Friday, August 14, 2009

Use Local Sources to Teach Kids about Government

I certainly encourage parents to teach children the structure of our government. There are some curriculum resources in the curriculum links to help you do that. I have included the link below. There is nothing more annoying than when our politicians from both parties misquote the Declaration of Independence for the Constitution. Even my fourth grade students used to ask me why adults did not know the difference between the two documents. So I certainly encourage parents to explore these issues with their children regardless of whether their children are taught at home or in school settings.

However, government can be an abstract concept for kids to understand. Many of the issues are distant and far away. Seeing government in action can be challenging. Local government is generally accessible for most people. Many selectman and city councilors are open to meeting with local constituents and future voters to discuss how government works. Scout groups often are one of the few groups that take advantage of the opportunity to meet with local politicians and learn how selectman and councilors make local government work. At the local level it is often a little less about party and more about issues that divide people. It is a chance for adults and children to learn about how local government really works.

Have you had questions for years about how your schools are financed? This can be the chance not only for you to learn but to educate your child about school boards and how they work together but separate from other governing boards in local cities and towns.

Not everyone is prepared to drive their children up to the state capital to see their local state representatives or to make appointments with their Federal Congressional representative or Senator. However, it is generally fairly simple to pick up the phone and make an appointment in your city or town to meet your councilor or selectman and to have a chance to get educated on local government. Especially with elections approaching you may find many willing to speak at home school groups or local schools about how local government works. Just ask.

Social Studies Links on this Site

Picture credit Svadilfari

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