Friday, October 19, 2012

Our political system

The political season is heating up and major elections are coming soon. Your sixth grader is old enough to study the basics of government so that they can understand the political system as it was created by the founding fathers.
Beyond understanding the mechanics of the system, sixth graders are old enough to begin having opinions about what they believe is the way the world and our country should be run.
Does your child know what your political philosophy is? Does she understand the basic principles of the different political parties? This is a great opportunity to make sure your child understands what your beliefs are, and where you stand on issues that they will hear about on TV and radio.
Remember that sixth graders still tend to think in absolutes, so you might have to explain why you belong to one party, but support views of the opposing party in certain circumstances. Sixth graders can’t change the world, yet, but at some point they will be the decision makers, world leaders, and employees. It is not too early to teach them and help them learn the foundation of the beliefs that will form who they become as adults.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Current events and the world map

Geography and current events are both part of sixth grade social studies. There is a great way to combine the two of those in an ongoing fashion throughout the year. Now let me put in the disclaimer before I get too far into this: I am not necessarily advocating that your child sit and watch the news. Some of the news may be distressing for sixth graders, so pick the current events based on your child’s ability to handle that particular piece of news.
Here is the idea. Take the current events of the day, the president making a state visit to Australia, or a volcano erupting at some location in the world. Then discuss the event, and let your child find that place on the world map.
While much of the current events are bad, there are plenty of current events that are happening all over the world. New countries form, old countries merge, economic summits, royal marriages, earthquakes and other natural phenomena are all worth knowing about and placing on a map.
You can get creative with your map, have your child use push pins with numbers attached, to refer to an event that is described in a current event folder. Maybe encourage your child to do a brief internet study of a current event that particularly interests him. There are so many ways to make current events fun, interesting, and a learning experience.