TeenPact One Day

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For the third year in a row, we headed to Nashville for TeenPact One Day. This year, we managed to book a room next door to the Snodgrass Tower where the class was held. We just walked over, after making arrangements to leave our car parked at the hotel until that afternoon. So, so convenient. As soon as we know the date for 2019, we will book our room again at the Capitol Hotel Downtown Nashville.

TeenPact One Day

Signing each other’s Box Game

TeenPact is a four-day workshop for teens ages 13-19, teaching them how a bill becomes a law and many other details about our government. TeenPact One Day is the same workshop adapted for children ages 8-12 and it only takes place over one day. To be precise, between the hours of 10am and 4pm, with a lunch break. Continue reading »

TeenPact also has the tag “leadership school” because it trains the children how to shake hands, have eye contact, the mechanics of public speaking, making friends, and how to be a leader and influence people.

There is homework you download from the TeenPact website. Although not graded, the homework prepares your children for the day. It also gives parents and opportunity for conversations on topics that might not otherwise come up.

State House of Representatives

State House of Representatives

This year, we talked to our children about Roe v. Wade, for instance. My favorite part of it, of course, is vocabulary. They learn political terms: candidate, campaign manager, grassroots coordinator, legislative, executive, judicial, capitol, bill, lobbyist, corporate etc.

Our youngest attended TeenPact One Day for the first time this year and she loved it. She says she already looks forward to next year.

The day opens with an icebreaker called the Box Game. The students receive booklets and one of the pages contains boxes with things that might apply to them, e.g. “I have blue eyes.” They are to sign each other’s Box Game in one box and move around the room to get all the boxes signed.

State Senate

State Senate

Then, there is a 15-minute worship service followed by the Sword Drill. This is a game my son loves. The Bible becomes a sword and they are to look things up in it as they are told.

There is a skit about how a bill becomes a law – everybody’s favorite. Then we walk to the Capitol building for a tour and scavenger hunt. Lunch is followed by more workshops on government.

Returning students have a different track every year. The first-time students remain in the same classroom and are guided through the mechanics of public speaking. Returning students go into smaller classrooms and discuss different terminology.

As citizens of this country, we choose to vote in every election and stay informed about the political issues of the day. We believe it is important for our children to be trained in such matters.

Adventure Science Center in Nashville

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When we went to Nashville recently for TeenPact One Day, we also spent some time at the Adventure Science Center. That place is so big, your child could spend hours in there and not get bored. In the process, your child would be learning all sorts of science concepts hands-on.

Boy and girl play at Adventure Science Center

Sending parachutes up to be released

One can, for instance, lift a car with the help of a lever and fulcrum. The famous Aristotelian quote is written right on the lever: “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” Continue reading »

There is a piano you can play with your feet and an organ you play by covering holes with large cylinders. If your children are over 45 lbs, they can experience Moon’s gravity in a harness and try to moon walk. My son kept talking about the experience weeks after he did it, even though he did not master the squatting. Apparently, one must squat as soon as your feet touch the ground.

Upstairs, there is a large hall about the human body. You learn about the different parts of the brain by actually walking into a brain. They have a grossology game which is exactly what it sounds like. They ask you questions on a screen about the excretory function and you get to answer by pushing buttons, against three other contestants, or alone, if you prefer. Children love the topic, of course.

Adventure Science Center in Nashville

Body heat screen reacts to their movements

They also have a large water table to demonstrate the flow of blood in and out of the heart. Children can manipulate small gates to close and open different paths for the water. Of course, they make up their own games and forget all about the circulatory system. They are having fun and moving about and learning a little bit about the four chambers of the heart though.

In the planetarium, we were able to catch a documentary about solar eclipses, produced right there in Nashville. It was so fascinating, I was sorry I fell asleep ten minutes into it, but I suppose I am more tired than I think I am. At least I know the children enjoyed it very much.

If you are a teacher, you get into the Adventure Science Center for free. Just make sure you bring your homeschool educator ID if you have one from your local support group.

TeenPact One Day Class

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For the second year in a row, we traveled to Nashville for TeenPact One Day. This is a seminar for homeschoolers ages 8-12 during which they learn about government, civics, politics, how bills become laws, and how they can help a political campaign even before they have the right to vote. They also get to tour the Capitol and see where the State Senate and House of Representatives meet.

Mom and son in front of the Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville.

Mom and son in front of the Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville.

They learn a lot of history in the process, too. The staircase inside the Capitol bears bullet marks since the Civil War. Busts of Andrew Jackson and Sequoia along with paintings of former governors beg to be noticed. It would be impossible not to learn at least a little something about history in this place. Continue reading »

Last but not least, homeschooled children get to interact in a group setting and make friends. During the Capitol tour, which happens right before lunch, my son and another little boy from Knoxville struck up a conversation and then decided they should sit together for lunch.

TeenPact One Day

My son gives his speech as his campaign staff hold signs behind him.

Lunch happens in the cafeteria, as there is not enough time to leave the premises. You either place your order ahead or you wing it with the options they have. Even for a vegetarian, I found their buffet to be great and, at $5, it does not break the bank.

Tennessee State Senate

Looking onto the Senate hall

The staffers in the classroom are teenagers from all over the nation. This year, my son’s class leaders hailed from Alaska, Nevada, Tennessee, and Florida. The cost is only $35 and the seminar lasts from 10am until 4pm.

TeenPact One Day

Tired at the end of the day, but proud of his certificate

Once your child reaches age 13, the option is to take the full TeenPact program which lasts Monday-Thursday, the same week as the One Day program, which happens on a Friday.

We recommend the experience to all families who have conservative values and want to raise a child interested in government and politics. Our son thoroughly enjoys it and our daughter looks forward to being old enough to attend.

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.