With the 2020 presidential election in the US quickly approaching, many parents are wondering what is the best way to teach their kids about voting and elections. Tweens and teens are old enough to learn about the issues and the process of the 2020 election.
Unfortunately, being old enough does not go hand-in-hand with having an educated opinion. Understanding politics and issues has become sooooo sticky and tricky in the modern era! Tiktok, YouTube, and other social media are inundating our kids with opinions and “facts,” many of which are biased, oversimplified, or just plain wrong.
It can be very hard for parents to figure out how to intelligently present their teens and tweens with information about politics, civics, and voting.
Like usual, I’ve been spending tons of time researching this, and I’m here with some suggestions! Whether you are homeschooling your teens or you just want to have some intelligent family conversations, I’ve got your back.
As I see it, there are two main things that you need to help your kids with. First, you need to help them cut through the firehose of information and find useful facts. Second, you need to make sure they understand how the government and elections work.
So let’s tackle it!
Information on the Candidates and Issues
I think it’s a good idea to teach kids how to find out the platforms of each party so that they can hear “straight from the horse’s mouth” what each political party stands for. Here are links to the current platforms so you can see what the parties have to say on the issues:
Now, reading those can take a long time. It will be helpful to know how to find a more condensed version. However, you want to be careful to find something that is reliable and unbiased.
You also can go directly to the candidates’ official webpages and YouTube channels. Unfortunately, both are filled with a lot of negativity this time around. I tried reading them with my kids and frankly, it was depressing. But here are the links if you want to give it a try:
Gone are the days when you can trust the mainstream media to tell you what’s really going on. Most Americans think of Fox News as being biased towards the right. But not all Americans realize that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, and NPR (PBS) are all biased towards the left. It is very challenging to find the truth on any political story…which nowadays seems to be ANY story.
One way to handle it is to get your news from both sides and do the critical thinking on your own. We need to teach our kids to do that! And if you have time to do that on your own, bravo!
Here are some sources for you that you may not know about:
Student News Daily
Student News Daily is my new favorite source! They offer their info for free, and they have thorough information on the 2020 Presidential Election for teens and tweens. You can download worksheets to do with your kids if you find that helpful. I was also happy to see that they have an unbiased explanation of the differences between conservatives and liberals. So helpful!
I’ve also heard good things about SmartHer News. It is run by Jenna Lee Babin, who is aiming to create a modern, unbiased take on the news, especially for the modern woman. Check it out and see what you think about SmartHer.
Allsides attempts to bring you snippets of how the right, left, and center view various news stories. It could a good resource for teaching critical thinking. And another source for that is…
The Flip Side
The Flip Side is a website that covers a political issue each day and then gives quotes from both left-leaning and right-leaning sources. It might be very useful for teaching your kids to spot bias and think critically. You can sign up to get their news sent to you each day.
If you are homeschooling, or just concerned that this isn’t being covered well enough in your teen’s school, I have found some good sources for curriculum so you can teach your kids lessons about civics, government, voting, and the 2020 election.
Silverdale Press Presidential Election Unit Study 2020
This one is one of the best and most thorough choices that I’ve found. I purchased it to use with my own 10th-grade son. The Silverdale Press Presidential Election Study 2020 is a self-contained unit, meaning that you don’t need to buy and books or anything to use it. It’s written by and is intended for grades 6-12. It has a ton of information and could easily fill hours and hours of your social studies time.
I think this unit is pretty advanced. I’m not sure most middle schoolers would be able to keep up. It has links to lots of videos and articles to help you and your teen understand how the presidential election works.
Coolest of all, you can download the first of eight lessons for free! If you decide to purchase it, it is a digital download so you will have it instantly. The price is $29.
Presidential Election 2020 and 3 Branches of Government Bundle by Tied 2 Teaching
I have found many great resources on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. Tied 2 Teaching has some really good teaching tools. The Presidential Election 2020 and 3 Branches of Government Bundle is perfect for tweens, and is only $7.00!
For your $7.00, you get a digital download of 200+ pages of information and teaching tools. Tied 2 Teaching lists this as a resource for grades 3-5, but I think many middle schoolers would also find it interesting. There are information sheets included so that you can use it as a self-contained unit if you like. There are lots of activities and graphic organizers. If you like to do notebooking or interactive notebooks, this will be a helpful resource for you.
This bundle includes both current information for the 2020 Presidential election, with specific information about Biden and Trump, as well as materials to give your kids a good foundation on civics and government.
2020 Election Day & Electoral Process by Kiki’s Classroom
This is another unit that is available for sale on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. The 2020 Election Day & Electoral Process by Kiki’s classroom is recommended for 3rd-6th grade and costs $6.00 for a digital download that includes 41 pages.
It contains printables, graphic organizers, and information pages about how presidential elections work. It does not contain any info about the 2020 candidates.
Hands-On History US Elections Lap-Pak
Have you ever done a lap book with your kids? This engaging hands-on style of teaching and learning is great for kinesthetic learners – kids who learn better when they do something hands-on. Homeschool in the Woods has a Hands On History US Elections Lap-Pak for $18.95. If you have a family with a variety of different-aged children, this might be perfect for you.
It’s suggested for grades 3-8 and teaches about the basics of US government as well as how we elect a president. It is also a digital download, so you’ll have it instantly.
Sonlight Election Day Unit Study
This free downloadable unit study from Sonlight is 40+ pages of activities to teach your tweens about how the US government and elections work. The website says that it is for ages 8-12. Sonlight is a Christian literature-based curriculum company for homeschoolers.
Bookshark Constitution Study
Bookshark is another popular homeschool curriculum company, and they have a free two-week unit study for you to teach your kids about the constitution. I haven’t examined this one, but if you are interested in getting your kids educated about civics and government, check it out!
I hope you find some of my suggestions to be helpful! Please comment below and let me know of any others you’ve found! If you found this helpful, please pin and share!