Today, Koalagirl15 and The Amazing Zacchini gave my daughter and me the address of a website that, as a political science major who is currently teaching American Government, I think is totally cool: www.nationstates.net. Based on the book Jennifer Government by Max Barry, the site allows visitors to create their own nation, complete with flag, motto, and national animal. That is where the simplicity seems to end, however. Once a newly birthed nation begins conducting business, the game requires the ruler to make decisions on issues such as the legalization of euthanasia or whether voting should be voluntary or compulsory. Talk about conversation starters! Katherine the Great created an inoffensive, centrist, democracy. Her friend, The Amazing Zacchini, designed a compulsory, consumerist state. The type of country adjusts constantly based on how issues are decided. A benevolent dictatorship, for example, could morph into a socialist state, could change into a democracy, could become a left-leaning college state, and so on, and so on. I find it all very intriguing, plus it gives the kids a very real-time, hands-on way to understand various forms of government and how social/political behavior affects the foundations of authority and culture.
Check it out and create your own personalized country.
Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.