Civics With Your Child
should kids use the site?
can use the site for several reasons. Civics Online provides students
with a large library of civics resources that they can access for
research purposes. The site can support classroom learning and allow
students to gain a deeper understanding of civics themes. This understanding
is fostered in the documents themselves as well as in the glossary
and timelines. Through the Civic Explorations students have the
opportunity to trace key Civics themes and use primary sources in
considering current events. For example, the site has a Civic Exploration
around the Elian Gonzalez case. By providing students with background
information on the case, students are given insight into the Elian
incident and encouraged to form their own opinions by relating it
back to Civics issues. The Civic Explorations helps students make
a real word connection to civics themes.
can parents support that kind of use?
can support their childs use of the student section of Civics
Online by getting involved and encouraging their child to explore
the site. Parents can also use the site to support the suggestions
from the parent involvement list. For example, a parent could use
Civics Online to research a political issue or to research a historic
place the family may visit. Parents can also help students contextulize
and understand the significance of the documents. By working with
their child on the Civics Online site, parents can help make a personal
or family connection to the documents
Kinds of Activities to do with your students that support your childs
Subscribe to age appropriate news magazines. Read and
discuss each month_s stories with your child. For Middle and
High School students, provide a good daily newspaper or weekend
2. Monitor and participate in your childs television viewing.
Watch the evening news with your child and discuss important
stories. Schedule family viewing around one of the "news
magazines" like "Sixty Minutes" or "20/20".
Check the television listings for quality historical documentaries
like "The American Experience", C-Span features, or programming
on "The History Channel". Discuss the content of
the programs. Follow up with reading projects and trips to the public
3. Plan family vacations to places of historical significance
like Washington D.C., Civil War battlefield sites, Ellis Island,
the state capitol, a state historical museum, or a local presidential
library. Provide maps and brochures; let your child plan the
4. Visit local places of government. Much can be learned
in childhood trips to the police station, firehouse, city hall,
and courthouse. Take a family local history tour of monuments,
historic buildings, and parks. The county museum is a good
place to start.
5. Use family time for story telling. Dinner table
conversation about history, great leaders, and social change can
be tied to stories about family history. Children are naturally
curious about their personal connection to things. How did
the family come to America? How did economic and social change
affect our family's history? How did war affect the family?
What political affiliations has our family had? What
was it like when you were young?
6. Share your political beliefs with your children, but remember
that education and indoctrination are different. Explain
the democratic process to them. Stress the responsibilities
of citizenship. Emphasize the ways in which differences are
settled through our constitutional system and by the rule of law.
7. Find ways to be an example of good citizenship for your children.
Volunteer for an environmental clean up campaign, take them
to a recycling center on Saturdays, participate in a fund raiser
for a local charity, take the kids with you to the polling
place when you vote, go to the Memorial Day or Veterans
Day parades with them, instruct the family on the proper ways
to display the flag, and teach your children to respect the
rights of others.
8. Encourage and support your child in entering civic writing
competitions, patriotic poster contests, and other opportunities
that support civic education and self expression.
9. Guide and participate in your child's leisure reading.
Weekly trips to the public library of local bookstore can be family
oriented fun. Children need to be exposed to historical role
models. Gifts of age appropriate biographies and historical titles
is a wonderful way to support this.
10. Encourage your child's hobbies and play activities
in the direction of civic and history education. Explore historical
web sites with them (the presidential libraries are excellent).
Visit virtual museums on line. Encourage collections
(arrowheads, political buttons, stamps, presidential postcards,
etc). Have fun with the video camera making "movies" with
historical themes and role-playing.