The Election as a Teaching Tool
One thing you can count on most homeschool parents being is resourceful. We take advantage of most learning opportunities that come our way. So, what better learning opportunity can we imagine that history in real life? Our 2016 Presidential Election is certainly full of interesting, meaty topics which can be discussed in our homeschool classrooms. Here’s what we are doing:
We spent almost an entire day creating a lapbook to help learn election and presidential vocabulary. I printing this off of the internet for free and had the necessary supplies around the house, so it was an easy, last-minute activity. Our favorite part of the
lapbook was the pretend voter registration form. My girls learned a lot and referred back to their lapbooks as the election approaches, and this brought back memories of my own presidential election project in fourth grade!
We’ve clipped newspaper articles and asked relatives to send us their newspapers after each of the debates. (Bonus points: you get the distant relatives involved in this one!) These pictures and short articles are put into a pocket within the lapbook.
We talk about the political signs we see as we drive around town. My kids are now noticing new names along the roads, new political seats they’ve not talked about before and are trying to understand how all of these positions fit together to form our government.
We compared, as best we can, the platform of each candidate. Again, for the age of my kids, this is a little hard for them to grasp, but an older student would definitely comprehend these facts. We will also take them to the poles with us when we vote.
The biggest shift we made to our school year to take advantage of the election was our choice of history curriculum. I diverted from our ancient history path and purchased an easy, all in one, U.S. History course. My girls are loving the change of pace and style of learning this year. In retrospect, I wish I had started this course earlier in the calendar year so we would be further along in the timeline of American history to better suit a presidential election, but it will all make sense in the end…I hope.
As a homeschool mom, I am always on the lookout for real life examples on which we can mentally hang these academic facts. Sometimes, these learning experiences come in the form of visiting a museum or finding some hands-on activity to do. But in the case of a presidential election, history is unfolding before our eyes. Even though this election has become full of mud-slinging and wild news reports, we can still make it a positive learning experience for our children.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool,
but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.