Thursday, October 18, 2012

Is Something Important Happening in November?

We do not have cable television.  We do not have a dish on our house to pull hundreds of choices in viewing into our home.  We don't even have an old antenna out there to pick up fuzzy broadcasts.  Because of this, we are relatively immune to the constant onslaught of political ads currently blasting out of most American televisions.  This has not kept us from knowledge of the election process.  In fact, I believe it gives our family a chance to get a broader picture than the carefully crafted commercials can give.  We can listen to our local talk radio station or NPR and we can find more than our share of political news online.

When I planned my school year this summer, I decided civics should be taught at the height of the presidential campaign.  We will cover the unit in six weeks, ending the week following the election.  I also made the decision to spend the majority of our unit really digging into the electoral process and our responsibility as a United States citizen in this process.

My outline is heavy on BrainPOP videos including these titles; Presidential Election, US Constitution, Branches of Government, Political Beliefs, Political Party Origins, Voting, and, Citizenship.  We are also doing quite a few of the corresponding activity sheets and printable quizzes.  I can't express how much I love the BrainPOP site!  Of all of the homeschooling tools I have purchased, BrainPOP has more than paid for itself.

We are also using the iCivics site again this year, as well as the Sheppard Software government games.  We have spent some time reading about past presidents using a little book I picked up in Target's bins at the entrance to the store.  My boys call those the 'cheap junk' bins.  I love that cheap junk!

The final piece in our study has been watching the presidential and vice-presidential debates at 2012 Election Central.  The boys watched the first debate and when I asked JT what he thought about it he said, "They keep saying the same things over and over again."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Later the same evening they watched the debate, I came upstairs and found they had set up their own debate using their LEGOs.  The LEGOs were choosing a new tyrant to rule them.  It was interesting listening to the talking points the boys had come up for each of the parties.  Many promises were being made.

Candidates on stage

How does one win the cave troll vote?

It always makes me happy to see the boys taking what they are learning and turning it into a play situation.  I know that children learn best through play.  I am glad that we have the flexibility in our schedule to allow these moments to happen.  Serious things can often be understood better when a little play and humor are thrown in to the mix.

Maybe the candidates could learn a thing or two from my boys.

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