During that time I shared some resources we found on my blog post Learning about Politics and Government. I think the best one was the Kids.gov - How to Become President Poster (which is free) because it allowed Gess to follow along as these events happened in real time.
Gess remembers the day I caucused and when that was all over and we lost. We then followed the conventions and the last 3 debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. By this time Gess was more interested in the process. We made a breakthrough though. After the Vice Presidential debate Gesserine's newsfeed Dogo News led her to a cute video where they songified it. (They songified the others as well, but this was the most kid appropriate one.) Gess loves this video and still watches it, in fact she was just watching it (and singing along) yesterday. The tune is very catchy. After becoming fond of this she began to be more interested in the actual debates. The next debate we watched she recognized it for what it was and she even sat down and watched part of it.
The final step in the process was the actual vote. To teach Gess how this worked we enrolled her in the Kids Voting USA program where she actually got to vote at the polls on election day. As homeschoolers you have to sort of seek this information out. We are blessed with a Christian school connection that gets the information to us once it is shared with that school. However you can check on the website to find the link to your state and hopefully contact someone that will get you the information you need to get involved.
Kids Voting USA makes you register ahead of time. This isn't about voting for fun, it's about learning how the process works and in America you have to be registered ahead of the actual election. So, we ran down to the office of the person heading it up and she had Gess sign her name. She then gave her a map of our areas voting districts and showed her where her polling place was located on the map.
Then on election day she did like the rest of us (minus the voter ID), got in line, gave her name, received her ballot, entered her "booth" and cast her vote. She was very excited. I wanted to get a picture inside but I had left my phone in the car and my husband was actually casting his ballot so I have no photo. However, daddy did take a picture of the two of us outside wearing our "I voted" and "Kids Voting" stickers.
I asked her who she voted for and she said she voted for Mitt Romney because "Barack Obama has bad policies." One of those policies is on abortion. When I explained what that was Gess yelled "ouch!" Ouch indeed, and very sad. Of course that wasn't the only policy she learned about. Now that our votes were cast we hunkered down to watch the results coming in. Here it was shortly before the election was called for Obama. While we were watching it on the TV we had our laptop exploring the maps of the various states. Here she is as we were keeping an eye on Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.
I tell you Gess has really struggled with being a good sport and when they announced Obama won she was not happy. She kept saying, "no" and pointing to Romney's picture on the map. I mean after all, that's who she voted for! She got a lesson in losing but also in respect. We then prayed for our president and our country and she calmed down and went to bed. However she was suffering from a cold and was up for quite awhile with a really bad cough. Thankfully that improved the next day! I have my own personal 2012 Election Results Analysis and posted those thoughts on Facebook. Read them if you choose. We are now following up by learning about the electoral college process.
One thing I really tried to do during this election cycle is teach respect. I have many friends that are not conservative and I do love and respect them. I tried to make sure all my political posts were positive and issues oriented. I avoided personal attacks and really stressed to Gess that people had a right to vote for who they wanted to and that doing so didn't change anything about their intelligence, character or value. When we were at the polling place I also talked to her about the importance of privacy when you voted and the "no electioneering" policy. You must never feel coerced or pressured to vote for someone you don't want to and should always respect the right of persons to disagree with you. Of course she also learned that once the winner is announced they become the President of everyone and you should respect that. So this four years I will do as I did the last four years and speak about Obama as our President in a positive way to her. I will of course tell her when I do not like his policies and how they are affecting us, but whenever he speaks or does something I am sure to get her excited about the fact that he is our President!