homeschool classroom-general assembly
The Virginia General Assembly convened on January 10 for the 2018 legislative session, providing an excellent opportunity for students to learn and explore the legislative process. Browse this week’s Homeschool Classroom for online resources, interactive lesson plans and ideas, and even games to help your student understand the function of the legislative branch of the government on both the federal and state levels.

Online Resources

Kids in the House is an educational website provided by the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. It offers information on topics such as the U.S. House of Representatives, the legislative process, and House history. The Virginia General Assembly website is a great research resource for older students. Find information about your state representatives, bills that are currently on the floor, and even watch live-streaming videos of committee meetings and debates. At congress.com you can browse current bills and even search by topic. Encourage students to research a bill that is of interest to them and track its progress through legislation. This article by Dr. Arthur Robinson, “Teaching Government Right,” was originally published in Practical Homeschooling magazine. In it, he outlines his compelling reasons and methods for teaching government as part of a homeschool curriculum. Here are few recommended resources* on a variety of grade levels, which can be used to supplement your curriculum or as research materials. You can also check for them at your local library.
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*contains affiliate links

Lesson Plans and Ideas

This teacher guide from Storyboard That provides resources and instructions for guiding students through a storyboard presentation on a bill they’ve researched. The project is geared toward students in grades six through twelve. Students can label a map (like the free printables available at mrprintables.com) with the number of representatives assigned to each state as they learn about the House of Representatives. Ben’s Guide to the US Government includes fun games and graphics geared toward younger students, and offers lesson plans and activities on topics such as how laws are made, the branches of the U.S. government, and federal versus state government. iCivics offers free printable lesson plans, including PowerPoint presentations for classroom lessons and printable worksheets for one-on-one lessons. (You must register for a free teacher account for full access to the lesson plans.) It also features a variety of interactive online games for students. (Students can sign up for a free student account or use a parent’s teacher account for access.)

Games and Visual Aids

This entertaining animated video from the popular Schoolhouse Rock series follows the journey of bill from idea to law, and is engaging for students of all ages. Use this video as a visual aid to help define the American form of government and explain the differences between a republic and a democracy.
 
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