Tuesday, November 5, 2013

5 Reasons to Teach Kids About Voting

This week, just like the last several weeks, I am linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for List It! {Tuesday}. I chose to list five reasons to teach our children about our government, specifically voting this time. Why voting? Today was election day and although I didn't have anything around me to vote on  a good friend of mine (@ Learning Life with 3 Sons) brought up the fact to me that I could write at least five reasons why we should teach our kiddos to vote.

  1. Voting is part of our civic duty. OK, so not all adults vote and not all adults vote on every issue they can vote on. But, the "big" elections most of us at least attempt to get to the polls. If we teach our children now about voting then they're more likely to vote as adults. The best way is to teach by example, but if you can't show them the real voting booths you can make your own.* (Idea for that detailed below.)
  2. It's a chance to get them interested in the issues. OK, so some of our children are too young for the adult version of the news, or to understand debates, and the list goes on. However, if you can sit down with your children and say, "I'm voting for/against               and this is the reason why." Then you're setting the foundation. 
  3. It brings civics alive. Most American children (and probably in other countries as well) are required by most state laws to learn about American History, Civics, and their state history. Let's face it most adults are bored by politics and government, to children it's possibly the worst subject to attempt to learn. Why? To most people it IS boring. You can make it an "event" by finding ways to bring their interests into it. "Little Johnny, how would you feel if they tried to make a law that actions figures are illegal? ... Well,             , thinks that            should be illegal. Do you think that's right?" (OK, not the best example ... but I think it's enough to get the idea juices flowing.)
  4. You can tie Native American history to US history AND voting. The Iroquois Indians were the first people in the US to have a large group of people who voted on matters for the betterment of the people. That group was called the Iroquois Confederacy and during it's time the Iroquois experienced a long lasting peace between member tribes of the Confederacy. It is their structure that our own government structure was originally based on. (A good elementary level book for reading more about this is The Iroquois Indians by Victoria Sherrow and it's part of The Junior Library of American Indians ... found in most libraries.)
  5. Because we want to raise our children into well rounded and informed adults. A child who is raised to learn about the issues and question what is going on is more likely to become an adult who learns about the issues at hand and questions what is going on. I'd rather have a child who doesn't agree with me on political issues than one who votes blindly just because their friends happen to like a certain person. 
** Making your own voting booth: An interesting way to bring a very real sense of voting into the home is to set up your own voting booth, spend a few days discussing issues (house rules, chores, etc.), make ballets, campaign even, and vote in the booth on those issues. Most of the materials that would be needed we either have around our homes or are easily bought for very cheap.

A poster board (the kind we all used in middle and high school) folded into 3's so that it will "stand" - you can get them at Dollar Tree
An old box that you "curtain" the front of to make a booth ... maybe your head just fits in but that's ok.

Paper and writing utensils

Honestly that's all you'd really need to pull it off. Spend a couple days on the "issues", talk about voting and how it is supposed to work, make ballets together, "build" the voting booth together, set a date to vote and when the booth will be open and go crazy. You can make this as simple or complex as you want ... you could pretend that you're different members of the Iroquois Nation, however you'd like to play it out.

I just wanted to add (for those of you who haven't heard yet) that I am a nominee for The Homeschool Blog Awards in their New Homeschool Blog category! If you want to vote for me you can go to the link in this paragraph and find me down on number 18. Simply click the little dot next to my blog's name and then click "vote" at the bottom of the page. You can do this once a day from any and all devices that you have that connect to the Internet. Voting runs from Nov. 4 - Nov. 18!

** And as always you can find us on Facebook here. 

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