Virtual Republic is the online, free component of The Idea of America History and current events curriculum. It can be used on its own or combined with The Idea of America. This is the kind of history curriculum that makes me giddy. It starts with a real-world issue, looks at the history and the current policy and ends with students deciding on what they think should happen. There are no right or wrong answers here. No bubbles to fill in. This requires study, thought and reason. Policy solutions are meant to be discussed and defended among classmates, so this might be better done in a co-op (or online discussion group, anyone?). Then, and this is the real gravy here, they actually encourage students to take action on what they believe is the right course. There’s a whole section on helping young people find ways to get involved. I also really like that they don’t tiptoe around the sticky issues. Affirmative action, the Arab Spring, voting rights for felons, 1st amendment rights vs. bullying and hate speech: there are no easy answers here. The entire curriculum is written for high school students. The Virtual Republic is free. The Idea of America is not.