On a recent Saturday, I took the two oldest and the youngest children on a shopping trip. The eldest girl needed some new Sunday clothes. The eldest boy had a birthday gift card to spend at Barnes & Noble bookstore. After they had finished their shopping, we would stop at Walmart to grocery shop.
While driving to our first stop, the eldest girl began quizzing me on the contestants of the recently-concluded season of American Idol. She asked about the winners of the previous seasons–and was disappointed when I was not able to name the winners of previous Idol contests. When she was done, I began a quiz of my own.
• What is the name of the highest office of the Executive branch of American government?
• What is the name of the institution at the top of the judicial branch?
• What is the name of the document that dissolved the thirteen colonies’ political bonds with Great Britain?
• What is the collective name of the first ten amendments of the Constitution?
• What is the name of the introductory portion of the Constitution?
Perhaps a part of our country’s problem stems from our celebrity-obsessed culture. We can name the last nine winners of American Idol, but not the nine Justices of our Supreme Court. We can name the quarterback of our favorite football team, but not the President of the Senate. Naming the stats of our favorite baseball players is easy, but we don’t know how many people are elected to enact our laws.
My eldest two had difficulty with some of the above questions. As citizens, we must become more involved and knowledgeable about what our government is doing. We have more work to do. We all do.
A great site for children and adults alike to learn the answers to all the above question is Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids.
Next up, Part Two of this homeschool series, Saturday Morning Mathematics…
Kim A. says
I agree! I have told our children that in order to graduate from our homeschool, they must be able to list the rights guaranteed Americans in the first 10 ammendments. Seriously!