The First Steps to Understanding American Government
For homeschools, American government instruction starts early with everyday experiences. Do not shy away from teaching young children to love their nation as it helps set their aspirations for the future. Songs can help teach the ideals and principles that our government is based on such as faith, families, hard work and independence. Songs are a great way to start teaching young children. Patriotic songs such as My Country Tis of Thee, The Star Spangled Banner and America, The Beautiful teach children to think about their national identity. The vivid imagery of blue skies, purple mountains, rivers and seas will help children understand the variety and size of the nation.
Point out the rules that give your favorite game its structure. Talk about how rules are like laws in a community and give us structure and order. Try playing a game without any rules and talk about what our communities and families would be like without any rules. When you see a police officer, talk about his job as the enforcer of the laws of our community and how that keeps families safe.
Geography studies teach that the Unites States has 50 states each with its own capital. Don’t forget to point out that each state also has smaller counties and cities with their own capitals, too. Then take your child on a tour of local government buildings.
At your library, you can search for books on American government topics like the Constitution, the legislature, judicial and executive branches, and elections. They have many books at different reading levels that you can share with your young children to reinforce the ideas you have been explaining to them. Of course, with young children repetition is needed and loved.