Teaching with a Presidential Inauguration

Once upon a time, an event like a Presidential Inauguration was an event that was such that it was pretty much a given that kids would watch in school. Add modern politics to the mix, and now, with a Republican president being sworn in, all sorts of craziness took place, from boycotting it, to requiring kids to have permission slips to watch it, etc. This is one of the nice things about teaching the kids at home.

Politics aside, with Tabitha being seven now, I figured it was appropriate for her to watch the presidential inauguration. It was certainly not inappropriate for Asher as well, though I assumed (correctly), that at five, it wouldn’t be terribly interesting no matter what. I was fairly impressed, too, that Tabitha paid pretty good attention for quite awhile, although we didn’t watch more than an hour or so.

The following are some of the things that we talked about:

This is an event where a new President takes office (starts the job). Who is the new President? Who is the outgoing President? (Extra credit – who was the other major candidate in the Presidential election in November?) If you took your kids to vote, this is also a good time to let them know this is one of the things that you voted for – whereas local races and candidates may have more of a direct impact on one’s community, actually seeing an event like an inauguration tends to make it more real, since most of us aren’t attending our mayor’s swearing in. 🙂

This is a historical event – Donald Trump is the 45th person to become President of the United States. This ceremony takes place every four years, and it’s a peaceful process. (Extra credit – George Washington/past presidents.)

Younger kids especially tend to really focus on other little kids that they see at events like this. Pointing out who the kids are (Barron Trump is 10 and President Trump’s son, the other little kids are his grandkids) was interesting to Tabitha, who compared ages to ages of people she knew, even working out a couple of years that the kids were probably born in.

Who recent Presidents are – I pointed out all the Presidents who attended the event. Tabitha got to hear that President Carter was the president when her mom was born. Upon seeing George W. Bush, she already knew the name because she had a reading assignment about him awhile ago. I pointed out, too, that Hillary Clinton was married to Bill Clinton, who was President for some of the time her parents were growing up.

Pointing out other people – I pointed out Vice President Pence, which prompted the question as to what a vice president does. 🙂 There were also a couple of other people up front who we get flyers for when election time come around, so I also got to point out who those people are.

Civics – I mentioned that someone who is President has to be at least 35 years old. She found it amusing that her mom is eligible to be President, but her dad isn’t old enough yet. She then was asking about some of the people who were up there, and asked about Melania Trump. I told her that while she’s old enough, because she was born in Slovenia and wasn’t a US citizen then, she could not ever be President. Seeing Hillary Clinton up there, and knowing that Trump had run against her, Tabita also asked if she could run again next time…

Tabitha was also interested in the limos, and in some of the places shown (The White House, Washington Monument). I didn’t remember about the parade afterwards, but by this time, their attention spans were kind of at an end for it. (Asher seemed more to listen and tolerate the whole spectacle.) In any case, I couldn’t help but ask the two of them a couple times throughout the day “So, who’s the President now?” and both of them would answer correctly.

As far as Tabitha goes, she’s retained a good deal. At church, one of our friends asked her a little bit about the event, and she did pretty well with remembering facts. However, what was surprising and impressive was that even though we probably have not talked about it since the around the time of the election, she told our friend about the event, she brought up that a person has to be 18 to vote, so that in two years, her oldest cousin can do that, since he’s 16 now. This shows that she does retain a good portion of this information and also has made connections between the process of voting and the action of somebody taking office. (She did not, though, recall President Carter’s name, but she’s seven, and I haven’t made her learn the Presidents yet!)