Do your feelings about this year's presidential election match anybody pictured in this Norman Rockwell painting, Election Day? Fear not. It's almost here: the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November!
In this post, I'll give you some ideas about what to do with your homeschoolers to celebrate Election Day. I heartily believe that your family should mark the occasion.
1. Take your kids with you to vote.
There is no better way to instill good citizenship values than by taking your kids with you to vote. I will be taking mine. Voting is the most frequently exercised form of political participation, and it is up to parents to set a good example. I have vivid memories of going with my parents to the polls, looking at the ballots, seeing how the process worked.
Many precincts will have kids' voting stations set up, where kids who are under eighteen can cast their own ballots (that are not officially counted, obviously).
After you come home, talk about what you observed--about the people and signs outside, who and what you encountered when you were inside, whether you had to present identification, who was on the ballot and so forth. Ask your children if they have any questions.
2. Volunteer at the polls.
Campaigns are always looking for people to stand outside of the polling places to hand out literature and sample ballots. I just responded to an email requesting that I work the polls on Election Day for my local congresswoman, since I had done some volunteer work for her. The campaign manager was looking for people who could approach voters as they go into the polling place and hand out information.
This is great experience too. Contact your local party organizations, or even contact the campaigns of people farther down the ballot (U.S. Congress, state legislature, governor, mayor, town council, etc.) to see if they need help. I'm sure they do. Of course, parents should volunteer together with their kids.
3. Teach your kids not to take voting rights for granted. Read President Lyndon Johnson's famous 1965 speech, which he delivered to persuade Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. Or read suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt's speech to Congress imploring them to grant women the right to vote.
4. Get something for free.
After you vote, take advantage of one of the many Election Day freebies from retailers around the country.
5. Gather together to watch the returns.
In the past, I have really loved going to election night returns parties. I'd gather with friends around the television and watch the results come in. It is a good time to explain to your kids how news networks use exit polls to "call" the states before all of the ballots are counted. (However, I've been reading some articles lately about how party hosts are planning carefully, since emotions have been running high in this election). But if a party is in the plan, don't forget to follow us on Pinterest for some patriotic food ideas.