Did you watch the first presidential debate? I wasn't able to watch it live, but I was able to download it via the CNN Debates podcast and listen to it in my car the very next day. Nothing beats watching it live on television, but this was the next best thing. The debate podcasts are unedited, and there's no commentary from CNN anchors, which is exactly what I was looking for. This is a great resource for busy homeschool families on the go! Other recent CNN Debates podcasts include a town hall with Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and another with libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson. I plan to listen to both!
In case you missed the first debate, you can watch it in full here.
Don't forget to mark your calendar for the next debates:
October 4, 2016: Vice Presidential Debate
October 9, 2016: Second Presidential Debate
October 19, 2016: Third Presidential Debate
Since the debates will be dominating presidential election news for the next few weeks, we've created a game for your homeschool family to play as you watch or listen (live or later). It's called 99 Words. It's fun, and it will encourage your homeschool student really pay attention to what the candidates are saying. Students can play by themselves, or the whole family can play. Or better yet, host a debate watching party and have all of the guests play. Here's how:
1. Download the free printable. Print out as many copies as you have players.
2. The players should carefully read over the list of words several times.
3. Then watch a presidential or vice presidential debate.
4. As the players watch, whenever they hear a candidate say one of the words, they should circle it on their papers.
5. At the end of the debate, the players should add up the number of words they had circled.
6. The winner is the person who circled the most words. If playing alone, see how close to 99 the player came!
7. Optional follow-up: Take two or three of the words and ask your students if they remember what the candidates were talking about when they heard the words. (For example, what were the candidates debating when the word "energy" came up?)
Another interesting activity would be to play the 99 Words game while watching a presidential debate from history. Try the 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and Governor Ronald Reagan. Then compare the results to the 2016 debates.
Ask: Which words came up in both debates, and why?
By the way, its not too late to begin studying the Election. Check out our Presidential Election Unit Study for some assistance (you can double up on the lessons).
*Photo courtesy of John F. Kennedy Library.