Amanda has a two-part Civics test this week and this morning as we were sitting on the couch watching bits and pieces of the news (and no, not Rachel Lutzker for all of her fans out there!) she decided to try quizzing me on some of the things that she was going to be tested on.
"What rights are Americans promised under the U.S. Constitution?"
"You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided to you free of charge."
"Who was James Madison?"
"He was the fourth President of the United States and was married to Dolly Madison who later went on to make wonderful snack cakes."
"What is the Preamble?"
"The short walk that you take to loosen up your legs before the real ambling begins."
"What is the New Jersey compromise?"
"A decision that is agreed upon by a bunch of guys talking with Jersey accents who generally saying 'fuggedaboutit' to everything."
What is the CT plan or the Great Compromise?
"When the people from Connecticut decide to agree on something really good."
"What is the 3/5ths Compromise?"
"When 3/5ths of the people in the room agree on something then it's passed."
"Who was Thomas Jefferson?"
"The third President of the United States who lived at Monticello in Virginia and was the main author of the Declaration of Independence as well as a gifted inventor and player of the violin. He died on July 4th, 1809 - the exact same day as John Adams, second President of the United States." (Now this one I knew!)
Needless to say I was probably not a great deal of help to Amanda in studying for her test as most of this stuff totally escapes me despite the fact that I think I used to know it once upon a time. Even though I love history, and lament not having become a history teacher, I've never been a big fan of Civics which is more the study of comparative government or politics than it is actual history.
Whereas I can tell you quite a bit about what went on during the actual writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence, I can't tell you that much about the document itself. The same goes for the Constitution and any of the other lovely documents that our Founding Fathers decided to draft once they got the notion that we were going to be a nation independent of England. Ask me about George Washington as a General and I could bore you to tears but ask me about George Washington as a Statesman and I'll bore you to tears about George Washington as a General!
Knowing that I'm a history buff, Amanda was quite surprised that I couldn't answer most of the questions she threw out at me this morning (as a matter of fact, she kept smacking me in the head with her papers after every wrong answer!) but I was rather proud of the fact that she DID know the answers. Maybe she's paying more attention in class than I thought she was!