TeenPact One Day

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I wrote here back in November about signing up for TeenPact One Day. Well, the day came when we had to pack for Nashville and head that way. We decided to go there the night before, because Nashville is four hours away from our home. The program started at 10am and it would have been very difficult to leave the house around 5am to give ourselves time for stopping and breakfast etc.

Our daughter at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville

Our daughter at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville

Teen Pact One Day is a six-hour program for children ages 8-12 which happens at the Capitol building. They have them all over the US and you should locate your state on the map and see about the dates for your state.  Continue reading »

All the kids are homeschoolers, incidentally. The staff is mainly teenagers, but, of course, they have adult staff as well.

Magic School Bus at Adventure Science Center

The only school bus my daughter will ever get on, I hope

The teenage staffers are amazing in so many ways: attire, attitude, knowledge, kindness, professionalism, love for God and love for country. I felt like I was on the set of The West Wing not in terms of policy making (these kiddos are conservative, at the opposite spectrum of The West Wing staffers), but in the atmosphere created by and mannerisms of the young people. The dress code is very professional: tie, coats, button-down shirts for the men, skirts only and business coats for the girls etc.

Mother and son visiting the Capitol in Nashville

My son and I at the Tennessee State Capitol

Add to that their name tags and lanyards, a handful of papers in their hands, a perpetual smile on their faces, and their standing along the walls during the meetings, and you feel just like at a White House briefing or – as I mentioned above – on the set of The West Wing.

I went with my son, as one parent must accompany each child. My husband took our daughter to Adventure Science Center and they had a ball.

Girl looking at Nashville skyline

Checking out the Nashville skyline

My son’s schedule looked like this: introduction of staff, worship, sword drill (they looked up Bible verses about how God sets up kings and takes them down, and we are to submit to worldly authority), how the government works, prayer walk (tour of the Capitol with a scavenger hunt and a couple of places where we stopped to pray for our law makers), and lunch. After lunch, they had a seminar about public speaking and one about how a bill becomes a law. At the very end, they had a brief commencement ceremony during which the children walked up front, shook everybody’s hand, and received their certificate.

Boy presents his Teen Pact One Day certificate

At the end of the day, with his certificate

My son learned a lot. I did, too. His bill was approved by the mock session of the House of Representatives. Part of his homework was to write to his State Senator (Doug Overbey) and Congressman (Dale Carr) to let them know he is praying for them and to thank them for their service. Senator Overbey has already answered my son, thanking him for his letter and for the kind words.

There would be so much to say about this, but suffice it to say that we want to go back next year and look forward to more activities of this nature with both our children in the future.

Thoughtful Thursday Week 44 – Government

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Here in the USA presidential campaigning is in full swing. One of the Republican candidates is a member of our denomination and has visited our church in Knoxville before. Of course, we would like to see him win the Republican nomination, but we are still 100 days away from the primary and anything can happen at this point.

Teaching the kids about politics, government and civics is an interesting challenge. Last summer, at a used curriculum sale in Maryville, I invested the impressive amount of $1 in a second grade Abeka textbook for history and geography. We read a few pages per week during our bedtime reading. As usual, we read books for my oldest’s level.

Thoughtful Thursday - Government

Our youngest complains at times that certain books are boring, so we alternate between books she proposes and the older books we read for our oldest. That way, she has no room to complain we do not take her wishes into consideration, while challenging her and serving the needs of our oldest.  Continue reading »

Just as I told you we would, we went to Brookdale Assisted Living in Sevierville to put a smile on the faces of the elderly who sat outside their rooms with buckets of candy. It was an event organized two days before Halloween, and I thought it would be a great idea for service. It was. Both my children enjoyed it and said they wanted to come back and play violin and piano for the residents.

Of course, the elderly were thrilled to see the kids. They asked for their names, told them they were good-looking, and interacted a bit with them. Some forgot they had just doled out candy to them, so they gave them candy twice. The elderly are so touching, I was in tears several times. Visiting hospitals and nursing homes takes a certain kind of courage and I must confess I don’t have it, but I try.

Daddy told the children he would take some of their candy. He called it “daddy tax.” They protested. He explained to them the government takes some of the money he makes at the hotel. You should have seen the kids’ faces as they struggled to take in this new concept.

Their candy was “their” candy because they “worked” for it. But daddy explained we drove them there, which takes gas and money. We bought them costumes. All this boils down to money. The kids needed to pay their “daddy tax” in candy and, thus, cover some of the expenses daddy incurred by allowing them to “conduct business.”

And thus we had a lesson in government, citizenship, and civics. Paying taxes to the government is part of life. In fact, it is such a sure part of life, we have an English expression about it: when something is inevitable, we say it is “as sure as death and taxes.” Children have no concept of money unless somebody teaches them. And paying taxes is a big part of financial concepts.

I am thankful for a husband who comes up with creative ideas as we teach our children in our homeschool.