Holidays, Elections, Olympics, Fall Ideas, Special Days

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Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Holidays, Elections, Olympics, Fall Ideas, Special Days

Unread post by Julie in MN »

betsyk wrote:Can anyone suggest a good curriculum, web-site, books, etc, for teaching about the Presidential Elections? Any age group would do, though my kids are 9, 10, 12, and 13. I want to start now and follow the elections til next Nov. Thanks!
I love the resources at

In the 2004 presidential election [and 2008], we used their worksheets to evaluate advertisements, debates, and color in the states on election night as the results came in. A lot of video clips of these things were available on their site, if you missed them on the television.

This link has lessons and often worksheets on many topics - rating the debates, learning about the electoral college, comparing campaign ads, etc.

They seem to put out their best election materials as the presidential elections approach, but you can also learn some things about the in-between elections on C-SPAN:

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Unread post by mamaofredheads »

WORLD Magazine & God's World News will cover these from a Christian perspective. With my last MFW order I received a flyer with a discount code. If you don't have one the flyer, I'm sure you could contact MFW for the code.

Also, we have an excellent Christian talk show program in the Dallas area called Jerry Johnson Live. For those of you who listened to Marlin Maddoux when his program was on, his co-host Penna Dexter is the co-host. It's on here from 5-6 p.m. Mon. - Fri., but I believe you can listen to archives on-line any time. They have excellent coverage of the candidates, as well as other current events. It's at, then click the link for Jerry Johnson live ... eduleid=76


Unread post by cbollin »

Here's a quick link to be able to order WORLD Magazine, God's World News, or the younger editions online with the MFW discount code.

Prices shown are "list price". If you click on the item on that ordering page, it will show the 10% discount on a separate line item even before checkout.

God's World News MFW Orders Must Be Placed By Aug 15, 2007, To Begin With Issue #1 Of The 2007/2008 School Year :)

and, it's nice. God's World News makes a donation to the MFW missions fund from those referred sales.

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Presidential Election Resource for Kids

Unread post by humpty »

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 7:38 pm

My favorite resources for ages 9-12 (although my 7 year old loves them, but doesn't understand everything) is Peter W. and Cheryl Shaw Barnes' books. They have several other books along the same lines (Senators, Supreme courts, etc)

Woodrow for President - A Tail of Voting, Campaigns and Elections ("tail" because he is a mouse).

Woodrow is a mouse and when he was a baby, his parents said, Maybe someday he will become president." He grows up to be a very civic mouse, even a governor, then runs for president. It covers everything a 9-12 year old can grasp. For instance, it introduces, the names of the parties (Rep, Dem, Ind, Green, etc) but the party Woodrow is affiliated with in the book is the Bull Mouse Party,

It covers parties, the electorial process, campaigning, debates, conventions, choosing a VP, election day and much more (even that the Mouse Hampshire primary is the first one). AND it is in rhyme.
cbollin wrote:My library has this book and some follow up book with Woodrow and the White House. Thanks for the tip to read it. sounds like fun :)
donutmom wrote:I also found 2 other books at our library by the same author--about 2 other mice. One is a Supreme Court mouse and one is a Senate mouse. Thought I'd share that find. Maybe there are others out there--like a House of Representatives mouse or something!
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Unread post by 4Truth »

Posted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:27 pm

Idea for ECC and the upcoming Olympics which are taking place in China -- read about Eric Liddell and/or watch "Chariots of Fire". I know that Liddell's bio is read in the first year of high school, but that's okay. We watched Chariots of Fire a few years ago during the Olympics in Greece, and my girls don't remember it. It'll make a much bigger impact this time around.

We're starting ECC in early summer, so I'm going to time our study of (and prayer for) China with the Olympics. Particularly good with all the negative publicity it's getting this year.

Posted Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:32 pm by 4Truth

We started out with a large map trying to find each of the countries during the Parade of Nations, but we couldn't keep up! Some of them I'd never heard of before... and some have had name changes (like Burma to Myanmahr), so it was hard to find many of them. We decided we really *need* to study geography this year! LOL
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Kindergarten & Elections?

Unread post by kellybell »

vizslas4u wrote:I have started my oldest in Kindergarten, and she's going very quickly through the curriculum. In order to make it last, and still stimulate her mind, I am going to fill in with "current event/interest weeks". I was hoping to use the current election as a week-long lesson. Does any one have a book or a website that is good for explaining the election process, but isn't so far above her head that I can't simplify it? So many that I have found are for 3rd/4th grades and up.

Along that line, does anyone have a good resource for teaching the concept of: a city is inside a state which is inside the USA which is inside the World, since she is getting very confused by that concept.
This is such an interesting election year. I'm teaching an election class for ages 9-13 at our weekly co-op and you are right, most resources are for those ages or above.

But I don't think you need books for teaching this to little ones. Here's my game plan for my 2nd grader: We just are explaining to her that every four years we get to choose a new president and this is one of those years. You can say that you are excited because the race is close. You may explain, "I will vote for _____ because I agree with him more."

Here are some important points for young kids:

1. The vote is private. I don't have to tell my neighbor, coworker, or the lady at church how I voted.

2. Voting is a privilege and citizens must register to do it. You can make a pretend registration form.

3. Some countries don't let the people vote. Or if they do vote, the vote may not count. Try this for dessert. Before you go shopping, have the family vote for dessert. If apple pie wins, then you get to eat apple pie. Then, next week, vote again. If ice cream wins, give them cheesecake. It's not what they voted for, but -- surprise -- the vote didn't count! Some countries are like that. If you want, have kids lobby for certain desserts and make posters why apple pie is better than ice cream, etc.

4. Tell her that we vote for some laws, mayors, governors, etc. Not just president.

5. Watch the inauguration on Jan 20. And maybe watch the results of elections in November. Color in a USA map with red and blue. Fun to watch. You can explain that states with more people get more of a vote. It would be sort of if your neighborhood voted on desserts and the big families got more of a voice than the smaller families.

6. If there are not a lot of people in your family, dig up all those stuffed animals and lego guys and such and have them vote.

7. You can explain that the Pres/VP run as a "ticket." You cannot vote for one party's vice president and the other party's president. Sort of like "cookies and milk" going against "apple pie and ice cream."

No need at this age to go into the electoral college. No need for a big book either.

Okay, about cities and states and such. There's a book that ECC recommnends called "Me on the Map" or something like that. It's a good book to sort of get the concept of city - state - country - world.

If that doesn't do the trick, start with what you know. YOu know your house. So, today, draw a map of your street or block. Tomorrow, discuss that other little girls live in other neighborhoods and draw a rough map of your city. Put the park, the zoo, the church, the grocery store and the dentist on it. The next day mention the other cities in your state with zoos, dentists, and grocery stores. Draw your state and put your city and a few others on it. At this point, maybe get out a road atlas and find your city. Mention that the atlas isn't big enough to show your neighborhood or street. But, there's your city! Then, the next day, find a USA map (we have a nice little $1 placemat from Walmart) and find your state. Can she find about where your city is? Then, move up to the globe.

And, if she doesn't get it, give it a year or two. It is a complex concept and not really easy to get at a young age. If she doesn't get it, just keep that globe handy. When a news story comes on (or appears in print) about the flooding in India, you can say, "there's India and they need prayer." Eventually the light bulb comes on. No rushing it.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by dhudson »

Wow Kelly! I want my kids to go to your class.

For the neighborhood idea - isn't there an activity in MFWK or MFW1 where you draw a map of your neighborhood?

I use lots of maps to explain places. We have maps everywhere - to show where Daddy is when he travels, to show where we've been and may be going and then car maps for traveling for the kids. Traveling is a very concrete way to show kids - we live about an hour away from the CO/WY border so we look at the map see it's a another state, count how many cities we'll go through to get there and then go. Get out at the state border and step in two different states. I think the main idea is to tell them that they are just ways we organize things. There are no actual lines, it's just easier for organization to put people and space into groups.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002

Unread post by cbollin »

dhudson wrote:For the neighborhood idea -.
One thing I remember having fun with my oldest at that age was to get maps of the city bus routes and plan ways to use the bus system in the city. and then to get a road map of the state.

And to look at names of street signs around town and learn how to get to different places. Turn left on Main Street, to College Street, then turn right.

That was fun.

also... keep in mind there will be elections in 4 years from now as well when it will be easier to find more resources. So it's ok.

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Unread post by vizslas4u »

Thank you everyone for your ideas! Please share if you have more.

My daughter is obsessed with "Where are we mommy? What state? Are we headed North? Are we leaving Minnesota (even though we're headed to the grocery store)? Where is [insert ANY family member, friend, or acquaintance]? Hence trying to explain the differences in city/state/country/world. I hoping if I can explain it a different way, she'll be less confused.

I just had an idea this evening (while making dinner). I was thinking we'll get a map of our town and look at it Monday. Then, Tuesday, shrink it on the copier pretty small, and tape it to a state map. Then, Wednesday, take the state map and shrink it and tape it to a US map. Then, Thursday, shrink that to a world map. by then, the city will be SUPER tiny, and she may get the gist.

And, she loves the US flag. We count them where ever we go. So, originally I was just going to do a flag week for her (counting stripes, stars, flag etiquette, etc.) but I was hoping to supplement with a little more, and maybe move on to a current event, such as the election. So, the VERY basics of the election process is all I'm looking for. I was hoping to find a little poster, book or publication that would help me explain it to her. I just may have to get creative. That's ok too.

Unread post by sarathan »

Hi there!

I just bought We Elect Our President by WeeklyReader. It's a little workbook geared towards grades K-1. I haven't started it yet, but it looks short and sweet, probably something we could complete in one day. It looks like it gives the basics of the voting process and how the president is elected. I noticed they also have various map workbooks for younger grades, although I haven't bought any of those. Anyway, just another idea! :)
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Good website to explore government

Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

Good activity for Adventures & more

The site is broken down by grade level. As the election approaches, it might be a fun "extra" to explore in your free time. If you use the 6-8 grade link, you'll then find a games and activities link. There, you'll find a "Place the State" interactive game that helps them with U.S. geography.
A proud adoptive mom of 4 children,
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Unread post by evey »

baileymom wrote:I'm am putting together a 3-4 day unit study to do the week of Thanksgiving. Just wondering if anyone has any ideas...books, videos, crafts etc. that their kids really enjoyed.
Here perhaps is an out there idea. Have you considered discussing the feast of tabernacles? (Sukkot) It is known as the biblical thanksgiving since God provided manna in the wilderness and such. It will give you a biblical reference point too.
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Unread post by mgardenh »

Adventures has a thanksgiving week all planned out with books and activities. I am looking forward to it.
DH to Laurel
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Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
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Unread post by lyntley »

We have done lots of neat things from " Audrey's Thanksgiving Links" at teacherhelp dot org or something like that. We have also done a really nice preparing our hearts for CHristmas thing using Jesse Tree units. It's especially nice for those who want to add more Bible time in their day or to have a sweet family devotional time in the evenings..
Last edited by lyntley on Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lynnette: Wife and Mother by the will of God.
ECC 07/08 with 9,7, and 2
CTG 08/09 with 10,8, and 3
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Unread post by FreshKid »

We do a lot for CHRISTmas, as we don't do Santa. In addition to talking about Jesus' Birthday, we watch the Miss Patty Cake video that goes with the "What Does God Want for Christmas" nativity set. We also do a lot at church.

Teresa in TX
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Election map idea... 1850-Modern jumpo map

Unread post by Teresa in TX »

We typically color the red and blue states for the election. We decided to take a tear-out map from our jumbo U.S. maps from our 1850-Modern, cut it out, and use it as a "cookie cutter" of sorts for a giant U.S. sugar cookie. I'm considering trying to do light slices into the dough, through the map, around each state so we can have the states defined in that way.

As the election progresses, we're going to use red and blue icing to color in each state. It seems just more "fun" than only doing the map. That is one of those ideas I probably wouldn't have come up with if MFW hadn't broadened my horizons. ;) My kids like this idea very much and are so looking forward to our U.S. cookie!

Postby Teresa in TX » Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:55 am
kellybell wrote:Sounds like a lot of work. If you need help eating the cookies, let me know and I'll bring the kid over. We could help you out there... Sounds like a fun idea.
You know, I thought it would be a lot of work too. Remarkably, it wasn't. Dd cut the map out, I rolled the dough onto my pan and laid the map on it, then cut around it. I then lifted it a little and drew in the states, laying it back down to make sure they were in the right place. The whole thing took me about 10 minutes. It was a fun thing. It's still on the counter, though, waiting to have the last states colored in. We gave up about 10:30 and went to bed. lol
Teresa, Mom of 5: 15yo dd, 12yo ds, 7yo ds, 5yo ds, and 1yo ds

4th year with MFW
MFW 1st w/ 7yo ds
MFW RtR w/ 7th grade ds
MFW World History with 10th grade dd
So far we have used: ECC, 1850-Present, CTG, RtR, High School Ancients and MFW K
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ECC side trip for Christmas

Unread post by RB »

We are going to take thr first 2 weeks in December and explore Christmas around the world. I have purchased "Celebrate Christmas Around the World" (activities), "Christmas around the World" (a look at traditions) and "Classic Christmas Stories".

Just wondering if anyone has any other ideas or resource suggestions? We are looking forward to this, and it will also be a fun and light side trip during Nutcracker season :) As a partially reformed box-checker, I thought it would be good for my family (and my sanity) to do 2 weeks without grids to check off! Oh, and we school for 36 weeks anyway, so we won't miss any of ECC in order to do this.

Postby RB » Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:38 pm

Irene, your ideas made me remember a Christmas hymn resource I have, called Color the Classics.
dd 15 dd 14 ds 12 ds 1
Adventures and 1st ('07/08), ECC and K ('08/09), CtG ('10-'11), RtR ('11-12), Expl-1850 ('12-'13)
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

There are some ideas for library books here:

And I don't know if anything different is here, except Jess's idea to focus on giving:

MFW also has a Nutcracker set:

I am thinking of spending some afternoon time each day with our 7th grader and planning or making Christmas gifts. I think he's getting old enough to learn how to think about this himself. And his dad has been trying to do a little "shop" with him two afternoons a week, so he is learning some handwork that he could use -- with leather and wood and such. (It ties in very nicely with our studies of early America :o)

That's my Christmas idea to throw in.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Unread post by faithmom »

Well, you and I must think alike because I have the exact same books with the same plan - except I scheduled stuff so I could still check off boxes!! :)

I'm also planning on reading A Christmas Carol, doing lots of Christmas hymns, and reading through the birth of Christ slowly (for discussion sake).

Throughout the year I've noticed a lot of christmas books at the library. Hopefully I can get to them before everyone else checks them out, since we are doing the first two weeks in December.

Just came across something that might be helpful.

I'm really excited about this. I'm sure it will help put our hearts where they need to be.
Married 20 years
ds-13, dd-11, dd-9, ds-7, dd-3, ds-1
Used ECC, CTG, K, 1st
2010-11 Using RTR and 1st
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Unread post by 4Truth »

faithmom wrote: Throughout the year I've noticed a lot of christmas books at the library. Hopefully I can get to them before everyone else checks them out, since we are doing the first two weeks in December.
Well, if your library's like ours, you'd better get them now! I've already requested a few that are all taken... and I'm something like #32 on the wait list for one or two of the titles.

Has anyone mentioned Jotham's Journey?

Here's a couple more ideas... helps tie the meaning of Christmas together with the meaning of Easter:
- make Resurrection cookies (recipe is in the RTR manual, and I think the Adventures manual as well)
- read The Story of Easter by Christopher Doyle (a children's picture book, very well done by Concordia Publishing)
I guess I've always thought of Christmas as the "beginning" of the Easter season. ;o)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
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Unread post by cdavis762 »

Thanks for the great idea of focusing on Christmas Around the World and Giving! I was panicking a little about the upcoming holiday season and how to manage school. We'll be starting Europe after Thanksgiving, but would have to take a break in that for Christmas, and feel I wouldn't cover it as well when my mind is filled w/ all the 'other' items that comes with the holidays.

We are pretty involved w/ the giving aspect already. and have wanted to focus more on that right now anyway!

I will check out the books at my library too!
Be blessed,

God is in control!
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Christmas around the world

Unread post by RB »

Faithmom wrote:I'm also thrilled with the two extra weeks to plan our own thing. We are really having fun right now studying Christmas traditions around the world.
We've been enjoying Christmas Around the World, too, this week :) Greece, Czech Republic (my dh was born there), Mexico and Holland so far!

We loved the recipe for Mexican hot cocoa and we really like the Kingfisher book of Christmas stories. If you have any highlights to share I'd love to hear.
dd 15 dd 14 ds 12 ds 1
Adventures and 1st ('07/08), ECC and K ('08/09), CtG ('10-'11), RtR ('11-12), Expl-1850 ('12-'13)
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Unread post by faithmom »

We read "A Christmas Carol" this week. We're going to use the Kingfisher book next week.

One thing all my kids have enjoyed is the 'Christmas Around the World Student Booklet' in the "Celebrate Christmas Around the World" book. My oldest is soaking in all the info about traditions around the world, the girls have liked that some and have loved the pictures, and my five-yr old was absolutely thrilled about making a book!!

I also found some different worksheets online and have had them do things like writing about our family traditions and making cards for language arts. Also, they are making a country sheet each day where they write a little about the country's tradition and draw a picture. These kinds of things have made the week a bit different and fun.
Married 20 years
ds-13, dd-11, dd-9, ds-7, dd-3, ds-1
Used ECC, CTG, K, 1st
2010-11 Using RTR and 1st
Michelle in WA
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Spiritual traditions for Christmas

Unread post by Michelle in WA »

pjssully wrote:i was planning on schooling up until day before christmas but after reading some posts, i am going to make tomorrow our last day!!i am looking for some good traditions--of course, we will do cookies and stuff but i wasn't raised with any spiritual traditions and would like to start some for my kids!! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Here is a list I typed up for my hs group last week. I hope you find something your family enjoys!

Celebrate Jesus! at Christmas is a devotional for advent through epiphany. It has weekly themes that are explored through bible stories, song, prayer, community outreach, and more.

Redeeming the Season is a book by Kim Weir. It has many simple ideas to keep Jesus our focus this time of year, including handing out nails, prophecy envelopes, nativities and more.

I don't know how hard this one will be to find. It's put out by Family Life, or was. Adornaments is a resource that teaches the names of Jesus using Christmas ornaments. There is also a cd available to learn the bible verses too.

For those interested in making a Jesse Tree, there are many options out there. Just google Jesse tree.
Michelle, momma to
A (01) completed 1st, ADV, heading into AHL (gulp)
T (02) completed K, 1st (doing something else for now)
C (05) (doing something else for now)
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Unread post by lyntley »

Some ideas from our family traditions;

-If decorating with a Nativity scene, wait till Christmas morn to put out the baby Jesus and then sing Happy Birthday.

-Make a birthday cake for Jesus

-Instead of a gingerbread house make a ginger bread manger scene every year.

- we gather with friends, ask them to bring some cookies over, then go knock on neighbors doors sing them a song and give them a plate of cookies.

-We have three small decorative lighted trees, The day after Thanksgiving we read the Legend of Three Trees to the children and then let them decorate them with miniature nativity ornments.

Play Christmas music throughout the day for the month of December
Lynnette: Wife and Mother by the will of God.
ECC 07/08 with 9,7, and 2
CTG 08/09 with 10,8, and 3
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