Author and historian Christine Miller shares the books and resources she would use to teach her children about elections, as well as hints on incorporating the resources into a homeschooling routine.
Written by Christine Miller from A Little Perspective. Please note that this page contains affiliate links.
Instructions on how to apply this list of books to your learning will be at the end of the post.
If I were still homeschooling my children today, I would use these living books to introduce elections and American politics to my children.
These books teach the mechanics of an American election, as well as the citizen’s role in selecting our government representatives through voting.
In different ways, each one of these books goes into greater depth on the event of an American election and our representative form of government. For Which We Stand is a civics primer. The Constitution Decoded introduces the text of the Constitution and what it means (not what it should mean, which is an important distinction). We Elect a President is a children’s introduction to the wisdom of America’s founders in establishing the Electoral College.
As a side note, these books are also vital for this age:
This is a history of the presidential elections, starting at the very first one. A thorough knowledge of where we have been can potentially prevent many disastrous mistakes in the future.
It is vital for every citizen to read and understand these short documents for themselves. If you can read the Bible, you can read these and understand them. If your teens get stuck going through them themselves, use The Constitution Decoded to help.
This is not a book about elections; rather it is a book about the history of human liberty and America’s role in that history. A reverence for human liberty — which is based on the commandments of the Torah in the Bible (as the author explains) — is important to instill in our children as they grow into adulthood.
Another side note of good and important books for this age:
American exceptionalism. Our country is a shining city on a hill as far as human government goes. Why? Acclaimed historian Dinesh D’Souza reminds us with his unique perspective as an immigrant.
The Founder’s wisdom for adults. Since the clamoring to abolish the Electoral College is loud right now, this book is full of key knowledge for every U.S. citizen and voter.
Why include this book? It is a history of pivotal Supreme Court decisions and is the surface vehicle expounding a foundational truth: EVERY VOTE MATTERS. ONE VOTE – YOUR VOTE – MATTERS.
And once more, a book series that’s important for this age:
Uncle Eric’s How the World Works series by Richard J. Maybury
After presenting a list like this, let me just reassure you, homeschooling parent: you do not need a teacher’s manual to teach these books. Instead, here’s what you do:
When your children are in Grades 1-3, read the books listed aloud to them — ideally with as many of your children on your lap or snuggled next to you as you can manage — and answer their questions. When they are beginning to read on their own, let them practice on these books.
When your children are in Grades 4-6, read the books listed aloud to them as a family. Discuss your thoughts and answer their questions. While reading, take note of sections that could be used for copywork and dictation material. Which sections, you may ask? Whichever sections touched your heart or enlightened your mind. It really is that simple.
When your children are in Grades 7-9, read the books listed aloud to them as a family. Discuss and answer questions. Together, formulate a single topic sentence to describe and explain each book. From that sentence, have them write a single paragraph* summarizing the topic and its supporting points. Do this as a team in 7th grade, and by 9th grade they should be able to do this on their own.
(*Or a single page. You as the parent can choose.)
When your children are in Grades 10-12, read the books listed aloud as a family. Discuss, and go down any bunny trails as you do. Do more independent research in an area brought up in the reading. Go to the bibliography and dig into sources. Write a paper presenting a clarification or auxiliary point gleaned from the book. Do this as a team in 10th grade, and by 12th grade they should be able to do this on their own.
If a child graduates having done the above, he will have learned more than most college graduates, who, through the use of textbooks and professor indoctrination, leave university cognitively rigid instead of proficient in the power of their mind.