Sunday, May 22, 2016

School Summary - First Persian Gulf War, Africa, and that's it

I laughed so hard at this English assignment categorizing adjectives. The abbreviated answer ended up saying, "True Dat." Very ghetto of our Mennonite published curricula. ;)
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A Summary of May 9-20
Y'all, we're done.
I'm not sure my mind is really in a 'finish up the portfolios/do the evaluations/submit paperwork' state of mind, but it sure is in a 'ready for summer break/glad to be finished' state. This is my last summary for the year--huzzah! And then I really do have to get stuff filed, the school room cleaned up (and cleaned out), next year's paperwork submitted, and next year planned. I'd love to zip through it all and have a real summer break this year. But, realistically, I have no expectations. Except for some ice cream and a couple trips to the pool... :)
Here's what we did as we finished:


Things that were scheduled:
Math
Tenor really started to struggle with Algebra 2, so we shelved it for the last week and will probably start over at lesson 1 in the fall. He's understanding the concepts for the most part but not testing well. I'm hoping a mental break from it and a fresh look next school year will give him more success.
Soprano finished her Saxon book and decided that she wanted to keep on going with Life of Fred. She has decided she'd like to be a math teacher some day (she's decided for now anyway) and wants to continue doing LOF over the summer. As long as I don't have to correct it, the plan gets a thumbs up from me.
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
They both do well with grammar so finishing up their books was just a matter of time. Soprano wanted to be done school earlier than Friday so she was doubling up on lessons as much as she could. She's also pretty excited that this was her last year of formal spelling curriculum. I'm not terribly disappointed about it either. From now on, for both of them, spelling will be an 'as we find an error' type of a thing. Tenor has one literature assignment to complete and then his LA is done as well.

Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Tenor finished his fourth level of Greek. This year's program counts as 1/2 credit. Since he's not taking a modern foreign language, I'm hoping that graduating (Lord willing) with 5 credits of biblical Greek on his transcript will make a good impression. Now I just have to record it on his transcript...

My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
Our very last week in the family cycle ever... It's a little sad. Five years ago when we started homeschooling, I "stumbled" (*cough, cough* God totally orchestrated it) across MFW. Because of their ages, we started right in with ECC and have continued through the remainder of the five year cycle. It's been really good for us, and we've enjoyed it immensely. Next year it's going to be so different. (A post on our choices for next year is coming later this summer.) :)

Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. We finished the verses (9-12) from 1 Peter chapter 2.
History and Geography: 
Project-wise: We only read about oil refining, making Xhosa bead necklaces, and monuments. I had sold our set of books a week earlier than I had anticipated so I was trying to get us through the last week of work as quickly as possible. 
We also did the outlines and writing from outlines, timeline pieces, and maps. 
I added in a review and post-test for the states and capitals and they did some review of the work they accomplished during the year.
Science: We're  using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Tenor completed a cave painting art piece for science.
Other MFW: 
Music:  We have the iPod playing at lunch most days. We listened to our hymns playlist and have been singing through each of the hymns we learned the past two years. We don't often sing hymns in church (like maybe 1 or 2 at Christmas) so singing them at home is a treat.
I'm excited about next year's art and music from Harmony Fine Arts. But I hadn't thought about singing hymns next year. I just might add some in. They'll love it. ;)
Our very last day of school, we were able to go to the local symphony to hear their American composer concert. It included Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F. Best part: tickets were free through the public library.
 
Art: They completed the lessons that hadn't been assigned over the past four years. It's an optional thing but I added it in for our last week.
Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 17-34.
Current Events notebooking sheet
Videos:
The Presidents by the History Channel (goes through George W. Bush and has a short clip on the first ladies)

Favorite Books: 
Bill Clinton by Mike Venezia
George W. Bush by Mike Venezia
So You Want to Be President by Judith St. George

They're finishing off some book basket titles, some of their literature reading list selections (that they had ALL year to read), science work (Tenor), and sewing (Soprano). Then that's it, y'all. That.is.it. :)
Awww! One in middle school, one in high school...one proud mama.

School Summary - India, Iran and Iraq, Nuclear Power, and the End of the Cold War

 
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A Summary of April 25 - May 6
So we're in the final stretch. It's starting to seem like I've been writing the same things every two weeks for the past four years. This year especially there's been much less as far as hands-on activities go. Looking ahead, I'm feeling torn about the end of this year. It's bittersweet in that next year the youngling and padawan won't be learning together anymore. Tenor is headed into high school so his curricula will be completely different. At the same time, I'm kinda tired of writing the same thing every two weeks. :) But staying in the moment, here's what we did:


Things that were scheduled:
Math
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
Reading vocab -- Soprano never figured out that I had written the answer key on the back of these sheets.
Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Soprano finished photography and ASL. She's just been reviewing both of those and stalling on sewing. We'll be working on projects well into the summer.
 
My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
The Middle East is still a mess. Ecclesiastes says there's nothing new under the sun, eh? We did learn about nuclear power and the mess of Chernobyl. I found pictures online of some children and animals affected by the disaster. Tenor thought they were interestingly gruesome. Soprano wanted no part of viewing them. Someone in the FB group for this curriculum posted a link to this article. Crazy to think it's only been 30 years!
We learned about Ronald Reagan's presidency (kind of had issues but one can not doubt that he loved America and Americans), the end of the Cold War, and the Berlin Wall coming down.


Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. We kept working on verses (9-12) from 1 Peter chapter 2.
 
History and Geography: 
Project-wise: We read about making a Langar meal, the oil tankers, and the Brandenburg Gate in the SOTW Activity book. However we actually did the Muslim Calendar math project (hint: tell your kids not to round their answers), the Nuclear Warning Sign art,
 
 
and the Tiananmen Square art. 
 
 
We also did the outlines and writing from outlines, timeline pieces, and maps.
Science: We're  using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Tenor has been working on a 1/2 credit natural science course during the year to add to his transcript. His 1/4 credit of Archaeology did not go well so I won't be including it this year. He might retake it down the road. But his 1/4 credit for Speleology is almost done. Some of his work included carving axe heads out of soap
and making a 3-D model of some cave features.
A cereal standing in in a pinch because we don't usually keep shoe boxes.
Other MFW: 
Music:  We have the iPod playing at lunch most days. We kept listening to Aaron Copland and listened to our hymns playlist as well.
Art: They had a lesson on bouquets of flowers (Matisse), geometric designs, and painting on a toned surface. Those are our last paint cards which makes me a very, very, happy mama. :)

 
Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 17-34.
Videos:
The Presidents by the History Channel
Mao's Last Dancer

Favorite Books: 
Ronald Reagan by Mike Venezia
George H.W. Bush by Mike Venezia
The Remarkable Ronald Reagan by Susan Allen

Thursday, May 5, 2016

School Summary - Civil Rights, Vietnam War, Interesting Presidents, and War in the Middle East

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Bass' birthday decor; We held his party at a conference room at his workplace.
A Summary of April 11-22
We had a week off for our trip to Washington DC. It was nice. It wasn't a break, but it was nice. :) We got back from that, and I had 2 days to put together a surprise 40th birthday party for Bass. Then 3 days later we had our neighborhood yard sale, which I was in charge of organizing this year. On top of that the kids got sick when we got home, and then I followed suit. That first week back was a little bumpy.
With lots of cold medicine, here's what we did:

Things that were scheduled:
Math
Soprano's math has been going very well. She has been grasping the concepts and working through her lessons with very minimal help from me. That's a huge blessing.
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
Tenor's poetry unit has included analysis of 'The Road Not Taken' and activities based on it. He wrote his own 'stop, look, see, think, go' poem.

Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Soprano finished her photography unit study (by Amanda Bennett) and has been reading selections from The Kids' Guide to Digital Photography to finish out the year.

My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
We started with JFK's assassination which seemed to begin a rather turbulent era with the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and then Nixon's presidency. But of course, the U.S. wasn't the only place in the world with turmoil... the Middle East was a mess again.

Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. We kept working on verses (9-11) from 1 Peter chapter 2.
Copywork sheets: The top verse is copywork; the bottom verse is their memory test.
 
History and Geography: 
Project-wise: We read about each one in the SOTW Activity book. We've done some similar activities in previous years and just didn't have time or much inclination to get these done. We also did the outlines and writing from outlines, timeline pieces, and maps.
Science: We're  using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Other MFW: 
Music:  We have the iPod playing at lunch most days. We started listening to Aaron Copland and completed the lesson on Copland from The Young Scholar's Guide to Composers. For our listening weeks, I have the youngling and padawan fill out one of these printables:

Art: Coloring a sailboat, American Gothic, studying Norman Rockwell, and human suffering in art.
 
The second week of our summary I got a prerecorded call saying that Ted Cruz would be in the area for a rally. I decided it would be a great 'field trip' for us to see the presidential race process in person.
We were so far back, we had to stand the entire time and couldn't really see him or Carly Fiorina at all.

It was very interesting. And a lot loud. :) No matter your political inclinations, I'd encourage you to go see a rally for any of the candidates in person.

Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 17-34.
Lights and Shadows interactive animation
Voting Rights Act of 1965 infographic
Vietnam War videos

Videos:
The Presidents by the History Channel
Remember the Titans
The Jackie Robinson Story (Disney)

Favorite Books: 
Freedom on the Menu by Carole Weatherford
Grandfather's Dream by Holly Keller
The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
Lyndon B Johnson by Mike Venezia
Richard M. Nixon by Mike Venezia
Gerald Ford by Mike Venezia
Norman Rockwell by Mike Venezia
Jimmy Carter by Mike Venezia

Monday, May 2, 2016

School Summary - Vietnam, Korean War, Argentina, Zaire, and JFK

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A Summary of March 21 - April 1
I've been helping my parents get settled in their new home and helping my mom to decorate. We've been out to their house (about an hour's drive) at least once a week. The youngling and padawan are doing their best to get all their work done but we've been doubling up on MFW assignments to fit it all in. This probably sums up our schedule:

Passive-aggressive, what? :)
It's been a little hectic. :) Here's what we did:


Things that were scheduled:
Math
We received the Saxon Math plans from My Father's World for Tenor. His work went rather quickly day 1 but we were back to the usual length on day 2. Thankfully that was a bit of a fluke. The rest of these two weeks went much faster... as far as his math went.
Language Arts (Grammar with Writing and Literature for both; Spelling for Soprano)
Electives:
Greek and Computer Science (Tenor), American Sign Language, Photography, and Sewing (Soprano)
Computer Science has been chopped. It was labeled as being for 9th-12th grade but the workload is outrageous. I posted the requirements on FB and several computer science friends said that the amount of work looked more like college-level. So we decided to just put it on hold for the rest of the year. 
Soprano has been slowly working on the steps for her latest sewing project. We shall overcome. :)

My Father's World 1850 to Modern Times
Less continents these weeks, but we still covered different world events that led to the Vietnam and Korean Wars. We also looked at JFK's presidency and his push for space exploration and his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Bible: This year we will be learning (reviewing) basic Christian beliefs and memorizing key Bible passages. We spent another week working on verses from Psalm 46 and then began a passage from 1 Peter chapter 2.
 
History and Geography: 
Project-wise: We looked over the 12 Recommendations game and completed the Code of Congo's Valuable Elements. We also did the outlines and writing from outlines, timeline pieces, and maps. We've done the 'what would you weight on the moon' math before so we skipped that as well as the other activities.
I've been helping my parents get settled in their new home and helping my mom to decorate. We've been out to their house (about an hour's drive) at least once a week. The youngling and padawan are doing their best to get all their work done but we've been doubling up on MFW assignments to fit it all in. This probably sums up our schedule:

Science: We're  using the World of Science reading assignments to review what we learned this summer.
Other MFW: 
Music:  We have the iPod playing at lunch most days. We listened John Williams as much as we could.
Art: Nature Studies, Portraits, and Outdoor Sketching this time.
Extras:
Web:
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 17-34.
Videos:
The Presidents by the History Channel
Iron Will (Alaska)
October Sky
The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!


Favorite Books: 
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights (Alaska) by Debbie Miller
Salty Takes Off (Alaska) by Gloria Rand
The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Alaska) by Natalie Standiford
The Gift (Alaska) by Kristine Franklin
Togo (Alaska) by Robert Blake
A is for Aloha (Hawaii) by U'ilani Goldsberry
Dog-of-the-Sea Waves (Hawaii) by James Rumford
Luka's Quilt (Hawaii) by Georgia Guback
Punia and the King of the Sharks (Hawaii) by Lee Wardlaw
John F Kennedy by Mike Venezia
John F Kennedy and the Stormy Sea by Howard Goldsmith
Moonwalk: the First Trip to the Moon by Judy Donnelly
The Amazing Story of Space Travel with Max Axiom by Capstone Press

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Week in Washington DC with Kids Part 3

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The Gutenberg Bible in the Library of Congress
A Week in Washington DC with Kids Part 1 and Part 2

Our last two days were as busy as the first part of the week.
Here's what we did on Thursday and Friday:
Thursday:
We started our day at the Capitol Building. After having to throw away most of our lunch, we got through security and downstairs to get tour tickets. They have timed tour tickets for each day that you can get once you're there. As we got to the tour start area, I kind of scoped it out and picked a line with a tour guide that looked friendly. Best pick ever. He was from Scotland and had the best accent. His tour was really good, funny and informative, but honestly, he could have been reading the phone book and would have been great.
The rotunda is under construction but still open at this point.
Andrew; He looks angry but was just telling his story intensely. :)
From the Capitol, I had planned to go to the Supreme Court but found that there's an underground walking tunnel to the Library of Congress. Since it was cold and drizzly outside, we headed to the Library next.

The architecture is fabulous in there.
Our name is in the mosaic ceiling.

And we got to see Thomas Jefferson's library.
They have tours in the library; we just didn't have time to wait for one, and it was extremely crowded.
Supreme Court was next. There's a short film about the court that's worth watching. We didn't spend a whole lot of time here.
We ate lunch at Pete's Diner on 2nd Street. It wasn't good. The people were super friendly, but the food was only so-so and the tables were sticky. :)
We were able to get the metro from that side of the city and head to the National Gallery of Art.
An installation made of paper in the gift shop
 
There are so many paintings and sculptures to look at here. You could spend days there and still not absorb it all. Rooms full of Monet, and Picasso, and Singer Sargent. It's almost overwhelming. But very, very cool to see, in person, within touching distance, paintings that we've read about and studied and copied.
We left and headed to the Air and Space Museum.
The kids have done the Air and Space Museum before and I really wanted to spend time in the American History Museum, so we didn't spend too much time in here. We stuck to the exhibits that fit best with what we studied this year: History of Flight, Space Race, etc.
It was hard to tear them away, but I really wanted to get to the Museum of American History. We walked over and then stood in line forever to get in. They had bag checks and metal detectors, but were taking forever to get people through. It was not well done at all.
We did one exhibit (war in history)...
George Washington's uniform
...we came out of the exhibit, started to head to another. A security guard hollered, "You can't go that way.... You can't go that way, sir." Um, okay. We asked why not and he said they were closed.
What?!?!
So what happened was, I had originally planned this day's activities to be on Wednesday but switched it to Thursday because of the weather forecast. The museum was open late on Wednesday, not on Thursday.
If security had been less ridiculous, we could have had a little more time; if I had remembered the hours, we could have had more time. To make it worse, the staff was really rude to all the visitors as they were closing down. Seriously, so rude. I was really disappointed.

We had planned to eat dinner at their cafe since it was recommended online, but went to plan B because they closed 2 hours earlier than we expected. We ended up eating at the Silver Diner in Falls Church (super yummy!)
 


Notes and Tips for the Capitol Building area:
*You cannot take food or drink into the Capitol Building. Seriously, nothing. They'll make you throw it out. So if you pack your lunch, go later in the day. Or, you can get through security in the Library of Congress building and then take the underground walking tunnel into the Capitol. They didn't do a bag search coming in from that direction. (You can also put food in your pockets if you're desperate. Unless you set off the metal detector you can get a granola bar in. Just sayin'. :) )
*Wear good shoes.
*Get in Andrew's tour at the Capitol building. :D
* Do NOT try to squeeze in 3 Smithsonian museums into one afternoon.
* Eat at the Silver Diner; do not eat at Pete's Diner. :)

My original Thursday itinerary was:
U.S. Capitol and Visitor Center
Supreme Court
Library of Congress
Lunch and the Taft, Grant, and Garfield Memorials
National Gallery of Art
National Air and Space Museum
Dinner and American History Museum
Hotel


On Friday, we:
did not have to get up super early to catch the hotel shuttle to the closest metro stop! We got up, packed up, checked out, and headed to George Washington's home, Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon was the other attraction included in our tour bus package deal.
It's really beautiful there. I felt badly that the country pressured George into a second presidential term when he really just wanted to retire.

We did the house tour. They had park rangers stationed in each room. They'd talk and give info on that area of the house and then send you on to the next area. It was a fast tour because it was such a crowded day.
 After the house tour, we explored the grounds, the outbuildings, and the gardens.
View of the Potomac from the back lawn
We took the horse ride (free) down at the "farm", and then took the shuttle back to the Visitors Center for lunch.
 We saw George and Martha's grave site
and spent time with "Lady" Washington.
She was an amazing interpreter. She talked for 3 hours, in character as Martha. No scripts, no speeches. Just answering questions as if she were Martha herself. Someone asked how she met George, and she dimpled and blushed and smiled and told the story. She looked like she was actually in love with the man! She asked where people were from and when someone responded, "Pittsburgh", she replied, "Ah yes, George was in that area where the 3 rivers converge. He'll be glad to know that people are settling near the fort of Pitt." lol I want to be her when I grow up.

We saw all that we could and then headed out, stopping at Georgetown Cupcakes in Bethesda on our way home.
Fastest $13 we've ever eaten! So good!

Notes and Tips for the Mount Vernon:
*Lunch at the food court was very expensive. Pack if you can.
*Wear good shoes. The property is quite large and has rough terrain.
*Do sit and talk with Lady Washington if you can.

And that's it! It was a crazy busy week with a lot crammed in! We have money left on our metro cards so we're planning to go back for a few day trips to catch what we missed this time around.

A Week in Washington DC with Kids Part 2

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A Week in Washington DC with Kids Part 1 and Part 3

For Part 2, I'll tell you what our Tuesday and Wednesday looked like.
Here's what we did:
Tuesday:
Because it opens so early, we started at the White House Visitors Center.
Our hotel offered a shuttle to the closest metro station. From there we were able to stay on that line and get off as close as we could to the WHVC.
We found out quickly that in DC, the escalators are two-laned. If you want to stand and ride the escalator, stay to the right because the people rushing to catch a train and running past you on the left. Wait, you say, escalators aren't that wide. Yes, you are correct. :) Stay to the right. lol
After we figured that out, we were able to get ourselves to the visitor center easily. They have a short 14 minute film that features former First Families talking about what it was like to live in the White House.
(I didn't start planning our trip until we were about 4 weeks out, so I missed out on the opportunity to get tickets for a tour inside the White House itself. We had so much planned that I'm not sure it's a bad thing that it didn't happen. It would have taken some serious rearranging to fit it in. Perhaps next time. :) )
I'm thinking photography wasn't allowed because none of us have pics from the visitors center. :)
The metro tunnels creep me out. This is no time to panic!!
Next up, we navigated the metro system again and headed to the International Spy Museum. We were able to get a package deal from our tour bus that included discount tickets to the museum. It was money well spent.
Hanging on like James Bond
Playing it cool like Bond
James Bond's Aston Martin --- um, Love!
I'd look good in that car. Right? ;)
The museum had a lot of Bond exhibits but there was so much more. The history of spying, a mission for visitors to try, spy gadgets, interactive stations for kids... If you want to read and see everything (lots of short videos), give yourself 3-4 hours.
After the Spy Museum, we ate next door at the super crowded Shake Shack. It was okay; not the best cheeseburger I've ever had, but it filled us up.

We went to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum next. We made it there a few minutes after a tour had started, but we were allowed to join in. The docent walked us through all of the presidential portraits on display. She had lots of little anecdotes about the paintings so we stayed for the whole thing even though our time was limited.
Our PA prez - James Buchanan rocking the faux hawk
One of my fav portraits, George W Bush; He was the only president to be painted w/o wearing a suitcoat and tie. It was a great likeness and very warm and welcoming portrait.
There were other exhibits but we breezed through the rest of the 2nd floor and then headed out for sake of time. Looking back, I probably should have had us go down to the American Origins exhibit on the 1st floor.
Speaking of skipping things, we were also going to walk by Ford's Theatre (another place I couldn't get tickets to. It's free to see but you have to get a timed entry ticket. They were booked up for the days we were there.) Since we were tired and the theater was in a different direction from the next thing, we didn't bother. And we didn't get to the NGA Sculpture Garden. It was too late in the evening by the time we finished at The National Archives.

After the National Gallery of Art, we headed to the Archives. Good thing. We had to wait about 45 minutes to get in to the gallery to see the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. It was so crowded, we didn't get to see the entire Constitution. And no, they didn't film National Treasure inside. We asked. :)
No pictures inside.

That was it for the day. The Spy Museum and Portrait Gallery need quite a bit of time, plus the travel (walking and metro) in between sites.

Notes and Tips for the White House area:
*Other than tickets for the Spy Museum, everything today was free.
*Wear good shoes.
*Reserve White House and Ford's Theatre tickets as early as you possibly can.
 *Do the National Portrait Gallery tour.
* Do NOT go to DC during spring break. It was so crowded everywhere we went that it took time away from enjoying the exhibits because we were waiting in line or rushed through.
*Stand on the right; move on the left. ;)

My original Tuesday itinerary (in case you're planning and want to do things in a way that makes sense geographically) was:
White House Visitors Center
National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum
Lunch
International Spy Museum
walk by Ford's Theater
National Archives
National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
Dinner back at the hotel (we had sandwiches and lunch food that we had brought with us.)


On Wednesday, we:
Had the worst day ever because I picked the worst tour bus company ever.
I thought CitySights DC was a great deal online. They had 3 tour loops that you could do, hop on and hop off, plus a package deal for the Spy Museum and Mount Vernon.
I should have read the reviews. It was so bad, I wrote reviews and posted them online.
You can read one here.
Soprano and I huddled down between the seats of the upper deck of our tour bus and freezing to death.
Because the bus tour was so terrible, we didn't spend much time seeing the sights.
The plan was to do the yellow loop (Arlington) and then the purple loop (Embassy Row, Georgetown), then come back and do the red loop (Monuments, National Mall) and get off to see all of the monuments and memorials.
We didn't get to the purple loop at all. But did see some of the monuments and ate our packed lunch at the Washington Monument visitor center (and use the restrooms! lol).

Washington Monument from the W.M. Visitor Center area
WWII Memorial; We saw this 11 years ago just being finished. The fountains weren't operational at that point. It's really pretty.
WWII Memorial
My shutterbugs
The Lincoln Memorial
Looking down the mall
Vietnam Memorial -- this was much more meaningful having just studied it the week before our trip

A park ranger getting a rubbing of a name
When a bus finally showed up (grr! see my Trip Advisor review), we rode part of the red loop over to Union Station. We went next door to the National Postal Museum. (Bass having worked in a mail industry position for 10 years really wanted to do this one.) It was one of the best, most family friendly museums we went to on our trip.
 

After the museum, we ate dinner at Union Station.
The Roman soldier statues covered with shield for modesty's sake. ;)
Um... crazy! It was so busy! But there were lots of places to eat and fun shops to browse through.
And it was super easy to get the metro there and head back to our hotel to collapse. :)

Notes and Tips for the White House area:
*Other than tickets for the bus tour, everything today was free.
*Wear good shoes. The memorials and monuments are not close to each other.
*Do NOT, seriously DO NOT, no matter what other reviews say, DO NOT take a tour via CitySights DC. Pick Big Bus, pick Old Town Trolley, pick anything else.
* DO go to the Postal Museum and give yourself a couple hours.

My original Wednesday itinerary was:
DC CitySights tour purple loop (starting at the Lincoln Memorial)
DC CitySights tour yellow loop
DC CitySights tour red loop (getting off at Jefferson Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Washington Monument)
National Postal Museum
Dinner at Union Station
Hotel
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