Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Field Trip: Christmas 2012 White House Tour

I have always dreamed of visiting the White House during Christmas. Every year since we moved into the area I always think about it in December which is months to late to arrange. Well this year thanks to goal setting skills learned from, I actually remember to do it in August. Our co-op group was so excited about the prospect as well. Many have lived here all their lives and never visited the White House. One week after the election we received the conformation email. We were going to the White House!

In typical homeschool mom style I pulled all the resources about the White House for a two week long unit study.

Also we reviewed "How to greet the President" packet that we got from our amazing etiquette teacher Mrs. L. for Maryland. Details of the class here….
We also talked about "Expectations":
  • What do think The White House will smell like at Christmas?
  • Who would be in residence when we visit?
  • What behaviors are expected of guest in The White House?
  • What behaviors are unexpected at The White House?
  • What's the dress code?

A lot of these questions were answered at The White House website. Also we came up with a list of our own for personal conduct so there would be no confusion to mar the experience.

It was a beautiful cold clear sunny early morning as we made our way toward Pennsylvania Avenue. We were all a little giddy with excitement as we passed through the gates of The White House grounds. 

Everyone in the line was smiling and excited, the adults more so than the kids. God Bless the Secret Service they were friendly yet imposing at the same time. Think about their daily jobs to give their lives to protect the executive branch.

Once we were cleared onto the grounds I had to stop before entering the mansion. For some this may seem a little dramatic but it is how I truly felt at the moment. Here I was an African American women raised in a southern town who still today practices self induce segregation was about to step into the building where the President of the United States lives. The granddaughter of a lady who had to fight just to vote and marched in many a Civil Rights march while being forced to enter buildings through the back door..her granddaughter was entering The White House. In that moment I missed my grandmother so much it hurt. But I looked into my son's face and I saw her there…in his eyes ..the eyes that was ready to go inside The White House.

From the minute you enter it is overwhelming. It smells of holly and cedar while shining with twinkling colored glass d├ęcor. Your mind is stuck on "Ohhhhhhhhh" then "Hey, I know that portrait of that first lady", then back to "Wow look at that tree"

The staff there is amazing. They don't allow cameras but they will let you use your camera phone. They graciously took pictures of us as a family and answered all of The Student's questions. (Okay little mom brag here. He knew every single portrait of the president s that we saw. Plus he was excited to see them.)


The Student was amazed that President Lincoln ate off this china. He got really quiet and said "Mom, he was in this place. He really ate off stuff that is here." I think this is when The White House became "real."

On a visit to the National Mall we wondered what it looked like from the inside of the mansion looking out. Well, it is amazing.

Gingerbread House with a candy Bo.

 These good people filled the whole tour with wonderful music.

It was amazing day spent with family and friends.

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