The girls accomplished a bit of bookwork early in the morning before the ceremony. But then - as we set aside our typical routine when the then-president-elect arrived at the Capitol - I never considered that we were "stopping school." Instead, we simply changed gears and spent the rest of the morning watching civics in action.
We didn't watch it eight and four years ago - for personal reasons on my part but mostly because at six and seven in 2009 and 10 and 11 in 2013, the girls were probably too young then to appreciate its significance. But four years from now, each will be old enough to vote so I've helped them to follow this whole campaign season more closely, and I knew that watching the swearing-in ceremony was really important.
I didn't make a whole "unit study" of it. Perhaps I would have if the girls were younger, but maybe not, as I've become more and more inclined toward what can be called "life learning." Thus, we simply watched together and talked about it as it unfolded. I pointed out interesting tidbits and answered their questions as we went. I know they were engaged in the process because we were engaged together; I don't need a test or worksheets to prove that we watched or that they "got something out of it."
I did ask each to journal a short summary or reaction. And true to each one's typical writing style, one chose the former, the other the latter:
On January 20th, 2017, Donald John Trump was elected 45th president of the United States of America. At about 8:45AM, Donald and his wife Melania arrived at the White House for tea with President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. At 10:00AM, they arrived at the Capitol building where a few short speeches were followed by the swearing in of Mike Pence as the vice president. Then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang and Donald J. Trump took the oath of office. Jackie Evancho then sang the National Anthem and Barack and Michelle Obama departed on a plane, where he then gave a farewell speech at 12:10PM. Trump then signed an executive order that extended security to his family.
For civics today we watched the swearing in of president-elect, now president, Donald Trump. I have never watched a swearing in before, but I'm glad I watched it. The whole race for president was very brutal and it was a slug-fest the whole way, but now that Trump is sworn in, everything has calmed down. The swearing in began with the welcoming and seating of all the Washington diplomats, such as Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and all the Congress and senators. Then one by one the Trumps were escorted and cheered on as they walked through the double doors to be present at this monumental occasion. Donald Trump was walked in under fanfare and cheering from the huge crowd before he proceeded to shake the hands of Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama. Many people gave speeches and read prayers before all rose to witness the swearing in of President Donald Trump. Trump then gave a speech. There were many words, all of which were great, but the words that stand out and I hope Mr. Trump will live by are, "When America is united, America is unstoppable." The sun now dawns on a new day, a new president, and a new America. God bless!
I remember rather clearly that I was the girls' age when I first started to pay any amount of attention to politics and "government." It took another 15 years before I began to more fully appreciate the amazing nature of our country, and my engagement became much deeper after I became a mom and then again eight years ago. And the girls may travel a similar path, though one is a bit more interested than the other just now. But I anticipate that this election and inauguration - as the first they'll truly remember - will serve as an important marker in their lives. Thus, it was without a doubt time well-spent - a real lesson and not just something we "took off" for.