Can Your Kids or Grandkids Answer These Questions?  If not, why not ?

If your kids don’t know these things, it’s time you seriously consider educational alternatives for your child. And please don’t say you can’t afford it, because you can’t afford not to. If you love your children, take them out of public school, find a good private/parochial school, homeschool, or simply keep them at home. They’ll learn a lot more watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune than spending seven hours a day in a government-run holding tank for the children of dysfunctional parents.

Below are questions and subject matters my peers and I learned between the ages of, say, 12-18. These issues and facts were taught during the 60s and 70s in great detail. Minorities had no problems learning these things. Why do they have problems with them now? It’s called the “soft racism of low expectations,” “dumbing down.”

Ask your children or grandchildren these questions. If they can’t answer a good many of them, they are the victims of child abuse.


Who invented the cotton gin?

The steamboat ?

The electric lightbulb?

Movable press?

The reaper?

The sewing machine?

Vulcanized rubber?

Who was George Washington Carver ?  And what particular plant was he famous for studying ?

Can you identify all 50 states from a map of the United States? And name their capitals?

Can you identify most of the countries on a world map ?  And name their capitals?

Can you diagram a sentence?

Do you know the grammar rules governing the use of “less vs. fewer? Punctuation ? When to use an apostrophe ?  Semicolon ?  Quotation marks ?  Capitalization? Proper syntax?

I heard through the grapevine that there are eighth-graders who still don’t their multiplication tables.  I find that appalling.  Can you quickly recite the multiplication tables?  Like, right now.

Can you discuss the significance and meaning of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution?  When were they written and/or ratified? 

Can you name five major figures of the Renaissance? 

Can you name Christopher Columbus’ three ships? Where they landed?

When was Julius Caesar assassinated?  Date and year.

Can you briefly discuss the early American settlements at Plymouth and Jamestown? What drew these early settlers to risk life and limb to come here?  Remember–there were no food stamps, no welfare checks, and no Section 8 housing. They started from scratch; the rest is history.

When did the Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock?

Can you name the major battles of the War of Independence? Which war preceded the War of Independence that, in fact, helped set the stage for the War of Independence?

Can you prove that a triangle is 180 degrees?

Can you prove that alternate exterior angles are equal?

Can you name the formula of the Pythagorean Theorem?

Can you name the formula of Einstein’s theory of relativity?

Can you cite the five rights enshrined in the First Amendment?

Can you name your Natural Rights? HINT: There are three.

Can you name the seven continents?

Can you name the two major mountain ranges in the United States?

Can you name the seven parts of speech?

Can you name the seven auxiliary verbs?

Can you name the seven figures of speech?

Do you know the “rule of three” in mathematics? 

Have you read any of the following—A Tale of Two Cities, any Shakesperean plays, Oliver Twist, Wuthering Heights, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Last of the Mohicans, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Little Women, Scarlet Letter, The Red Badge of Courage, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Democracy in America ? If not, can you at least name the authors of these classics ?

Do you know the difference between a peninsula and isthmus?

Can you briefly discuss the Protestant Reformation, Counterreformation? Can you name some of the major players of these historic periods?

Who is Charlemagne and why is he important? On which day was he crowned the first Holy Roman Emperor and what was the name of the crown?

Can you discuss the Age of Discovery? Columbus, Pizarro, de Leon, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Magellan, Balboa ? What can you say about these conquistadores and explorers?

Can you identify at some of the major thinkers of the Enlightenment ? Can you identify the generally accepted years and during which the Enlightenment took place? What was the significance of the period? Explain its impact on our own history?  Name three countries which were on the forefront of this Age ?

Our country is routinely called a democracy. This is soooo incorrect. Yet, many of the so-called elite in the media, academia, and politics, who should know better, continue to call our nation a democracy.  Our Founding Fathers loathed the idea of democracy, likening it to the “rule of the mob.” Which term correctly describes our form of government?

What is a synonym? An antonym ? A homonym?

Do you know when to use there, their, and they’re ? Your and you’re ? Do you know when to use subjective and objective pronouns ?

Do you know the formulae for converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa?

Can you name the planets? In order of their distance from the sun ?

Can you name the oceans ?

What was the first battle/act of aggression in the War of Northern Aggression (sometimes called the Civil War by the benighted) ?

Can you name the Great Lakes ? In order of size ?

Which treaty codified the nation-state system in which we still live ?  Which war did the treaty end ?  When?

Can you recite the Preamble to the Constitution?  The Presidential Oath of Office ?

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?  Whose signature appears boldly as the first signatory?

Can you recite your ABCs?  Count from one to 10?

Can you name at least ten Founding Fathers ?

Can you name at least five major battles of the War of Independence ?  The War of Northern Aggression ?  World War I ?  World War II ?

Can you name the first five presidents ?  The five latest ?

Who was William Shakespeare?  When did he live?  What was the name of the town he lived in?  What was his nickname ?  Name three of his plays. 

Who was Sir Isaac Newton?  Galileo?  Copernicus?  Louis Pasteur?  Can you name at least five scientists from the 17th and 18th centuries?

I could go on and on. But these are just the basics of grammar, mathematics, and history that all of us were required to learn while attending school in the 60s and 70s. Minorities were required to learn these things, and did. I don’t recall any minorities struggling with these things. 

For further information on the state of our education system, check out the works of Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. I must sadly report that the vast majority of our teachers couldn’t answer these questions either.  Remember—if you can’t go to college, go to Teachers School.

Please feel free to add additional questions or comments.

The Artful Dilettante

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