How to Teach Homeschoolers about the Election Process
2012 is proving to be an exciting year for America! We’ve cheered for our Summer Olympians, and now, we’re gearing up for a Presidential Election season. What better time than now for those of us who homeschool to teach our kids—regardless of age—about their civic responsibility and privilege. Even if our kids are too young to grasp the concept of the Electoral College, we can still teach them about democracy, representative democracy, the responsibility of our elected offices and even how to vote.
While we may take it for granted that our kids will be active, involved citizens, the statistics say otherwise. The July 2012 issue of Parents magazine ran an article entitled “Raise a Good Citizen” by Leslie Garisto Pfaff that shows just how uninformed and complacent American young people are about the workings of our government. Just look at these statistics:
- Less than half (49%) of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the last presidential election
- As little as 60% of teenagers have very limited knowledge of current events
If we want to change those statistics, then we should all consider spending time teaching civics in our homeschools. As I’ve looked around for ways to teach this subject to my preschool and elementary students, I’ve found a few resources that I wanted to share.
This is a free curriculum (on CD) with lesson plans for K-12th grade students that covers topics like social studies, US History, US government, political science, economics, geography, speed and more. According to the site, the various levels—elementary, intermediate and high school—comply with national standards.
Currclick.com has several election-themed lapbooks from which to choose—and they are all on sale. Lapbooks are a great way for students to learn a subject in a hands-on way. Each lapbook curriculum that you receive will include a page or two of copy on an aspect of the topic you are studying. After reading that section, students create “minibooks” about what they’ve learned. The minibooks will be folded different ways. Once your students complete all the minibooks, they paste them into a manila folder. The end result is that students have a wonderful, creative memory book of the subject they’ve learned. My kids love to return to their lapbooks and look through them. It’s fun, effective (kids remember what they’ve created) and a great record of their educational journeys. And on top of all that, they are inexpensive. You buy the lapbook curriculum (like one of the examples below) and then make copies of the minibooks for each of your children. Here are two companies that I’ve used before.
Presidential Election Process Lapbook K-5th
By Knowledge Box Central
Presidential Election Process Lapbook 6th – 12th grade
By Knowledge Box Central
American Government and the Election Process Lapbook with Study Guide
by A Journey Through Learning, grades 2-7
ABCTeach.com has a selection of free printouts to complement an Elections unit. For example, there are writing prompts, suggestions for having a mock election and ideas for a current events project.
TeacherVision.com has several suggestions for helping your students learn about the 2012 electoral season, including writing exercises, lesson plans and history articles about past elections.
BusyTeachersCafe.com has a page dedicated to the election, complete with vocabulary words and lesson ideas. It also gives a list of additional links.
Here are some great books to check out at your local library or order online. I’ve tried to include several books for various elementary ages. If you know of others, please let me know.
by Patricia A. Pingry, ages 2+
The Election Activity Book
By Karen Baicker, ages 6+
By Elissa Grodin, ages 6+
by Catherin Stier, grades 1-3
by Syl Sobel J.D., 2ndgrade and up
If you’ve found other resources, be sure to share them here. Happy Homeschooling, Everyone!
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