Election Time = Opportunity to Teach Government

We have a Federal Election approaching our True North Strong & Free. That’s right, October 14 is voting day for us here Canadians, and if you homeschool, it’s a prime opportunity to teach government and politics. I recall stressing a little bit last year at the idea of having to cover government for 5th grade learning outcomes – and we all know how exciting teaching government can be (wink). Soooo, luckily I was let in on a little secret from a fellow homeschooler with more experience and wisdom than I. “Why teach government now?”, she said….”Why not wait for an election?” Hmmm, I thought – now that makes sense.

So, here we are at election time, and I have decided to take two weeks straight and focus on Social Studies – with the sole purpose of teaching government and politics. That’s one of the many perks of homeschooling – you can take advantage of these opportunities and digress off the scheduled PLO’s (provincial learning outcomes) with the freedom to cover them in any order you wish. They all get covered in the end, but when opportunities like his come up, it simply personalizes the topic for the kids and gives them something concrete that they can hold on to – solidifying their learning experience.

We are using a nifty little book called Canada Votes, by: Linda Granfield. The book walks you through the basics of Canadian government and election procedures – connecting what the children are seeing around the neighborhood with the election process. In addition, we have been taking it upon ourselves to take note of individual candidates and running parties, as well as investigate what each candidate is standing for. (This can be taken a step further coincidedly with another book called Who Runs This Country Anyway?  by: Joanne Stanbridge) The girls are charged with picking three major points that each candidate is promising and writing them down. As we go along, we are provided opportunities to discuss in depth (according to skill level) what we think of each candidate’s stance on certain issues. By the end of the two weeks, we should be able to make an informed decision as to whom we think should best be suited for the running positions. The children are responsible for this fact finding process and along the way, they are learning a new skill – the skill of applied logic. No mind-bender workbook will provide this kind of logistic opportunity.

I am amazed at the type and depth of conversations we have had so far, and I did not anticipate having these kinds of conversations, but I stand in awe at the natural progression of it all. I imagine as we continue to investigate, we will have many more. So, if you have such an opportunity with your children to tie in government and politics with an election process, by all means do so! You will be amazed at the natural learning that occurs, the life skills that are developed and the character that arises in your children.


Filed under Curriculum, History/Socials, Learning

3 responses to “Election Time = Opportunity to Teach Government

  1. Isn’t it great! I love using current events to guide our learning. It’s so much more interesting and exciting, and memorable that way. DD and I have been into election mode since the day the election was called. I’ve written a couple of posts with ideas and resources we’re using

  2. That’s fantastic 🙂 We’re using the Canada Votes book as well and I registered my oldest for the children’s version of the election at studentvote.ca which is fun. I haven’t heard of the second book you are using but just found it at the library so I’ve reserved it to pick up later this week to have a look at to 🙂

  3. My sister (15) and I (17) are unschoolers, so haven’t really ever been officially taught politics, but of course we’ve done much learning about it over the years! I enjoyed this post, since it really made me think of how much we do actually know about politics and the whole political system! We’ve been debating politics with friends and each other for years, we can tell you what each party stands for, how we feel they come across, our opinions on their politics etc. I’ve also started paying a lot of attention to media bias and add campaigns, both of which fascinate me… And that’s not even to mention all the discussion and reading I’ve done on alternative styles of government, anarchy, communism, etc.

    Oh dear, I seem to have once again turned what was supposed to have been a comment into a short post… Anyway, thank you very much for sending my mind in that direction! 🙂


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