So what constitutes a course in "Good citizenship"? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-15-2006, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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In Texas, homeschoolers are required to teach Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar, Math, and Good Citizenship.

So what, exactly, constitutes a course in good citizenship? Are we actually expected to feed our kids the ridiculous "texas history" tripe they do in schools? Do we have to say the Pledge or something?

I realize there's no tracking, it just strikes me as an odd requirement when the others are so basic, and leaves room for some philosophical discourse.

So please, philosophize.

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#2 of 12 Old 05-15-2006, 10:35 PM
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IMHO, good citizenship is not something you learn in a class. It's something you learn from living it. My "Good Citizenship Course," were I required to teach one, would consist of 1) discussing what "good citizens" do and 2) doing it. For older kids I would take them to see local government in action and encourage their participation in local politics as their "civics" course.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-15-2006, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Ravin
So what, exactly, constitutes a course in good citizenship?
That strikes me as one of those things that's best unschooled - returning library books on time and in the same condition as when you got them, throwing trash in the proper receptacles, recycling, being conscious of energy use, being courteous and thoughtful of neighbors and their boundaries, modeling safe and courteous driving, voting, helping the less fortunate, being informed and getting involved in community or wider concerns...all that kinda' stuff... - Lillian
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#4 of 12 Old 05-15-2006, 10:43 PM
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I am LOL because I was thinking the same thing the other day. We are in Texas also and I have long wondered what they mean by a course in good citizenship. With our state election year here I was thinking of having the kids and I volunteer at our party head quarters a couple times a month. My grandmother told me once that she never learned so much as when she worked on a campain.
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#5 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 01:46 AM
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heck how about real life? How we should treat others, what our role is society is, and consequences of not being a good citizen. To me this is all a natural part of growing up.

Oh and since you are in Texas, you can don't have to do it like the schools. Texas hs laws are one of the best in the U.S.(Alaska being better-some say)
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#6 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 01:50 AM
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If you are religious you could say that your religious teachings cover that requirement, because most religions teach people right from wrong.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#7 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 10:12 AM
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We don't have a course like that required, but I agree with pp's. Both my kids are so fascinated by "citizenship" events like elections or our recent mandatory census... as well as taxes of all kinds.

One useful thing I got from dd1's school curriculum this year might be discussing LEVELS of government. It might not be immediately obvious to kids, but it's worth pointing out which things are the responsiblity of municipal, state and federal governments.

ie, military = federal; roads, garbage = municipal; parks, education = state (or whatever)

This can also be helpful later on in decoding the justice system - certain offenses are municipal (ie parking, littering), others belong to various higher-level courts.


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#8 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 12:44 PM
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We are also in Texas and I am just going to use the stuff that he learns in cub scouts as my basis. I know a lot of people here might not agree with scouts on issues, but their books cover a lot things I consider to be good citizenship. Two birds with one stone kinda thing.
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#9 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 05:59 PM
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I am not really there yet, my dd is not 4 yet, but I plan to include church in my teaching of this. And modeling correct behaviour.Such as recycling, being courteous to neighbors, following laws, using public resources and such in a polite/respectful manner to name a few. And just teaching her about being a great person in general.
I think it is very important in terms of teaching ideals and right and wrong. because as a community the choices we make affect others as well as ourselves.
Also, i would include them in the voting process adn teach them about it all. And teach them that what they believe/feel/ think about what goes on in your comunity matters.

Due with number 5 in August. We do all that crunchy stuff.
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#10 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 06:31 PM
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There are a lot of citizenship things you can get from PBS' website. Some site sent me a DVD and activity book for free called "The American Promise." You could google that and ask for a copy.

We're Christian, so I'm planning to count religious studies as part of this, along with local and American history.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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#11 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 06:47 PM
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It sounds like it could be fun! So many neat ideas from previous posters - volunteering for an election sounds great.

I'd also suggest things like visiting the legislature, paying attention to and looking behind current events, planting a tree, etc etc. What about learning more about the current uproar around the role of illegal immigrants in the US - what does that say about what 'good citizenship' is, in a country built on immigration? So much cool stuff you could do, all so much more interesting than a generics civics course.
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#12 of 12 Old 05-16-2006, 09:07 PM
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We've done a bunch of things that would count toward a citizenship *credit* over the years.

Joined H.E.A.R.T.S.
Attended the local animal shelters kitten shower and donated food (three years running!) as well as adopting animals.
Donated to the local soup kitchen.
I have coached for the local youth league and DD will assistant coach this year (it's volunteer and actually end up costing you money ).
Bringing outgrown clothing to local agency to redistribute
Offering to go through donated car-seats for the developmental preschool to weed out expired and recalled seats (found 12 )

This isn't something I'd worry about getting curriculum for, just living and doing would cover it I'd think.
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