A President's Book List: Summer Homeschool Ideas for Growing Great Leaders, Writers, and Readers
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.
Three FUN Reasons to Make the Presidential Election Part of Your Homeschool Curriculum
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.
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