EVANS: If only elections were as simple as teaching about them

Published 11:09 am Thursday, October 29, 2020

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One of the many benefits of homeschooling is having the ability to add in “extras” as we see fit, and molding our classroom so that our tiny students can take part in events happening in the world around us. 

Like most of your kids, we have been focusing a lot on debates, elections and campaigns. 

Much like your kids, mine are too young to fully understand the purpose of voting or the reason we have elections. 

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As election time is upon us, I have introduced books about voting, discussed with them the importance of honesty and watched videos where various cartoon characters took part in an election. 

In our classroom, I have had the pleasure of witnessing first hand as their minds attempt to make sense out of the numerous aspects of the election process.

This week, we started by discussing what it means to vote and why it is so important. 

Following this, I asked them to draw themselves as president. As I looked at the creative artwork of my 8 year old and 5 year old, I found myself chuckling. 

My 5 year old had simply drawn a stick figure of himself looking as though he were hosting a debate. However, my 8 year old included the dialog boxes showing what he might say if he were running for president. 

Most of his political campaign discussed the importance of cake. Typical growing boy for you, always thinking about food. One balloon read, “cake mix,” another, “it’s not that flavor,” and the last one, “make it chocolate.” 

In reading his presidential campaign, I am thinking how nice it would be if choosing the right president boiled down to being about the right flavor of cake.

The following day, we started our own election for the best pet. Each kid was allowed to pick their favorite pet, make a campaign poster and create a campaign video. 

My eldest chose a racoon and my youngest chose a cat. 

In the process of deciding what pet for which they would be campaigning, I asked them why they like that pet. Each one made a list of pros for their favorite pet. 

During the discussion about the campaign process, my 8 year old says, “Can’t I just tell them that if they don’t vote for me, they will lose their license?” I guess that is a decent thought process. 

Truth be told, coming from a child who loses toys, and is grounded from his favorite activities when he does something that he shouldn’t, this thought makes perfect sense. This then led to an explanation of the difference in democracy and dictatorship.

As we prepared for campaign videos, I asked each child to tell why other people should choose their pet as the best. Each child was to sit in a large office chair, hold a sign and tell the world why they should vote for their pet. 

My youngest son decided to go first. His campaign was simple and straight to the point. He started by saying they are cuddly. After a little assistance, he added to his campaign that they are fuzzy, come in lots of colors and are easy to care for. 

In listening to each of my children creating their campaign videos, I thought about how much simpler the election process would be if the presidential campaigns (and all the others) were this straight to the point.

Today, as I sit watching our Best Pet Polls and I wait for a good overall quota, each child has entered my office several times, each time wanting to know where the numbers are now. 

Each child wants to know how far ahead their adversary is. Each child wants to know who will win. 

After numerous explanations about how it does not matter which one wins, I can relate to their impatience as I wonder what the future holds and which candidate will be elected.