Thursday, October 30, 2008


Training Young Voters

Last week, The Wife decided that it was time to teach The Boy and The Girl about voting.

She converted a spent box of Puffs into a ballot box, and decorated it accordingly. Now we have occasional referenda, complete with preliminary speeches and secret ballots.

On Sunday, we had a discussion about what kind of face to put on this year's jack o'lantern: happy or scary.

TB gave a talk on behalf of 'scary.' I gave one on behalf of 'happy.' All four of us voted, TG getting a little help with her ballot, and 'scary' won, 3 to 1.

TW asked TG why we went with scary. TG replied "because more people voted for scary." I beamed.

I won't give them the electoral college version of the game until they're older. The electoral college frightens small children, who know a monster when they see one.

Now we're looking for good questions for voting. (And we're already decided that "what do we want for dinner" is too pedestrian.) Wise and worldly readers -- any thoughts?

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Cool idea DD! We did a similar thing when I was a kid. My mom always collected the spare change from the laundry in a bank and then around the holidays we'd vote on where to send the money (for example: humane society vs. local food pantry).
What to do on the annual family holiday!

The charity idea is also good, or where to volunteer as a family.
Nice idea. You could also vote on where to go on the weekend/what to do. Pick apples, or go to the aquarium? Of course, if you keep voting on things, at some point you'll have to develop and justify tie-breaking rules...
I was going to suggest the weekend activity. Perhaps which movie to rent for Friday night... which bedtime chapter book to start next... which candy to give out for Halloween....

While this is a great idea for teaching about voting, do you do anything else to teach ideas about the various "equitable and fair" ways to divide/decide things? I'm thinking something similar to Deborah Stone's Policy Paradox example of asking the students to divide up a chocolate cake in class but on an elementary school level.
I like the idea. What about voting on what to do in the evening--read a story together or play a board game, for instance?
You could let them vote on how big their allowances should be, which would then segue nicely into an explanation of veto power.
Have them vote on whether Mommy and Daddy make them a new little sister/brother.
the idea of charity was really good.
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