Election Time Teaching Helps

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Question:

With all the media attention on the presidential debates and upcoming election, I want my kids to understand what it is all about. Where do I start?

Answer:

As “the principal part of everything is the beginning,” that is where I would start.

This article, Presidents of the United States by Gregory Allan, tells who the first nine Presidents of The United States of America were, and they aren’t who most think! This article is a great discussion starter and can lead to many rabbit trails.

Then I’d check out the Elections Connections Page at Homeschool Share.

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Here you’ll find a list of recommended books, and FREE Lapbooks, Unit Studies, and other Printables.

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This FREE Elections Lapbook explains the history of the election process, as well as political party structure.

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Your elementary age children may enjoy reading and completing the FREE Unit Study for The Ballot Box Battle by Emily Arnold McCulley, a picture book about women’s right to vote.
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They may also enjoy So You Want to be President, which Jen reviews HERE.

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If your children want to learn more about the individual presidents, check out Homeschool Share’s Presidents Connections Page.

There you will find a recommended book list, and FREE Unit Studies and Lapbooks, including this Presidents Lapbook with oodles of printables that can be used individually or assembled into a lap-n-note.
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Teens may want to dig a bit deeper into understanding the differences between political parties. Richard Maybury’s book, Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused? is a great primer. There are FREE Notebooking Pages HERE.

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As you are watching the debates with your children, it will benefit them to understand the basics of argumentation and how to recognize bad reasoning. The Fallacy Detective by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn is a great introduction to propaganda techniques.

You can encourage older children to answer some critical thought questions, such as:

Does my vote really count?

What are the pros and cons of electronic voting versus the paper ballot?

Stalin said, “Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” What are the stop gaps in place to prevent vote fraud and are they sufficient?

Is it ok to choose the lesser of evils?

Do you agree with this statement made by Lysander Spooner: “A man is none the less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” Why or why not?

Not enough resources for ya? Ok then…

How about a FREE copy of Presidential Elections, A Complete Resource with Historical Information Activities and Ideas by Julia Hargrove!
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It has everything you need to make learning about the elections an easy, exciting and meaningful experience. I’ll send a free book to the 30th commenter. Rules are simple:

-Post a comment to this post, being sure to include an active e-mail address for me to contact you if you win.

-You may post up to two comments

-Winner will need to reply to my e-mail requesting snail mail address so I can ship the book to you!

Good luck and have fun!