Exposing Our Children to the 2016 Presidential Election

I’m not happy about the number of inappropriate election scandals this year. Elections are a great time for educational experience. Instead, this year the presidential candidates are dead set on insulting each other.

I think a 10-year-old with autism said it best, “ALL politicians lie!”

I think the election is an important issue and I’ve gathered some opinions about how other homeschoolers are approaching the election.

The best way to make the 2016 election a learning experience

I have a older teen, so we’re not hiding the coverage from him. We are talking about realities of life in this time, when everything is potentially recorded, how we expect him to interact with women and fact checking ads.

We have a 10-year-old also. We are grateful he’s not really interested in the news yet. But in 2020, he’ll get the same. We will probably start with the congressional election 2 years earlier.

I love this idea! Put the kids in charge of fact checking! This is a great way for them to learn and hopefully uncover the right information. However, they might begin to learn that even the fact check websites are sometimes biased.

Use Game of Thrones

This is one way to encourage political education!

First, we watched Game of Thrones and discussed political intrigue. Then, I set him loose on internet news sites and let him make his own decision about a presidential pick. Maybe not conventional, but he now has a better grasp of politics than most adults and he has become very interested in politics all the way down to our recent school board elections. (I know, why would a homeschool kid care about the school board, but he did.) I don’t censor what he watches, but I am available for questions and to discuss how what he watches compares to reality and our family morality. This was not my original plan on how to teach politics. He had me at my wits’ end and his is what happened.

Be completely open about it

This is another solution, simply be 100% transparent.

I am completely open about it with my 12 year old daughter. We talk about rape culture, dismissing women, how women are sexualized in advertising and the media. We even read some of the tweet storm of women discussing what happened to them. We then discussed how to handle it when someone tries something like that with her. Don’t be uncomfortable, don’t shrink yourself and smile, loudly say what needs to be said, “get off me! Don’t touch me!” And strike out where you can hurt them. We discuss how no one has the right to touch her…ever.

Starting early on is never a bad idea. My best friend started talking to her boys about the proper way to respect women at an early age.

I discuss it with my 12 yr old granddaughter. I have to be careful, because her parents are on the other political spectrum from me 🙂 I hear their “talking points” when she makes a statement. So, I tell her MY position, explain why I believe what I believe, show her how to research and make informed decisions. And, I try not to throw up at some of her “canned” comments she heard from her parents LOL But, I tell her, it’s MY opinion, and others disagree. I tell her she needs to study, watch, listen, learn for herself. Anything I say, she needs to verify it for herself. I explain about moral values vs religious values – that a religion may have unique values that should be allowed to be practiced personally, but have no place in our laws. That we don’t want to live in a Theocracy and why. We ralk about women’s issues, about why we need to stay true to ourselves, how our culture still demeans women, and that we CAN make a difference if we continue to speak out against misogyny. Anyway, we have good discussions, and hopefully, she will make up her own mind based on truth, not media talking points, or just because someone shouts it louder. She’s smart, inquisitive, and wants to learn and understand. It’s scary thinking that she may decide differently! But, I don’t want a robot, I want her to grow up into a thinking, informed woman. Since I am her teacher, but her parents are her PARENTS, I walk a fine line when I teach her about our government, political process, and political climate!

Nasty ads are hidden everywhere

My youngest is 5 and can read extremely well. So she has picked up a few things here and there. Ads on her favorite YouTube channels can be the worst. At this age, I want to keep her as sheltered as possible. When she does ask questions, I’ll answer them and look up the answers.

I wanted to add.. it’s been a good conversation starter with my teen about certain issues.

What happens when you don’t have cable?

We don’t have cable but the kids hear a little here or there. Thanks to my MIL, my 10 and 13 year olds got an earful about Trump v Clinton. Good opportunity talk. It goes something like this:

People have different opinions on different things. People will try to make it seem like their guy/gal is a savior, and the other guy is a devil. In reality they all have shortcomings. Why? (they answer with jokes and reasonable answers.) The candidates are humans, and we know the only perfect person was Jesus, and he was smart enough to not want to get into politics! (That’s our point of view.)

Some people think X or Y about Z. You can see why they think that, because blah, blah, blah. But on the other hand, blah, blah, blah. People’s experiences and who they listen to influence what the believe. People don’t even agree on what the government should be in charge of. (We sidetrack for a minute here on the Constitution.)

Then they ask what I believe on a couple of things, I tell them in basic terms and then tell them why. We should always know WHY we believe something so that we can better state why our opinion is valid. Sometimes talking to people who you disagree with will teach you something you didn’t know. (Rare with adults but possible!) Sometimes we need to learn more about a topic to have a better opinion.

I always make sure to say that not everyone agrees, but that’s OK as long as we can be kind to one another. God loves everyone so we should too. (Derailment of conversation when 10 year old parrots some of Nana’s lovely opinions.) I then ban them from stating political opinions, but encourage them to either ask questions of why to people they think this or that (for the sake of not actually banning political conversations, which I wish I could do a little.)

 

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