Introduction to "Raising Patriots"
You meet the nicest people when you are involved in a great cause -- and working to preserve America’s legacy is a very great cause!
One of the wonderful people I’ve met recently is Laurie Cockerell, founder of ConservativeChildrensBooks.com and FoundersFables.com.
Laurie is a former public school teacher, mother of four, a homeschooling mom, and author of “Founders’ Fables -- Ten Tales for Future Patriots.”
Laurie gives an excellent presentation called “Raising Patriots” and she has consented to share it with Patriotic Moms here. Thank you Laurie!!!
The presentation will be divided into three parts:
And be sure to check out her wonderful websites:
by Laurie Cockerell
"Are you teaching your children what it means to be an American? What are your dinner table topics? Are you discussing the current American Idol candidates or the current Presidential candidates? Is your family more familiar with Facebook than the Constitution?
"Life is all about balance, but it’s important that we remember Reagan’s advice to prioritize certain topics in our family conversations. We sometimes forget the significance and the importance of leaving a legacy of patriotism for our children.
"There was a time when teaching patriotism was a part of every school’s curriculum and every family’s tradition. But we can no longer assume that our children’s teachers will address patriotic issues and American history to the extent we would wish. During the early days of public education, founding principles and history were the main focus because the goal of education was to mold good effective citizens. But with “education reform” occurring about 100 years ago, a new subject was born: Social Studies. No longer were history, geography, economics, political science, sociology and psychology considered separate classes. They were now melded into one umbrella subject, watering down the traditional focus and leaving students lacking the benefits of a strong emphasis in American history and other topics necessary for the education of a true patriot.
"Anyone who has ever seen Jay Leno’s 'man on the street' interviews knows that our population is sadly in need of re-education. In 2009, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs commissioned a survey to assess high schoolers’ knowledge of a sampling of ten simple questions taken from the American basic citizenship test. Incredibly, only 2.8% of the students passed the test. And the average success rate for an immigrant taking the test? 92.4%. A sad reflection of our current education system’s focus - or lack of focus - on topics once considered necessary to the knowledge of all American citizens.
"In a country with a national debt of over 15 trillion dollars and personal debt that far exceeds any other generation, only 21 states listed economics as a required subject for their high schools’ curriculum (in 2009). In addition, only 19 of these states required that students be tested to prove proficiency in these classes. And not surprisingly, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) found in 2006 that college students now reflect the lack of emphasis of studies in subjects once thought imperative. After testing 14,000 students from fifty colleges, these civic literacy test recipients failed dismally. The results? The freshman score averaged 51.7% and the seniors averaged 53.2%. While these statistics certainly do not reflect every school system and classroom, most would agree that there is a real trend away from an emphasis on American issues and a new focus on global concerns.
"So what can we, as parents, do to ensure our children receive the strong and lasting education that will truly prepare them to become knowledgeable and active citizens?
"First, check your kids’ book bags. Read their textbooks. Sadly, not every American history textbook is as objective as we may assume. In fact, there are some that are blatantly skewed in their reflection of history.
"Next, find out how your child’s teacher handles discussions about the darker times in our nation’s history. Does the teacher generalize and label significant figures, groups and decisions as evil and corrupt? Or are they honest and truthful about our history, making it clear that all people and countries make mistakes? It’s important that they note that the real reflection of the character of a country is found not in these mistakes, but in its ability to correct those mistakes. Ensure that your child’s teacher neither whitewashes nor vilifies America’s history.
"Finally, in this time of testing testing testing, we need to realize that while facts are important it is not enough to just memorize and understand concepts. Children must also be able to internalize these ideas. They must be able to analyze and connect these ideas and principles to current events, leading them to feel empowered to be active citizens who will recognize and try to fix problems when they see them. And that’s where we come in, as parents. We need to take these concepts and apply them to the issues of today. We must immerse our kids in activities and books that will encourage and emphasize the founding principles and love of our country. And then, we will truly be Raising Patriots!"
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And be sure to come back tomorrow for Part II: What Is a Patriot?