Archive for the ‘History’ Category

How a Bill Becomes a Law

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

how-a-bill-becomes-a-law

Today we will dramatize how a bill becomes a law. We are studying Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass, and this is the second post in our high school government series. We are having so much fun as we re-enact many essential concepts about government. This book has helped me (as a parent) understand government better than I’ve ever understood it before.

So without further ado, here is our second government video…

How a Bill Becomes a Law (Video Demonstration)

Costumes and Props in the Skit

My daughter dressed up as a bill. We used poster board and wrote the word “bill” on it. We also gave her a three-cornered hat just for character. We had a congress and a president. The congress sat on chairs and held up Facebook likes (or un-likes) to represent their votes for or against the bill. The president was dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland (no insult intended to our current president…)

voting-in-congress

This is How a Bill Becomes a Law:

  1. A bill originates in the House of Representatives or the Senate. One of the members takes his proposed bill and gives it to the clerk. The clerk assigns it a number and sends it to the proper committee.
  2. The committee deliberates on the bill and proposes amendments to it, and if the committee approves, it is sent back to the House of Representatives.
  3. If the bill passes the House, it goes to the Senate. If it passes the Senate, it is sent to the President.
  4. The President can then either veto or sign it. If he vetoes it, the bill goes back to the House and the Senate. Only if the bill gets a two-thirds majority in both houses will the veto be overridden. Then it becomes a law anyways.
  5. Or if the President signs a bill, then it becomes a law.

president-vetoes-bill

I hope you enjoyed our demonstration of how a bill becomes a law. Stay tuned for next week’s post: Preamble to the Constitution!

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Types of Government

Monday, March 27th, 2017

types-of-government

Today we are going to learn about the types of government. We are starting a new video series on high school government, using Exploring Government by Ray Notgrass. I was looking for a government program to teach my homeschooled high school kids, since it’s a mandatory class for graduation. I saw this Christian government textbook when I was at a conference in Ohio last year. It had colorful pictures and understandable text, similar to Apologia high school textbooks that are written in a more conversational style than the usual boring, hard-to-read, and impossible to understand textbooks on these subjects.

After watching the fun videos my kids perform for this course, you will laugh when you find out I was dreading to teach government. That’s why I was thrilled when I saw this book, held it in my hands, and read some of it. I also got to meet the author of the book and his wife. While we were in a keynote session, he reached over and held his wife’s hand during the prayer, which I thought was sweet. When he won a door prize, he danced a jig, which I found entertaining. You can see the love of Christ shining out of their faces.

The links in this series of blog posts are not affiliate links. Please buy the book from their website to bless their family the most!

Now onto the first video of the series…

Types of Government Video Demonstration

The first form of government is a dictatorship, where one person rules and has absolute authority. The North Korean government is an example of a dictatorship. In the video, you will see someone dressed as a dictator, forcing people to labor because they have no choice about it.

Next we have an oligarchy, where a small group of people hold sovereignty. The former Soviet Union had an oligarchy. Here we had several people in gray wigs, governing over the people by sitting in a meeting, conversing together.

Next is a monarchy, where a king or queen, who holds the throne by hereditary rights, rules. There are two kinds of monarchies: absolute and constitutional. Absolute monarchies are similar to dictatorships, but the leader is royalty. Constitutional monarchies have monarchs, but they are under the law. There are very few absolute monarchies now, but throughout history, this has been the most prevalent government type.

For the absolute monarchy, we had the queen of hearts give a signal, “Off with his head!” For the constitutional monarchy, we had the “law” appear above the queen’s head. We thought it was appropriate to dress up as the Alice in Wonderland deck of cards, to add whimsy to the video. (The cards were left over from a year where our whole family dressed up as a deck of cards for Harvest Festival.)

monarchy-type-of-government

The next and most common form of government is a republic. This also has two kinds, presidential and parliamentary. Presidential republics have the people vote directly or indirectly for a president who is not part of the elected national assembly. Parliamentary republics, on the other hand, have the chief executive be part of the national assembly. When one party wins a majority of seats, their leader becomes prime minister, or chief executive.

When we acted this out, we had a mob of people crowding around Abraham Lincoln to make him president by direct vote by giving him the sunglasses. Oh, yes, in case you didn’t notice in this entire video, the people in power are wearing the sunglasses.

For the parliamentary government, you have a vote in parliament, and the group with the most votes chooses a person to be prime minister, and that person (of course) gets the sunglasses.

Lastly, we have a true democracy, where all the people gather together to make, remove, and amend laws. No modern country is truly democratic, mostly just republic. All the people put on sunglasses.

We also added anarchy, which is no government at all. You will have to watch the video to find out what happens when you have anarchy.

types-of-governance

I hope you liked our first video in the Exploring Government series. Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we dramatize how a bill becomes a law!

Mound Cutaway with Strata

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

mound-cutaway-with-strata

When studying ancient history, you can start by having your kids draw a mound cutaway with strata. Talk about archaeology, and how each layer represents different periods of time that you can excavate to discover the artifacts or items that were used in each culture. Usually the older civilizations are on the bottom, with the newer civilizations on top.

Of course, floods and volcanic eruptions mess up this theory because lots of layers are laid down pretty fast, and all during the same time period. Answers in Genesis has found modern items in the lower levels of dirt.

Each of my kids created a drawing of a mound cutaway with strata:

geologic column

As you can see, there are fossils of various kinds in the different layers. There are also remnants of houses, pottery, jewelry, and weapons. My son drew a tree and some bushes at the top of the picture.

mound-cutaway

This cutaway is more of a mound. Dirt is at the top, so you wouldn’t notice that there were hidden civilizations under your feet. Seashells are found in various layers, along with fossils and bones. A dinosaur head is down in the oldest layer.

strata

These strata layers of rock are comical. The third layer from the bottom contains a man being chased by a dinosaur. Apparently a flood or volcanic eruption buried them rapidly so they are caught in the act. Once again, in a higher level of rocks, a man is throwing an object at another man, and somehow the flood waters buried both of them at the same time, freezing their actions for all eternity. An unfinished building is in one of the layers, along with buried pirate treasure.

elementary-geologic-column

My daughter drew some fun layers of strata that included bones, coins, pottery, jewelry, and weapons. She highlighted some of the archaeological finds by drawing enlarged pictures and gluing them to the black card stock paper for her history notebook.

The kids had fun deciding what to place in each of their layers of rock while drawing their mound cutaway with strata.

Shield Cake

Monday, April 11th, 2016

shield-cake

Instead of cooking a medieval feast as a culminating activity for a medieval unit study, why not bake this simple shield cake? You can have fun creating a coat of arms with candy on the top of the cake.

Begin by baking a rectangular cake, preferably chocolate. Cut one end of the cake into a triangular point. Then tape some foil to a piece of cardboard that is larger than the cake. Upend the cake onto the prepared foil.

Grab two tubs of white frosting, and tint one of them to be the background color for the shield. You can choose any color you want. Frost the entire cake, including the sides.

decorating-shield-cake

Now comes the fun part. Divide the second tub of frosting into different bowls, tinting them whatever colors you want to create your coat of arms, dragon, cross, or any other shape. Place the tinted frosting in a plastic Ziplock bag and snip off the corner. Draw whatever you want with the tinted frosting.

We used white frosting to frame the outline of the shield. We also outlined a Peppermint Patty and drew a cross in the center of it. You can now use whatever candy you want to embellish your shield cake. We used colorful M&M’s to go around the entire cake.

Now enjoy eating your medieval shield cake!