So there’s a pretty important presidential election coming up here in the next few weeks. Are you ready?
My kids are old enough this time around to get in the conversation, but I’ll be honest with you- the idea of jumping into some lapbook-and-fanfare unit study was just not my idea of a good time. I wanted to cover the presidential election, but I also wanted simple. No crafts, lapbooks, hands-on projects, recipes or long drawn-out lessons, thankyouverymuch. I’ll take the Presidential Election Unit for lazy homeschool moms, please. ;) (Come on, we’ve been over this before, haven’t we?)
I thought there just might be a very remote possibility that some of you need the quick-and-dirty version yourself? The I-just-want-my-kids-to-have-some-basic-knowledge-but-please-don’t-make-me-create-a-raised-relief-map-of-the-electoral-college version?
Yeah. You’re in the right place.
Don’t despair! We’re only weeks out but you still have plenty of time to hit the main concepts with your kids. And (soldiers rejoice!) you can do it without cutting or pasting a single thing. No crafts, no cooking, no supermom projects of any kind. Best of all, you can do it even if you have very little American civics knowledge yourself.
Here’s what you need to do the job:
- Presidential Elections and Other Cool Facts by Syl Sobel (for Kindle)
- How the U.S. Government Works by Syl Sobel (for Kindle)
I have been very impressed with these short, inexpensive books. They are 48 pages, contain simple graphics and easy-to-read font, and can be tackled in one or two sittings. The explanations are fabulous. I recommend reading them aloud to your kids. The books facilitate some great discussions you won’t want to miss, and hey- you might learn a thing or two along the way yourself!
I read the first book aloud in one sitting while my kids colored and played with legos on a rainy afternoon. We’d stop when there was an interesting tidbit or fact and discuss it. I split the U.S Government book into two sittings (lots of information there!) and utilized the white board a bit to copy some of the diagrams and flesh out an idea or two. You can read both books in two hours or less. They do an excellent job of handling the subject matter in a light conversational tone.
If you really want to go the extra mile, you can check out Sobel’s other related books:
But you can keep things uber-duber simple and skip these (for now) if you just want to cover some good solid basics before election day (that’s what I did).
Now, to get that tricky electoral college business down, head to Scholastic’s Election Page and get your kids to play The Electoral Challenge game down there on the left side of the screen. My kids played it for an afternoon and are now experts, give-or-take. It’s fun!
I can’t really vouch for the the rest of the Scholastic website; there are other games and a few short videos that look like they may be worthwhile. Like (seemingly) everything else, I do detect a smidgen of bias, so you know… use your own judgement.
I also had my kids watch Schoolhouse Rock’s version of I’m Just a Bill, just for fun:
That’s it! Arm yourself with a couple of good books, plunk down on the couch with some hot cider and your kids, and banish your I-can’t-believe-my-kids-don’t-know-what-a-senator-does guilt. Sometimes I think we homeschooling moms make things more complicated than they need to be. The election is only a few weeks away- it’s time to hit the easy button.