Dennis Prager is best known as a nationally syndicated radio host and columnist, but he is also a Jew who teaches the Torah. His views are conservative and supportive of Judeo-Christian values. Prager is well-known for his intelligent conversations with some of the most knowledgeable people in the world on a wide range of topics. A comment Prager often makes on his radio show is that he is seeking clarity rather than agreement. Consequently, his discussions with guests often help his listeners understand the worldviews behind ideas and positions. Prager’s desire for clarity regarding the beliefs that underlie particular views or ideas carries over into Prager University.
Prager University offers almost 200 free five-minute, video “courses” on vitally important topics. Prager University does not offer degrees or course credits that transfer elsewhere. Although designed primarily for an adult audience, many of the courses would be great to use with teens. Courses can be accessed under the topics: economics, history, life studies, political science, religion/philosophy, foreign affairs, environmental science, and race relations.
Because liberal views tend to dominate both the media and academia, Prager created Prager University to present “alternative” views in the most concise and engaging way possible. To that end, he invited knowledgeable and articulate people, most of whom are very well known, to help create many of these courses. For example, George Gilder presents “Why Capitalism Works,” “Iran and the Bomb” is taught by Bret Stephens who is the foreign affairs columnist for the Wall Street Journal, “What is Social Justice” is presented by Jonah Goldberg of the American Enterprise Institute, and Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, teaches “God vs. Atheism: Which is More Rational?” Prager himself presents topics such as, “Are People Born Good?” and “Is Evil Rational?” As you can see, the topics themselves address vitally important questions.
Each video presentation distills the information into the most important points, presenting them with graphics and occasional illustrations. The videos move quickly, and the presentations are easy to understand. Videos each have a "Facts and Sources" button below them that will bring up a list of quotes from the video and a link to the source--a virtual bibliography.
For each course, there is an optional, five-question quiz. You can watch videos through the Prager University site as well as on YouTube, but quizzes are only available at Prager University. If you register (at no cost), Prager University will keep track of which videos you’ve watched as well as your scores. By signing up you also get weekly emails with links to new video courses as they become available.
Free, downloadable study guides are now available. These are just a few pages long and have prompts to help students take notes while they watch, questions to reflect on after they watch, and discussion questions to develop their thinking further. You will also find printable transcripts for the courses that might be very helpful for review or for a follow-up discussion.
These courses make excellent supplements for homeschooling teens to use for government, economics, history, and religion. For example, right now there are at least 40 courses that might be useful as significant components of an economic course. For instance, “The Promise of Free Enterprise” by Arthur Brooks explains what our Founding Fathers meant by the “pursuit of happiness” and how true happiness comes from personal achievements. A Free Enterprise economic system generally provides more opportunities for personal achievement in the economic and business realm than do other systems. Closely tied to this course is “Why Capitalism Works” by George Gilder. Gilder explains how profit-making businesses survive best as they serve the needs and desires of their customers. A business’s pursuit of self-serving goals generally reduces profitability. “Lower Taxes, Higher Revenue” helps budding economists understand the Laffer Curve. Titles of some of the other economics videos are "Capitalism vs. Socialism," "Can the Government Run the Economy?", "Is America's Tax System Fair?", and "Who Does a $15 Minimum Wage Help?"Homeschoolers can use these videos as jumping-off points to explore fundamental concepts of economics.
Some courses, especially those under “Life Studies,” might not fit into your curriculum, but are well worth watching anyway. For example, Prager’s brilliant course, “Why Be Happy?” explains why Prager views happiness as a moral obligation rather than a selfish pursuit.
Prager University also has an excellent 11-course series on "The Ten Commandments" that I reviewed separately.
Prager University is a valuable resource for homeschoolers, and it continues to grow with new videos addressing some of the most important issues in current events. Be sure to check their site from time to time to see what new courses have been added.
You might also want to check out the new (as of December 2020) page for PragerU PREP (Resources for Educators and Parents), accessible only to members who make a donation of at least $25 per year.
This page makes it easy to find videos by topics. It also has links to two downloadable study guides, each of which covers a number of the PragerU videos with notetaking pages and discussion questions. Another link has a list of essay prompts for teens.
In response to the statues of famous men being removed and destroyed, PragerU is creating two-minute videos under the heading "Monument Series" that succinctly show and tell about famous figures such as Robert E. Lee and Theodore Roosevelt. These videos explain why these men's statues should be preserved.
A "Book Club" link takes you to video recordings of 15-minute book club interviews where host Michael Knowles discusses great books that have shaped western civilization with special guests. Thus far, he has featured books such as Up From Slavery, The Divine Comedy, 1984, Pride and Prejudice, and the book of Genesis from the Bible.
A "Book List" link takes you to an Amazon page with a list of PragerU's recommended books, primarily for children. A large section of links takes you to "Recommended Resources for Families and Children" which features useful websites and publishers of resources that will help parents educate their children.
PragerU PREP membership also gives you access to a private discussion group, a newsletter, and virtual events, and this project will definitely be expanding to make it increasingly useful to parents and families.