offers a Biblically-based civics course that focuses on the activity of mock trial. The products are made to be used with grades 4-8, and also highschoolers seeking a way to learn about how our U.S. courts work and some of the concepts and skills experienced in our legal system today. The curriculum consists of student and teacher worktexts, and there are supplemental materials for the high school student or more advanced learner.

How does it work?

The downloadable materials are written to the person reading it, so the student would get instructions on how to work through a case, as well as explanations of the concepts behind a trial. They get vocab, summaries, essays, and questions to answer that help them get a thorough understanding of the workings of a trial, and each case is presented with lots of evidence, testimonies, and supporting documents so that participants can experience something much like a real trial.

Teachers are given just what they need to guide students through the activities, including how to find people to participate in your trials! I loved that it was set up for just a family, but could easily be created as a club activity to be used in a homeschool co-op or activity group. Even if you've never participated in a mock trial before, you'll be walked through the process of teaching the student and helping them have their very own real-life trial!

Which product is right for me?

The Homeschool Court online shop gives you a few options for learning and leading students. The student worktext is for one student and will be written on, but you can use it with any of the case summaries. You'll also want a teacher's worktext for leading your student and checking their progress. Then, pick a case summary; there are a few to choose from, including a dog bite claim and a case about prayer. For those who have successfully completed a case, consider getting the high school supplement, which covers additional material, including fraud and defamation, Biblical foundations, the process of voir dire, and more! 

How do I use Homeschool Court?

The materials are made so that you can easily use them with a large family or club and assign people to play the roles of those in the court case. You can also just use this as a workbook / classroom activity with one student. The learning is comprehensive and could easily take the place of a Civics, Public Speaking, ore Social Studies course. Your student could work through it as a relaxed pace in a semester, but it would also make a fun summer or holiday break activity.

We used this more as an independent study, with the kids reading their own worktext and doing the activities on their own. I was able to use the teacher text to direct them on what was expected and to check their work. It also brought up some interesting conversations about how our legal system works. 

Is it fair? Could it be better? This course is a nice way to get kids talking about what justice really means. 

Homeschool Court Review Summary

This is a Biblically-based approach to learning about the law and is suitable for Christian households and those who want to explore what it means to practice sound legal methods in the context of the Bible. It's a comprehensive course, covering legal jargon, procedure, how to read and think critically, as well as gives kids a way to practice speaking in front of others. The real beauty of this program is that it is so thorough, but that even those with only a single child can learn from it. Whether you do the full mock trial experience, or use it as a kitchen-table, self-directed unit, the detail of this course is something to really admire and equips parents to handle a pretty rigorous course with even no background in law or teaching. 

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