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Teaching America's founding documents

In the history portion of your child's homeschool program, you probably talk about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. In fact, you can't talk about the founding of the U.S. without mentioning these important papers. However, you can go beyond mentioning the founding documents to teaching them in detail to your daughter. Here's why they matter and tips for examining them during homeschool:

Why founding documents matter
America's founding documents highlight some of the key issues occurring throughout its history. For instance, the strong wording of the Declaration of Independence outlines exactly why the colonists wanted to detach from English rule, and Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address is infused with the emotion he felt as he governed a warring nation. Reading and analyzing the founding documents, along with other historically significant papers and speeches, can show your daughter what life was like for Americans at that time.

What's more, being aware of her nation's history and the things that influenced U.S. figures can make her a better citizen. She can participate in current political issues and intelligently comment on historic events. 

Finally, knowing the Constitution and Bill of Rights will help your daughter better understand how the U.S. government operates - she'll need to know it very well by the time she can vote.

Teaching historic documents and speeches
Here are some tips to use when teaching your daughter about the founding documents:

Put it in context: When incorporating historic speeches and documents into your homeschool program, make sure they have context. For instance, analyze the Declaration of Independence when you're talking about the Revolutionary War. You should discuss the events that led up to the writing of the document and the things that occurred as a consequence of the Founding Fathers signing it. 

Check out the documents: Show your daughter images of the documents so she can see what they look like - the cursive writing and withered paper of the Constitution looks very different from a typed version. 

Dissect the language: The Founding Fathers spoke and wrote differently than we do now. In general, the language was more formal. As you read historic speeches and papers, make sure your daughter understands the words and what they mean. This is a great opportunity to improve her vocabulary. 

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