Jake has a social studies test tomorrow. Social studies is NOT his “thing”. I don’t understand it. We butt heads a lot while he studies because he fights it every.step.of.the.way. Converseley, when I was in school, I OWNED social studies, history, government. I loved them. I’m a bit of a history nerd…and I am fascinated with government and the way it should work.
Jake’s chapter test starts with Christopher Columbus (the watered-down, 4th-grade-friendly version), moves to the different types and branches of our government, and then talks about citizenship, immigrants, and responsibilities and culture. It’s kind of all over the place…and I’m sure the book’s authors had a plan in mind when organizing it the way they did.
Anywho….I have been quizzing Jake since Saturday. It’s been painful and slow. He fights me when I ask him to re-read, and he doesn’t memorize the information easily. I do have to say, though, that with our current events and reading the text through an adult’s perspective, I have really had to watch my snark and watch inserting my opinions.
For instance, when I asked Jake what Columbus’s reason was for his first voyage, Jake responded, “He wanted to take over the world.” You know, technically, the kid is right. It’s obviously more complex than that….but the Europeans DID want to gain as much land as possible and gain riches and such…and hence, take over the world. But, the answer in the book is that Columbus wanted to find a shorter route, by sea, to Asia, because traveling over land took a long time and was very dangerous. I wanted to make a snarky comment about taking what doesn’t belong to us..but I refrained. I just gave him the answer from the book.
Or the time when I asked Jake who is the head of our Executive branch of the government (for federal government). He thought long and hard, and threw out his elementary school principal’s name. (Remember, he struggles with language…so in his mind he was thinking “starts with a “p””.) I said, not your principal. The guy we elect every 4 years is the…..and he mumbled out “President?”. I gave him a high five. I asked what the President’s responsibilities were as the head of our executive branch. Jake’s answer, “Ummm, they talk a lot?” (I would give that kid extra credit points, wouldn’t you???)
Finally, we were discussing citizenship and our responsibilities as citizens. I asked how someone could become a U.S. citizen. Jake’s answer, “They can be born.” True. I asked what the other way of becoming a citizen is. Jake’s answer, “They can take a stupid social studies test and learn about the government.” (Obviously a little of that tween-ish angst is starting to creep in….yay…he’s “typical”. ) I prompted for more…and he said, “They can take a test with a process.” Close. I explained the answer and we moved on to our rights. I asked what types of rights we were guaranteed as U.S. citizens via the Constitution. Jake’s answer, “To pay taxes.” Ba-da-bum. He’ll be here all week, folks.
I explained that paying taxes was a responsibility. I told him that our rights were freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. He perked up when I said, “freedom of speech”. “Mom, freedom of speech. That’s like we go to therapy, right?” Ahh, kid….love ya to pieces..and so grateful for the moments of levity that I could find while dealing with a non-interested kiddo.