Want your kids to read like a future president? Start here.
Summer is upon us! In many parts of the country, camps have been canceled or gone virtual. Swimming lessons are on pause. Parks are closed. Museums are shuttered. Libraries are keeping away the crowds. Vacations have been postponed. What’s a homeschool mom to do? Do the unstructured days ahead have you panicking? After all, our kids need something to keep them engaged and occupied during the long summer days.
We do hope you plan to shelve your regular curriculum—at least for a little while—this summer. All moms need space to regroup, reorganize, and reflect.
Even so, you still need to give your kids something to do. Even if your kids can’t compete in your local library’s summer reading challenge, the good news is that they can still keep reading. Reading well, often, and widely is a prerequisite for success in school and life. It should absolutely not stop over the summer. Plus, reading keeps your kids learning and provides structure to fill those long days ahead.
At Silverdale Press, we help your family to learn about the presidents. If you haven’t grabbed your free lesson on the presidential primaries from our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, the long summer days ahead would be a great time to try it out. In our curriculum and unit studies, we also help your kids to form the habits of great leaders and citizens. Reading is one of those habits.
Reading is always a good idea. This summer, why not start by putting together a book list for your children? Use the list to read aloud together as a family. Or have your kids read through the list on their own, during a morning or afternoon quiet reading time.
A President’s Book List
Do you want to come up with a book list but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We have you covered. In our high school language arts curriculum, Persuasive Writing and Classical Rhetoric: Practicing the Habits of Great Writers, we train your kids in the habits of the great writers of Western civilization. Great leaders, who were also great persuaders, were also great readers, thinkers, and writers.
As president, John F. Kennedy wrote some of the most well-known speeches in American history. In 1957, he even won the Pulitzer Prize, one of the highest awards given to writers, for a book he wrote on courageous leaders.
“Before we were married, whenever he [John F. Kennedy] gave me a present it was usually a book. History. Biography.” -Jacqueline Kennedy
Kennedy was a great reader. According to his wife, Jacqueline, even during his busiest campaign seasons, he would make time for reading. “He’d read while walking, he’d read at the table, at meals, he’d read after dinner, he’d read in the bathtub, he read—prop open a book on his desk—on his bureau—while he was doing his tie. You know…he’d open some book I’d be reading…just to devour it. He really read all the times you don’t think you have to read,” she said.
As a child, Kennedy was often quarantined at home, sick in bed. He used those long, home-bound illnesses to read. As a youth, one of his favorite writers was Winston Churchill, the great British prime minister.
Kennedy read a wide variety of genres. He read some fiction and a little poetry, mainly by Lord Byron. As for drama, he would pick up bits of Shakespeare. He mostly read history and biography, with a hefty amount of Civil War and British and American history.
“He was looking for something in his reading. He wasn’t just reading for diversion. He didn’t want to waste a single second,” his wife said. Kennedy was searching for lessons in history or at least a good quote.
Every Sunday, JFK would rip out the book review section of the newspaper and put an “X” over the books he wanted his wife to buy. She would place her order at a local bookstore in Washington, D.C.
So, without further delay, we present to you a president’s book list. These book ideas are based on President Kennedy’s reading habits as a boy and young man. If you want your kids to read like a future president, this is a great place to start.
Notice that we’re not recommending specific books. We think that it is best for your kids to have a say in what they read. They are more likely to buy into the book list if they have a say in shaping it. So, for example, in choosing a biography, allow your son to choose a person that interests him. For a current issue, allow your daughter to choose something she’s passionate about.
A President’s Book List
Don’t forget to download your free lesson on the primaries from our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschools and co-ops.
Click here to learn more about how to teach your kids the habits of great writers.
The end of the school year is near! If you’re not a year-round homeschooler, you know that these last days and weeks can be a slog. They can drag on for you, and they can drag on for your kids. Add quarantining and social distancing on top of it, and you have a recipe for the doldrums!
We could all use a little fun, right? Planning for next homeschool year can be a bright spot in otherwise dreary times. No doubt, you’re thinking about how you can make next year more enjoyable than the last. You’re thinking about what topics and curriculum will keep your kids interested and motivated. How can both you and your kids have a unique and enjoyable learning experience?
May is a great month to plan the next homeschool year. Maybe you’re crafting some fun unit studies. Perhaps you’re pulling together compelling book lists. Maybe you’re even listing the habits and character qualities you want to instill in your children.
As you plan for next year, why not make the presidential election part of your homeschool curriculum? We already gave you three important reasons to study the presidential election in your homeschool. Now here are three fun reasons to make the presidential election part of next year’s lesson plans.
Don’t forget to download our free lesson on the primaries from our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020. The primaries are happening now, and this is a great chance to give it a trial run to see how it can add fun to your school year.
1. Shake Things Up!
Math, English, Science, Repeat. Math, English, Science, Repeat. Day 23, Day 24, Day 25. Check, check, check. Do your homeschool days sometimes feel like this? You count off days and lesson numbers. You check off boxes and satisfy state compliance rules. It doesn’t take long into a brand-new year for things to start to feel, well, dull.
A compelling unit study can be just the thing to add some spice to your curriculum. Unit studies are a great way to explore fun topics that aren’t covered in depth elsewhere. For example, your history curriculum may spend a day or a week on George Washington. But what if your kids really show an interest in Washington and want to do more? A unit study is just the ticket.
Our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 will be perfect for the coming school year. It’s a fun topic and one that your regular curriculum probably does not cover in much depth. At a time when everyone will be buzzing about the election, you’ll have the chance to take a deep dive into the topic and learn more than you ever imagined. There are eight in-depth lessons that cover every step of the campaign and election—from the Iowa caucus to the inauguration. Plus, it will provide you and your kids a welcome break from Math, English, Science, Repeat!
We know that homeschool families are engaged in the world around us. Though some people may view us as hermit-like, unsocialized, and out of touch, we know better. The overwhelming majority of homeschool families care about our nation. They are tuned in. They volunteer in their communities. They pay their taxes and exercise the privileges of citizenship.
Learning about the presidential election as part of your homeschool curriculum allows your family to engage even more. Our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 has many opportunities for students to engage the people and world around you and engage in their own learning. Numerous studies show that learning happens best when students are engaged in their own learning.
Our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 has so many built-in opportunities for your students to engage. Each lesson has questions for debate to get your students engaged in the important questions of the day. Is it fair that Iowa and New Hampshire get to vote first during the primary season? What are the most important issues in 2020? It also has many hands-on activities to get your kids involved. They can convene their own constitutional convention. They can sign up to volunteer for a candidate or party. They can write a letter to the editor of your local paper.
3. Enjoy Educational Screen Time!
Do your kids beg and plead for screen time? We all know that reading a biography is much better for our kids than letting them watch movies and play video games. I know that we as parents do our best to limit screen time. But the struggle is real, especially in these extraordinary times.
The good news is that presidential campaigns allow for so much educational screen time. Since the dawn of television, campaigns have been waged over the airwaves. The audiovisual records are history!
In the 2020 edition of the Presidential Election Unit Study, we’ve added a new section at the end of each lesson: videos. In even better news, the videos are all Internet-linked and family-friendly! We know these videos will be a blessing to homeschool parents and a delight to your kids. They will learn so much and have fun. They will watch television ads through history. They will relive historic presidential debates. They will watch news clips about important events, and they will watch interviews with experts on topics such as the history of vice-presidential picks.
As you plan your upcoming homeschool year, why not add the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 to your curriculum? It’s sure to add FUN at a time when we could all really use it.
Presidential Campaigns During Times of Crisis: Learn History, Take Comfort, and Find Inspiration for Your Homeschool
This present coronavirus crisis is new territory for homeschooling families. Together, we’re learning how to calm fears, ease nerves, and make sense of all that is happening.
It’s important for our families to know that this isn’t the first crisis that America has ever been through. It’s also not the first crisis that we’ve endured during an election season. Our country has seen many challenges, even greater than this one.
Learning about history can give us comfort and perspective. Crises come, and crises go. Yet, elections have happened. The rule of law has prevailed. Our country has persevered. Our leaders have inspired the people in the midst of challenges.
At Silverdale Press, we want to equip your homeschool family to study the election, including the history of presidential campaigns and elections. Our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for your homeschool is filled with history. You’ll learn about the history of campaigns and elections during both times of crisis and times of peace.
Did you get our free lesson on the primaries? This year’s primary season has been disrupted in unprecedented ways. This is the perfect time to learn more about the primaries with your family, as you’re hunkered down at home. Don’t wait! Get your copy today.
In this newsletter, we give you a mini lesson on presidential campaigns during times of crisis. Keep reading for key terms and an activity you can do with your homeschool family today. The activity will keep you busy, entertained, and learning history as you are hunkered down at home.
1. Abraham Lincoln versus George McClellan in 1864
It is hard to imagine a more difficult time for America than 1864. The country was nearing the end of a brutal and devastating civil war, through which Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union and enforce America’s laws. The war took the lives of 600,000 Americans.
It was nothing short of a miracle that the election of 1864 even happened. The crisis of war was so serious, people talked about postponing the election. But in the end, the election was held, even though Lincoln thought he would lose.
Abraham Lincoln was the incumbent (the person running for office who already holds the position). He ran against George McClellan, former commander of the Union forces. Lincoln had fired McClellan for not pursuing the Confederate army after the devastating battle at Antietam. He was also up against people in his own party, known as Radical Republicans, who thought he wouldn’t do enough to fight for the political rights of newly freed slaves.
In the election, Lincoln carried all but three of the participating states and won 212 Electoral College votes out of 233. (The Electoral College is the body of people representing the states who formally cast votes for the president and vice president). This was a huge sign that Americans had confidence in Lincoln.
When Lincoln took the stage at his second inauguration (the formal admission of the new president to office), he spoke these words:
“Fondly we do hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two-hundred-and-fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid with another drawn by the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
Lincoln asked his fellow countrymen to carry on in the struggle. “With malice to none, with charity to all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.”
2. Herbert Hoover versus Franklin Roosevelt in 1932
During the 1932 campaign season, Americans were enduring another crisis. The Great Depression began just seven months after Herbert Hoover became president. Hoover had been known as the Great Engineer, because of his brilliant career in mining and business and as “Food Czar” during the Great War.
As brilliant as he was, Hoover wasn’t able to fix the growing number of Americans who were out of work and short on food. More than 11,000 banks had failed, destroying Americans’ savings. “Hoovervilles,” clusters of dirty shacks where the poorest now lived, had sprung up all over the country. Turned-out pockets of men’s trousers stood for “Hoover Flags,” as they waited in bread lines. The national mood had soured.
In 1932, Hoover ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt. One magazine called the election a choice between the “great glum engineer” and “the laughing boy.” Roosevelt was called “the laughing boy” because he ran an optimistic campaign. He flashed a big smile to crowds whenever he could. He flew to the Democratic convention in Chicago to proclaim, “a new deal for the American people.” The crowd of delegates (the people who select the nominee at party conventions) wildly cheered him. Franklin Roosevelt carried the election in a landslide, taking the Electoral College by 472 votes to Hoover’s 59.
When Roosevelt took the stage at his first inauguration, he said this:
“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”
3. Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan in 1980
As in 1932, the 1980 presidential campaign pitted an optimist against a pessimist. Ronald Reagan showed voters an optimistic temperament when he ran against President Jimmy Carter. But, like Hoover, Carter had grown pessimistic and defensive. The economy was already shaky when Carter took office. Inflation was high. People were paying more for everything from gasoline to sugar. Industries sat idle. Iran held fifty-two American citizens hostage. Carter tried but, in the end, could not get Iran to release the hostages.
Reagan came across as relaxed and confident in the presidential debates. In his closing remarks, he asked Americans to make their decision based on Carter’s record. “Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?” For voters who answered “no,” Reagan was their choice.
Reagan won in a landslide. He won 489 Electoral College votes to Carter’s 49.
When he took the stage to speak at his first inauguration, he said these words:
“It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we’re too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We’re not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.”
Learn history. Take comfort. Find inspiration. Get your copy of the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 today! It’s perfect for homeschool families and co-ops.
Have you hit the point in the school year when planning for next year is more fun that finishing the current one? Have the doldrums set in? Do you have to dig deep to find the motivation to get through just one more day?
When we hit that point in the homeschool year, it helps to remind ourselves of the higher purposes of homeschooling. Homeschooling isn’t easy. It’s a sacrifice. It takes determination and a true belief that this is the best thing for our children.
As homeschool parents, we have the tremendous opportunity to shape who our children become, to instill within them habits and character. One of these habits and character qualities is citizenship, or the informed and active membership in a political community. We hope one of your homeschooling higher purposes is to instill within your children this ideal, put forth by the ancient Greeks, of enlightened engagement in our communities.
In this edition of the newsletter, we give you three important reasons to study the presidential election in your homeschool. As parents, it is our job to prepare our children to become citizens.
Did you get our free lesson on the primaries? The primaries can be hard for parents to explain to their children. We are in the middle of the primary season right now, so this is the perfect opportunity to learn about them. Also check out our newsletter mini lessons on the primary calendar, Rose Garden strategy, and election changes because of coronavirus.
1. Prepare your children to become voters
For most Americans, voting is the most important thing we do as citizens. It is also the most common way people participate. The right to vote is a pretty amazing thing. Not everybody had it at first, and in our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, we look at how the right to vote was given to more and more people over the course of history.
The right to vote gives ordinary Americans a voice in politics. Each vote has equal value; nobody’s vote is worth more than his neighbor’s.
Voting is important because it chooses the people who make the laws that we must follow. We, the people, must exercise the right to vote. And we, homeschool moms and dads, must prepare our kids to become voters.
Consider these quotes from real life young adults about why they have chosen not to register or vote:
There are lies in these words. While our kids are still young and under our care, it is our job to dispel these lies. It is our job to teach them that their votes do matter. It is our job to teach them that their votes can change things. It is our job to teach them to express their beliefs and values by voting.
Behind these lies, what is missing are parents who prepared their children to become voters.
2. Ensure your children will vote as young adults
As parents, it is our job to make sure our kids vote as young adults, to make sure they have a say in who makes the laws we all have to follow. Young Americans, ages 18-24, have the lowest rates of turnout. They are the least likely people in all of America to vote. Only around 40% of people in this age group have turned out to vote in recent years. This is tragic Why is this?
Read these quotes from real-life young adults:
Here we see excuses. Young people often don’t own homes, and they don’t pay property taxes. So, they are less aware than older people how government affects their everyday lives. It is our job as parents to teach them that sacrificing a small amount of time to register and vote is important.
3. Instill knowledge in your children
Young Americans also don’t vote because they feel they don’t know enough. Read these quotes from real-life young adults:
Many young Americans don’t feel they know enough. They don’t know the issues. They don’t know about the candidates and parties. They don’t know how the Electoral College works. They don’t know enough to understand and, therefore, participate in the debates going on around them. While not knowing enough is not an excuse for not voting, we as homeschool parents can ensure they are equipped with knowledge, the foundation of enlightened citizenship that the ancient Greeks believed was so important.
Knowledge is a key ingredient for citizenship and voting. Democracy works best when the people are informed and have the knowledge to participate in political debate. It is important to know the rules that govern our elected leaders. It is important to know the principles and values on which our governing system is based. It is important they know the stakes in policy debates.
Many people and things, such as friends and the internet, can instill knowledge. But it is really our job as parents to do this.
At Silverdale Press, we want to equip homeschool parents to prepare their children to become voters. Our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschools and co-ops gives you everything you need to instill within your children the knowledge and values of citizenship. Click here to buy now or download our free lesson on the primaries.
The stakes are important.
We hope and pray that your homeschool is safe and even thriving during this time of crisis and uncertainty. In this newsletter, we provide you with some resources for studying the presidential election in this extraordinary time. This week, we’ll be looking at the Rose Garden strategy, happening now. The Rose Garden strategy is especially important in times of crisis.
If you haven’t already, check out our new Presidential Election Unit Study 2020. It’s perfect for your homeschool or co-op. Download our free lesson on the presidential primaries. We are in the middle of the presidential primary season right now, so this is a great opportunity to make learning come alive. Though the campaign season has been disrupted—events canceled, elections pushed back, and conventions postponed—the season is still filled with learning opportunities.
1. What is the White House Rose Garden?
Before we learn about the Rose Garden campaign strategy, you need to know about the White House Rose Garden. The White House Rose Garden is a garden, of course. More important is its location. It borders the Oval Office, where the president works, and the West Wing, where the Oval Office is located and the president’s staff work. It is about 125 feet long and 60 feet wide. Ever since John F. Kennedy was president, roses have been the featured flowering plant in the garden, though many other flowers bloom throughout the seasons.
The Rose Garden is used for ceremonies and events. Presidents hold news conferences in the Rose Garden. They make important announcements about laws and policies from the Rose Garden. In short, the Rose Garden is a beautiful, historic, weighty backdrop for governing—and campaigning.
2. What is the Rose Garden strategy?
The Rose Garden strategy is a re-election strategy that only incumbent presidents can use, when they are running for re-election. An incumbent is the person who has held the office before. So, the Rose Garden strategy is an important strategy in 2020, when an incumbent president is running for re-election. But it was not an important strategy in 2016, because an incumbent was not running.
The Rose Garden strategy refers to staying inside the grounds of the White House, taking care of the business of governing, instead of traveling around the country on the campaign trail—meeting and greeting citizens, speaking at rallies.
Of course, the Rose Garden is not the only place from within the White House that a president wages a campaign. The president also speaks from a podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, a workspace for the media in the first floor West Wing corridor. On really important occasions, the president also sometimes speaks to the nation from behind the desk in the Oval Office.
Though presidential speeches may be given in different locations, they all count as the Rose Garden strategy.
By focusing on events in the White House, presidents can capture the grandeur and prestige of their office. They can look presidential. They can use the White House as a dramatic backdrop. They can capture a large audience because the media will cover events and even air them live.
3. Rose Garden Strategy in History and Crisis
The Rose Garden strategy has been important in the history of presidential elections. But it has been especially important in times of crisis. In times of crisis, it is important for presidents to be in the White House, responding to the crisis by exercising presidential powers. As a campaign strategy, this can pay dividends. Presidents can stay in front of voters. And voters will listen because they are anxious. Presidents can be the star of the show, the nerve center of leadership for the nation.
In 1976, candidate Jimmy Carter accused President Gerald Ford of using the Rose Garden strategy to get himself free press coverage. For example, in October of 1976, President Ford invited Queen Elizabeth II to a White House celebration to mark America’s bicentennial. The Queen’s visit got loads of positive attention, though Ford ended up losing to Carter in the end.
But in 1980, President Jimmy Carter used the Rose Garden strategy when he was running for re-election. America was in the middle of the Iran hostage crisis. This was a standoff between the U.S. and Iran, after a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. In April of 1980, Carter ordered the military to attempt a rescue mission, which failed. The constant media coverage of the hostage crisis was not a positive backdrop for Carter’s reelection. He couldn’t resolve the crisis, he didn’t much go out on campaign trail, and his Rose Garden strategy backfired. The hostages were released as soon as Ronald Reagan took the oath of office on January 21, 1981.
We encourage your homeschool family to use this extraordinary time to study the presidential election. We hope this lesson on the Rose Garden strategy has helped you to understand the political background of this extraordinary moment in political history.
Don’t forget to download our free lesson on the presidential primaries, and get your copy of the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschools and co-ops!
Here are some key terms and activities on the Rose Garden strategy for your homeschool as you study the presidential election:
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
Rose Garden strategy
White House Rose Garden
Question for Debate and Discussion
The presidential election is a great opportunity to make learning come alive in your homeschool. In this newsletter, we give your homeschool family important information on campaigning during the coronavirus. This information would be great to use along with our free lesson on the primaries. Did you grab your FREE lesson on the primaries? Click here to download now!
Election 2020 will be one for the history books. Never before has a pandemic disrupted a primary season and a presidential election. It has changed the way voters cast ballots. It has derailed candidate strategies. It has reordered issues voters think are important.
“These are extraordinary times,” President Kennedy told a joint session of Congress in 1961, when freedom and liberty were under attack. The same can be said for today. These are extraordinary times.
In this newsletter, we teach your family about three ways the coronavirus has changed the presidential campaign. Read it with your family. And keep on reading for activities and web links to keep your kids engaged while you are hunkered down at home.
1. Voting by Mail and Early Voting
In normal times, most voters would line up at their polling places on Election Day to cast a vote for their favorite candidate. But these are extraordinary times.
Over the last two decades, more and more states have been going to vote by mail and early voting. These ways of voting help to get more people out to vote. High voter turnout is super important in a democracy! In 2016, about 40% of votes were cast by absentee ballots, vote by mail, and early voting. We cover all of these ways to vote in our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschools and co-ops.
Fun fact: Do you know the states that had the highest shares of vote by mail, early voting, and absentee voting in the last presidential election? They were Oregon (100%), Washington (97.7%), and Colorado (94.4%).
State and local government officials are in talks right now to make sure the November election goes forward even if the pandemic continues. Vote by mail, absentee ballots, and early voting are all possible alternatives to voting in person at the polls on Election Day. Even if the pandemic slows or stops, we can expect to see more and more states turning to absentee ballots, vote by mail, and early voting. We are already seeing this trend in the primaries.
In West Virginia, voters can now give the coronavirus as a reason for voting by mail in their primary on May 12. In Georgia, absentee ballot request forms will be mailed to every voter before the state’s primary on May 19.
Switching to vote by mail will not be easy. It will be expensive and take a good bit of time to print the ballots make sure they are secure. But these are extraordinary times.
2. Digital Campaigning
In normal times, candidates would be boarding their campaign planes, crisscrossing the country. They’d be headed to battleground states or the next states on the primary calendar. They’d hold huge rallies in stadiums and auditoriums, in front of crowds of thousands of people. They’d shake hands with voters, kiss babies, and pose for selfies along receiving lines. But these are extraordinary times. States have banned rallies. Americans are practicing social distancing. Kissing babies, taking selfies, and shaking hands are now frowned upon, especially as more and more world leaders are diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Nobody knows how long the nationwide quarantine will keep people in their homes, away from crowds. Nobody knows how long airplanes will be grounded, as travel restrictions mount. Campaigns are building up their digital platforms, preparing to reach voters in new ways. Campaigns are asking themselves the following questions: How can we boost virtual engagement with supporters? How can we get out our message through social media? How can we get people to donate and volunteer over the Internet?
Fundraisers are already going virtual. Virtual town hall forums are being live streamed. Primary candidates are giving addresses from home. In our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, we talk about the history of campaigns, including the front porch campaign of the early 1900s. During the era of front porch campaigns, candidates would address the people and the press from their homes and especially their front porches. Of course, the Internet was not around back then. These extraordinary times are fusing the old era of front porch campaigns with the current digital era. These extraordinary times are forcing us into a new phase, and it is unclear how long it will last.
3. Leadership Qualities and Economic Issues
If a presidential candidate is an incumbent (the person who currently holds the office), that person can campaign from the White House stage. This is especially important in times of crisis. Attention is laser-focused on the president during crisis situations, as voters tune into daily presidential press conferences and live updates. The media give presidential actions non-stop attention. The nation watches—and feels the effects—as the president manages the crisis and dips into his arsenal of presidential powers. In short, the president campaigns by being president.
If the pandemic persists, the candidates’ re-election strategies and appeals will change. They already have changed. Voters will evaluate the candidates on how they led the nation through this unprecedented national emergency. How well did they take command? Did they make wise decisions?
The most important issue in any presidential election is the economy (the wealth or resources of a country). The 2020 election will be no different. A strong economy usually keeps the incumbent candidate or party in office. A weak economy usually ousts the incumbent candidate or party. The pandemic has caused a huge economic disruption. But given the current crisis, voters may look forward rather than back. They may ask themselves a different question: which candidate is best equipped to rebuild the economy after coronavirus?
Questions for Debate and Discussion
Don’t forget to grab your free lesson on the primaries. Click here to get your copy of the 2020 Presidential Election Unit Study for homeschool families and co-ops.
The coronavirus is not just disrupting everyday life, it’s disrupting the presidential election as well. The good news is that these disruptions provide a great opportunity for homeschool students to engage in the presidential election—and get to know the primary calendar a little better. Here, we help your homeschool family navigate the 2020 presidential election’s primary calendar—coronavirus and all.
In this newsletter, you’ll find a quick lesson on the primary calendar (including coronavirus disruptions), hands-on activities to do with your homeschool students, and video links to explore the presidential election primary calendar in your homeschool.
In our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020, we cover all the ins and outs of the primary season. The primary election is actually a series of elections where candidates from the same party compete against each other for the party’s nomination. That is, they compete to decide who whose name will be on the ballot in the November presidential election.
And there’s good news! We’re offering our lesson on the primaries as a free download on the Silverdale Press website! Click here to download the free lesson on the primaries or buy now.
The Primary Calendar
The presidential primary calendar can be confusing—for homeschool students, parents, and average Americans alike. Different states vote at different times. Some states have regular old primary elections, and some states have caucuses. There’s all this attention on the states that vote early, but the states that vote late in the calendar seem to get the short end of the stick. Do the votes of the people in the states that vote late in the calendar even matter?
Understanding the primary calendar is key to figuring out who will ultimately become a party’s nominee. Candidates plan their strategies around the primary calendar. Where should they spend their time? Where should they spend their advertising dollars? Which states have people who will vote for them?
Iowa and New Hampshire
Iowa is first state in the nation to vote, and New Hampshire is second state in the nation to vote. These two states very important for presidential candidates. If they do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, they go on to compete in later contests. If they do poorly in these states, many will decide to end their campaigns.
Months—even years—before Iowans cast their votes, presidential candidates travel to fairs, farms, and coffee shops around Iowa to meet and greet voters. The presidential candidates make speeches. They run advertisements on television and the radio. They talk to everyday voters about their everyday problems. Finally, in the early days of a presidential election year (usually January or February), Iowans will go to their caucus sites and vote. Candidates who finish ahead of the pack will go on to compete in New Hampshire. Those who finish at the end of the pack will either drop out or make the hard decision to go on.
New Hampshire voters are different than Iowa voters. Sometimes, candidates who do well in Iowa do not do well in New Hampshire. But New Hampshire is still very important. It gives candidates who lost in Iowa a second chance to prove that they can win with a different group of voters.
We dig deeper into Iowa and New Hampshire in our Presidential Election Unit Study 2020. Click here to download a sample chapter or buy now.
Nevada and South Carolina
It’s hard—but not impossible—for a candidate to lose in both Iowa and New Hampshire but go on to win the nomination. Nevada and South Carolina usually vote next. These states are also important because they give candidates yet another chance to prove they can win.
Nevada and South Carolina are in different regions of the country. The people who live there are more diverse than in Iowa and New Hampshire. They have different tastes, backgrounds, histories, and interests.
Fun fact: Between 1976 and 2016, there was only one candidate to lose in both Iowa and New Hampshire but to go on to win the nomination. Do you know who it was? It was Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in 1992. He lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire but did very well in South Carolina. After he proved himself in South Carolina, he went on to do well in the rest of the states. Because of his come-from-behind victory, Clinton became known as the “comeback kid.”
The parties have rules that keep other states from voting before Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. And there are penalties if the states break those rules. States still want to have as much impact on the primary election as they possibly can. So many states schedule their elections as early as they can, if their state election laws allow. That’s how we get Super Tuesday. In 2020, Super Tuesday was on the first Tuesday in March.
If one candidate does really well on Super Tuesday, it can be hard for others to catch up. Candidates who did not have a good showing on Super Tuesday will usually drop out. Those who do well enough can go on to compete in the rest of the states.
The Rest of the States
Do the rest of the states matter? It depends. If the race is close the rest of the states can matter. For example, the 2008 Democratic primary was a really close race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Obama won Iowa. Clinton won New Hampshire. The Super Tuesday states did not choose a clear winner. Obama and Clinton competed in every single state. And every state mattered. When the very last primary was over, Obama had a slight lead over Clinton. He became the party’s nominee.
But in 2016, the Republican primary was pretty much over by Super Tuesday. Texas Senator Ted Cruz won in Iowa. Donald Trump won in New Hampshire--and effectively ensured himself victory on Super Tuesday.
The 2020 Primary Calendar—Disrupted
The 2020 primary calendar will be one for the history books. For the first time in modern history, a pandemic has forced some states, such as Georgia and Ohio, to postpone their primaries. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has disrupted the primary calendar. What will happen to the race? Will the states reschedule and when? There is still so much uncertainty.
Just because the coronavirus has disrupted the primary season—and probably your homeschool routine—you have a great learning opportunity to engage your homeschool in the presidential election.
Here are some primary calendar activities to keep your homeschool students busy while hunkered down at home.
Here are some good internet resources about presidential primary calendar (and disruptions):
Click here to learn more about the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for your homeschool and to download your free lesson on the primaries. It would also work well for homeschool co-ops.
It’s finally here! We at Silverdale Press are thrilled to announce the re-release of our popular Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 edition. If you’ve loved our Veterans Day Unit Study, Martin Luther King, Jr. Unit Study, or any of our White House unit studies, you will really love Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for homeschool families and co-ops.
Click here to buy now or download a free sample chapter.
Presidential elections are a chance to make learning come alive!
Presidential elections in the United States can be both exciting and confusing for students and parents alike. For homeschool families and co-ops, they are also a tremendous learning opportunity.
Here's confusing part. Most people don’t know how presidential elections work. How does a candidate win a primary? What are delegates, and how are they “captured”? What’s the difference between a primary and a caucus? What are parties, and why do we have them? Why do we have the Electoral College, and how does it even work? How does a candidate win a presidential election? These are important questions. It is vital that we as homeschool parents can help our kids navigate the election process.
Now, here’s exciting part. Presidential elections get so much buzz. They are fast-paced and exciting. The debates, advertisements, the strategy all capture our attention for months. This is a great time to get our kids involved and interested in our democracy. It is our job to make sure our kids grow up to be active and involved citizens. It is up to us to make sure that they know about our government and will grow up participate in our democratic process. They need to understand how presidential elections work.
What kids should know about presidential elections
Kids should know about presidential elections from start to finish. They should know what the Constitution says about who can run and how the winner is decided. They should know about how primaries work and the history of the primary system. They should know about what political parties are and what happens at conventions. They need to know what issues are important in 2020 and what the parties and candidates believe about those issues. The need to know about the Electoral College, the actual system we use for electing a president. They need to know about how candidates win in the Electoral College, and this includes campaign strategy, advertising, and media. They need to know about the debates—what to do and not to do. And they need to know what happens on Election Day, from how voters make decisions all the way through the Inauguration.
What you’ll learn in the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020
The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 for families and co-ops is all you need to energize your homeschool this election season. The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 has all of your questions covered:
The table of contents comes with the free sample chapter. Click here to download or buy now.
What you’ll do in the Presidential Election Unit Study 2020
Each lesson is also loaded with fun activities designed to get your homeschool students engaged in the presidential election.
The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 will be a great addition to your homeschool or co-op. The Presidential Election Unit Study 2020 comes as a digital download. The study is high-quality and easy to use, and we promise it will enrich your whole family.
Greetings, and Happy New Year!
Do you want your kids’ writing to improve in the new year?
Though the temperatures may be falling, winter is a great time to start new writing habits. Kids are indoors more. There’s more cozy time. They read more. With fewer hours of daylight, they have more time to be bored.
Regular writing practice is the best way to improve your kids’ writing. Why not make a resolution to write every week? In this week’s newsletter we share some great winter writing prompts. These are perfect for the month of January. Pour a steaming cup of tea or cocoa and enjoy!
1. A Feathery Poem
Bundle up and take a winter walk out of doors. Bring along your notepad and a pencil. Observe the winter birds. Write a poem about a bird (or birds) in winter.
2. A New National Holiday
George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. are the only two Americans to have national holidays in their honor. If you could pick another American to be given a national holiday, who would it be and why?
3. Ice Sculpture Contest
Your town is holding an ice sculpture contest. You and your friend are determined to enter and win. Write a story about your adventure creating the sculpture and how you beat out the competition.
4. Winter Memory
What is your favorite memory of wintertime? In detail, describe the setting, emotions, characters, action.
5. Icy Treats
It has snowed a whole foot outside! As a treat for your snow day, you get to create a dessert bar that features treats made with snow and ice. All the kids in your neighborhood are coming, and your job is to write a menu. Invent titles for the desserts and write descriptions of each treat.
Christmas is a great time put your regular curriculum aside and snuggle up with your kids with some hot cocoa, popcorn, and a stack of books. Reading aloud quality books is one of the best things you can do for your kids. So, we at Silverdale Press have come up with a list of our favorite Christmas books for children. Take this list with you to the library or use it as a gift guide. We love giving books at Christmas!
1. The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter: The mayor is to be married on Christmas Day in the morning. But the poor tailor, who is supposed to be making the mayor’s wedding coat, has run out of twist. The cast of characters also includes a mischievous cat and resourceful mice. Don’t miss this story from one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time. Grades K-6.
2. Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren: The village is noisy because there are so many children running around. In this old-fashioned Christmas tale, learn what the Children of North Farm, Middle Farm, and South Farm do on the days leading up to Christmas. Grades PreK-4.
3. Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray: When Wilma gets tired of growing sunflowers, she decides to grow Christmas trees instead. But she needs the help of her five-year-old neighbor, Parker. Watch how both the trees and Parker grow together. A great book for young naturalists. Grades PreK-4.
4. The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden A poor, lost orphan girl stares into a toyshop on Christmas morning. Ivy has never had a doll of her own. Ivy is penniless. And the store is closed. But Ivy knows that the doll, Holly, was meant just for her. Grades K-6.
5. An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco: Frankie looks forward to Christmas Eve because his Pa brings home one orange for each child. But there’s a snowstorm in Michigan, and Pa is waylaid on his trip home from meeting the Florida train. There might be no oranges for Frankie and his siblings to decorate the mantle, per their longstanding family tradition. This is a heartwarming tale, not just of a special citrus treat, but of sibling love and generosity.
6. The Christmas Story by The Metropolitan Museum of Art: This book pairs the Christmas story from Matthew and Luke with exquisite nativity paintings from the Met’s collection. All ages.
7. Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World by Douglas Wood: It’s December 1941, and America has just entered World War II. How will the American president spend Christmas? With the British prime minister, of course. In this historically accurate account, see how Winston Churchill spices up Franklin Roosevelt’s White House Christmas. Grades 1-5.
8. The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson: During a frigid Paris Christmas season, three young, recently homeless children befriend a hobo. Find out how they change each other’s lives for the better. Grades 1-6.
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