Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Today's Civics Lesson: Voting

Today I took Monkeyman with me to the polls.  On the way there, I explained that today was Election Day and that on this day each year, everyone in our country gets to go and vote to pick their community's leaders, and also to give our opinions on the rules for how things work (issues).  I told him that when he grows up, since he loves being helpful, maybe he would like to run for office and get elected so he could help make decisions about how things are done.

We arrived and fortunately there was no wait at all.  I signed in and was given my card to put into the machine, so I handed it to Monkeyman and let him do it.  Then I pointed out each of my choices and let him select them on the screen.  Finally, I had him click "Submit Ballot".

He then returned the card to the poll worker, and received his "I <3 Voting" sticker** from her.

His reaction?  He thought the voting computers were really cool, and I know he felt special to be a kid participating in this exclusively grownup event.  I think that actually taking him to the voting booth with me and physically involving him in the process is a much more effective way of helping him learn about Election Day and how our government works than simply reading about it from a textbook.  Just another example of how real life is a simple and powerful teaching tool.  Tomorrow we will be looking up the results together to see how my choices fared.  When he's a little older, I'll involve him in the process of researching the candidates/issues and helping me choose who/what to vote for too.  What better critical-thinking exercise is there?

So - anyone else take your kids to the polls with you?  I'd love to hear about it and what the kiddos thought of the experience.

**Side note:  I personally helped choose that sticker that Monkeyman is wearing too!  After being alerted by The Friendly Atheist to the online poll that was being held at the Ohio Secretary of State's website earlier this year, I did my part in voting for this one and helping defeat the stickers with religious messages on them (how the heck is that Constitutional anyway?!?), and helped keep up that precious wall of separation between Church and State.  Made me smile to see those stickers on the table today.


  1. Good for you!!! What a wonderful lesson. Oregon doesn't have any polling places, all elections are by mail, so while my son does get to see the ballots, etc., it's kind of boring by comparison.

    I'm confused about the God thing..doesn't He have more cosmic things to worry about than elections? Oh wait...no NFL football on Tuesdays. And "With God all things are possible" is the official State of Ohio motto, after all. Well, Oregon's is "she flies with her own wings", which i believe refers to the abundance of unusual mushrooms that grow here, and their various side effects...so it could be worse?

  2. Great real life lesson. We took the kids to the polls one year and they thought it was pretty neat. Made them feel all grown up. :) I like the sticker!

  3. That's great and the sticker is awesome. I took my daughter with me as well and we took her when we voted during the last Presidential Election. She is only 5 now but we have explained to her how not every one in this country was allowed to vote at one time and that while it is my hope that every one would exercise their right to vote, that it is also well within their rights NOT to vote as well. We also discussed what happens should one not vote. I was very proud of the conversation but will be sure to review.

  4. Last election, my son and I talked about the 19th amendment as well as something that was on on the ballet. We talked about the joys of not having a king/queen and the joy of playing king/queen. Next election he wants to dress like a king and queen to go vote. ~Sigh~


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