Some of the best ways to teach your children about government are when they witness it first-hand. These Field Trip Ideas to Teach About Local Government are a great way to get your kids interested and asking questions about how things are run in our legislative branches. By planning field trips in your city or town you can get your children truly involved in the process. This is one of the best ways to really pull them in and be able to teach about local government.
Field Trip Ideas to Teach About Local Government
Attend a naturalization event. There is truly nothing more awe inspiring than watching individuals who have chosen to move to this country for a better life become citizens. You can usually contact your local county seat and find out times and dates for naturalization events. While not always open to the public, you can ask if you are allowed to bring your child for a homeschool field trip. Sometimes you can even talk to the local naturalization coordinator so you can learn more about the process. It is fairly standard nationwide, but it can be fun to see how each county or state handles the actual event where individuals become citizens of the United States. It is an excellent way to teach your children about how lucky they are to be born in the United States, and what that freedom means to those outside our country.
Ask to interview your city mayor. The city mayor is someone who represents your local community. While his job is not a real deep government level that changes laws for you, he or she will have an impact on many things in your community. It is typically much easier to sit down and chat with them or ask for an interview to learn more about the inner workings your city. You can discuss how your city manages everything from local holidays to city street renovations or zoning laws.
Ask to interview your county prosecuting attorney. Nobody knows more about your local government, justice system, police department, or level of crime better than the prosecuting attorney. From day to day functions in court to making decisions about local laws, the prosecuting attorney sees it all. For statistics about your county, ask to visit with the prosecuting attorney or one of their staff members. It’s a great place to learn how things come together for trials, prosecution, and punishment of criminals in your local area.
Attend a morning in court for basic misdemeanor violations. Most local court houses have daily court times that cover basic misdemeanor violations like traffic tickets. You can contact your court house and find out times, as well as look at records showing which cases will be covered. Arrange a time to take your kids to watch the proceedings to understand more about what happens when they don’t obey laws on a local government level. A traffic ticket may not seem like much, but once they see someone in court being taken to jail because they didn’t pay their fine, or because they had multiple violations that proved dangerous, it will change their concept of those “silly” rules.
Setting up field trips around town to teach about local government can be a great way to spend boring weekday mornings in the summer. Not only is it educational, it can be sobering for your children to understand the reasons people make choices and why certain laws are enforced. Visiting and seeing the justice system at work will give them a new found respect for authority. It can also inspire them to learn more and eventually work to make changes in government themselves.