Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Nostalgia from a 1950’s Diner

Monday, February 18th, 2019

1950s-diner

Recently my dad has been in and out of the emergency room as he is getting blood clots, has difficulty breathing, and is fighting cancer. He’s at home now, although weak. When I was sitting in the hospital room, watching him sleep, I had plenty of time to think back over all the years I’ve known him, special memories of growing up. One of those memories was my dad getting out his 1950’s records, blasting the tunes while my sisters and I danced all silly and slid across the floor in our woolen slippers. It still makes me smile.

So when I came across these pictures of my husband and I with our children in a 1950’s malt shop in Spokane, I stopped and thought about why the 1950’s meant so much to me, even though it was long before I was born. It meant a lot to me because it meant a lot to my dad.

diner-from-the-1950s

I remember back when I lived in California, I took my dad to a fun 1950’s malt shop where we were able to experience the ambiance of my dad’s favorite decade, from 1950’s music to the decor to the flavors of the food. His face lit up with joy because he was transported back in time.

strawberry-malt

My dad looked so happy, sitting in the booth with me, eating his burger and fries with a malt. He was quite emotional. It was like going back to your grandma’s house after many decades, breathing in the familiar environment where so many happy memories were made. The aroma of my own grandma’s house would always transport me back to childhood, and I felt young and free again, with the whole world opening up before me, full of endless possibilities.

flipping-burgers

Now I sit looking at these photographs of my own husband and kids, enjoying a modern history field trip where we were able to experience the 1950’s as if we had lived through that time period for real.

Some day my own kids will look back on their own memories of their parents blasting through the house our favorite decade music–the 1980’s. My own kids have a love for 1980’s music because it was played the same way my dad played his music, with joy and nostalgia.

To see the 1950’s birthday party I threw my dad several years ago (including pictures of my jukebox cake and poodle skirt), click here.

High School Government Series

Monday, December 4th, 2017

high-school-government

If you are a parent of a student in high school, at some point your student has to take a class on government. To make the study of high school government more enjoyable, your student will LOVE these goofy videos and hands-on activities!

High School Government Videos:

  1. Types of Government: A fun video re-enacting dictatorship, oligarchy, monarchy, republic, true democracy, and anarchy. Includes my kids dressed up as playing cards.
  2. How a Bill Becomes a Law: My daughter (a bill) is pushed around by her brothers (Congress and the President) through the process of making a bill into a law.
  3. Preamble to the Constitution: A simple reading of the Preamble to the Constitution, with skits of various kinds to humorously bring to life each segment.
  4. Presidential Line of Succession: The President keels over, to be replaced by the Vice-President; who keels over to be replaced by the Speaker of the House; who keels over to be replaced…
  5. What are the Federal Executive Departments? Each of the Federal Executive Departments are dramatized by goofy kids in order to understand each department better.
  6. How the Judicial System Works: A Chicago gangster is counterfeiting money in his basement. Two federal agents break into his house and tell him he in under arrest. The remainder of the short video depicts how the judicial system works.
  7. The Bill of Rights: The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution are dramatized in this fun video.
  8. Make Your Own State Tourism Brochures: We take a break from all of our skits to show how to make a tourist pamphlet for your state. A couple of my kids have humorous pamphlets.
  9. Typical Campaign Promises: A silly skit by a candidate running for President, promising outlandish things that can never be fulfilled.
  10. How Government Gets Its Money: No matter what you do with your money, the government will want a piece of the action. Watch each scene from federal, state, and local taxes to see how the government holds out his hand for money to be forked over.

A couple of other hands-on activities go well with the study of high school government:

  1. Civitas Government Game: My kids loved this game, re-enacted it, and filmed it from the roof of my house. Make their risk worth it by watching their video, which was created, filmed, and edited entirely by my teen sons.
  2. Government Activity Books for High School: These Dover Publications books include pop-up Presidents, a 3-D White House model, and activity books that include other hands-on craft ideas. There are detailed coloring pages that can be used for notebooking, along with word searches, crossword puzzles, and code breakers.

Hopefully these skits and hands-on activities will make your students enjoy their study of high school government!

How Government Gets Its Money

Monday, May 29th, 2017

how-government-gets-its-money

The U.S. government at the federal, state, and local levels has to get its money from somewhere. So it taxes individuals, businesses, and corporations to get the money it wants for its countless programs. Today we will show you through a series of skits how this is done.

The Notgrass Company has sponsored these fun blog posts because we are basing this series on their Exploring Government book. One of the chapters requires students to understand the ways that citizens are taxed. We continue our series of high school government with another set of skits for your enjoyment.

How the Government Gets Its Money

Federal Taxes:

The income tax is the main source of federal revenue, providing over half of federal money. This is a progressive tax, which means higher incomes are taxed more.

The next biggest source of revenue for the federal government is the payroll tax, which provides about one-third of federal money. This tax helps pay for Social Security and Medicare.

Other taxes include an excise tax of things like tobacco, alcohol, jewelry, and guns, customs of tariff duties on some imported goods, estate taxes when an heir’s inheritance exceeds $2 million, and much more.

learn-about-taxes

State Taxes:

States also have an income tax. Some states don’t tax personal income, and so have to rely more on other taxes. Usually, income tax rates are form 2 to 6 percent.

Another major state tax is the sales tax. Most states impose a flat statewide rate and let counties and cities add an additional tax on sales within their borders.

States also get a lot of revenue from automobile-related taxes. In about half of the states, there is an Ad valorem (to the value) tax for registering a vehicle. There are also taxes of alcohol, tobacco, utilities, theme parks, and hotels/motels.

taxing-cars

Local Taxes:

Cities and counties impose property tax on the assessed value of the real property in them. Homeowners and business owners both pay property tax. There is also a business tax, which is a small percentage of the total sales a business has in a year. Counties also charge for a business license.

I hope you enjoyed our re-enactment of “How Government Gets Its Money.” We made quite a few props for these skits, and we had a blast behind the scenes!

We truly enjoyed producing this series of high school government posts, breaking down concepts from the Exploring Government book, and making them come to life! If you would like to buy the book, get it from the Notgrass website to bless their family the most!

Typical Campaign Promises

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

typical-campaign-promises

This time my kids did a video called “Typical Campaign Promises.” They noticed on the news during a presidential election that presidents typically will promise lots of changes that don’t end up happening when they actually get into office. My 16-year-old son wrote the script for this funny video, another son directed and filmed the video, and my third son edited the video!

The Notgrass Company has sponsored our series of government blog posts because we are using Exploring Government for our study of high school government.This is the ninth post in this series. We are very much enjoying dramatizing these concepts to help bring them to life for high school students worldwide!

Typical Campaign Promises

My kids drew a set of posters to illustrate the points that the presidential candidate was trying to make.

This is what our presidential candidate says: “Let’s face it, we don’t have very good options for this election. I was listening to all the candidates and I thought, ‘I could do better than that!’

“So vote for me, and I’ll raise government spending, looking for aliens and building pretty buildings, and I’ll lower taxes… by generating money out of nowhere! Because I’m secretly… Santa Claus! And Superman! So remember, America, vote for me, and you’ll never have any problems again!”

presidential-campaign-poster

Running for Public Office (the real facts)

According to the Exploring Government book, the best way to run for public office is to start small by running for a seat in the city council or county commission. You need to get to know as many people as possible, especially people already in local government who could endorse you. You fill out the proper paperwork with the local election commission. Then you have to get the signatures of a small number of voters on a petition and pay a fee to have your name on the ballot. Ah, yes. Begin small and work your way up to the presidency by being a person of integrity and actually fulfilling your word.

vote-for-santa-man

Stay tuned for the final installment in our high school government series: How Government Gets Its Money!

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!

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