We are lucky to live in a nation where freedom and justice for all prevails. We as parents/teachers are the ones to teach our children the importance of patriotism. How much does your child know about the United States? When we understand our country’s history and events, we respect each other more and feel like we all belong to America. So put on your patriotic hat and present fun ways to teach children the love of the red, white and blue. Here are a few examples to try.
Talk About Your Roots
Unless your family is Native American, we all came from somewhere else. Take out a world map and show the kids where your ancestors originally came from. Discuss why your family decided to come to America. It’s fun to trace the family’s roots and how they embarked to this country and settled here. Get the grandparents involved in this discussion and the kids can interview them about what they did in this country long before your children were born.
Explore History Through Media and Famous Places
Fascinating events have taken place all over the United States from pioneers moving west, to battles, then marches for civil rights and equality to 9/11 and the war on terrorism that haunts us to this day. Have you thought of taking the family on a historical vacation? My husband is so intrigued by the Civil War that we took our children on a trip to Georgia one year and visited battlegrounds, historical museums, the Little White House where former President Roosevelt spent time, and cemeteries where many soldiers were laid to rest. Standing on a place where people died for our freedom made my children realize what the soldiers went through and why.
Let the children use the Internet to find sites that explain history and show photos.
Then scour the library for some interesting books, both non-fiction and fiction, to entertain and present events to the kids to captivate them into history. There are so many books to choose from, for examples, Christopher Columbus and his voyages, the Pilgrims, the American Revolution, famous men in history and on and on. Think about children’s holiday books to explain to little learners why we celebrate the Fourth of July and our country’s birthday. Take time to discuss the meaning behind these stories, especially for the younger children who are just beginning to learn about our country and may not understand all the vocabulary.
Plan an All-American Video Night
Many libraries have videos to lend along with streaming companies that host a large variety of history films to view. Classic films like “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with James Cagney in 1942 or “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” where James Stewart plays a famous and idealistic congressman show the importance of patriotism to the kids. “Paul Revere: Midnight Ride” is great for middle-aged kids. Or for the very young, there is “This is America, Charlie Brown” or “All Aboard America.” The list is endless so investigate titles. Grab a bowl of popcorn and spend a quality night together learning about patriotic events.
Get Involved With All Holidays
There’s more to patriotism that just celebrating July 4th; how about teaching the kids about the significance of Flag Day, Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day? Catch all the local parades, talk to veterans, and even take your kids with you when you vote. Get the children involved by reading stories about these events and don’t forget about making crafts. What child doesn’t enjoy making a patriotic craft using our country’s colors of red, white and blue?
Create a Mural Together
Bring out the artistic side of your celebrants by setting out colored chalk and inviting them to draw a Fourth of July sidewalk mural. Get all the children involved. They might try their hand at a colorful fireworks display, or as a team, create a giant American flag. If you have a sunny dry July, your sidewalk show of patriotism could keep the spirit of the Fourth alive for weeks. If a quick cleanup is necessary—a little soap and the garden hose will do the job.
Make Patriotic Suncatchers
To make cute window hangings, invite your kids to brush liquid starch on a clear plastic plate (clear lids from large coffee cans work well too). Provide them with a variety of red, white and blue tissue paper, pieces of crepe paper streamers, stars, sequins, and glitter. The starch soaks through the thin pieces and adheres these to the plate. Brush on a second coat to keep things in place. Let dry thoroughly, punch a hole at the top and hang in a sunny place with a ribbon loop.
We as adults sometimes take our everyday freedoms for granted. This year, make the importance of patriotism an essential part of your homeschooling lessons. Be proud to be an American and let your children follow in your footsteps!
Personal experience as an educator and parent