Train young citizens and level up Civics credit with elections unit for homeschool high school.
Level Up Civics Credit with Elections Unit for Homeschool High School
One of the best ways to liven up a potentially dull credit is to make it relevant. What could be more relevant in this election year than a unit on elections?
We have a few suggestions that you could adapt to create your own unit study about elections for your homeschool high schoolers. You could adapt it to:
- Have a stand-alone Social Studies elective in Elections OR
- Level up your Civics/American Government credit to Honors OR
- Add to other current events studies for a Social Studies Elective
Because, as you know, there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, so pick what is right for your family.
Here are some suggestions on how to create a unit study on elections for your teens.
(Be sure to log hours so that your homeschool high schoolers get all the credit they earn for these activities.)
Start with a balanced elections curriculum.
We know there are several out there but are partial to Presidential Elections curriculum from Silverdale Press. (We are not affiliates, btw.) This is a downloadable PDF curriculum, easy to read and understand. It includes comprehension and debate questions plus activity suggestions for developing citizenship skills. (You might have heard the author, Dr. Jill Hummer, on Homeschool Highschool Podcast, when she discussed President’s Wives.)
This curriculum is eight chapters long. Your teens could easily spend a week per chapter at an hour per day (although engaged teens might knock the entire thing out in a week).
Add some videos that add more information.
Silverdale Press concentrates on the election process, so your homeschool high schoolers will benefit on some other information that is pertinent to elections. One of the most important things teens need to know (especially, since many of them will be voting either in this election or the next presidential election), is how to vote. There is a LOT to it. Here are some videos that Ezra Tillman, a homeschool graduate and now middle school social studies teacher, created to help explain some of the important information about voting:
Keep up on current events
Read and discuss election-relevant news stories. As often as possible, read the same story from at least two different news sources. Here’s an article about media bias with a graphic that can help you pick stories from different viewpoints. Listening to other viewpoints helps teens learn to ask intelligent questions and hone their own critical thinking skills (something they will need all through their adult lives).
Write essays about election-relevant topics that matter to your teens (or your family)
If you need some support for writing essays, 7Sisters Essay Writing curriculum will take your teens, step by step, day by day through a number of essay styles. You can download middle school essay writing or high school introductory level, intermediate level or advanced level, according to your teens’ experience.
Write a research paper on a candidate
As you know, we highly suggest that each year, homeschool high schoolers include four types of writing in their English/Language Arts credit:
If your teen is studying elections, why not have them pick a favorite candidate or cause to use as the topic for their annual research paper? This type of topic lends itself well to MLA research paper style (because your teen is defending a thesis or idea in the paper).
As you know, 7Sisters MLA Research Paper Writing Guide takes homeschool high schoolers step by step, day by day through the MLA-style research paper so that teens gain writing, thinking and expressive skills.
For teens who have little or no experience writing research papers, they might be more comfortable easing into the process with our report-style paper instructions (a freebie, btw) and our Research Writing Readiness Guide. The
This Research Writing Readiness Guide does not teach a particular style of research paper (i.e., MLA, APA, Chicago). Instead, it guides a student through the process of writing that first official research paper:
- Instruction in basic research writing skills needed for any style
- Practice assignments that will help them create a first research paper
- Development in skills of
- note taking
- citing sources
- Additional links and resources for parents
Make sure you keep logs where you record what your student did and for how long, so you have record of their work. Here’s how you can use this information:
- Level up their Civics/American Government credit to Honors OR
- If they earn 60-90 hours, assign a Social Studies elective .5 credit in Elections (number of hours they need will vary by state) OR
- Add to the hours they need for a Current Events elective
- A good example of earning credits by life experiences comes from our interview with our 7Sisters Cousin Sue Sobczak, who talks about alternative ways to earn government credit.
You and your teens will have good discussions and everyone will add to their life skills with an elections unit.