Danielle and I went to Mount Vernon back when we first moved here and were exploring new things to do in our free time that were unique to the area.
We’d thought of bringing our parents to see Washington’s house and property, but the timing never quite worked out – you really want to visit in the Spring or Fall, not during the Summer or Winter. So it remained a place we’d only been to once even as we made multiple trips to the same couple Smithsonian museums and zoos.
Last year, in pre-school, Scarlett learned a bit about the presidents: mostly that we have one and that some of the old ones are on Mt. Rushmore. This year, they still aren’t learning too much civics (they’re too busy teaching them how to read, write, and math), but Scarlett listens around the house as we’ve spoken about the current president. Which reminded her there were some famous ones and I think the school made a big deal of President’s Day in February.
That said, Scarlett’s only six – 4 years ago she was just starting to talk and 5 years ago she could just barely walk. So she kept getting confused between Mt. Vernon and the White House. On the day of the trip she asked if we were going to Donald Trump’s house.
Once we got there, Scarlett marveled at the giant “doll house” model of Washington’s house. But what she enjoyed most was being our navigator. She got the map and she was in charge of telling us which way to go.
It was a very busy day, with lots of tourists there so the pace was a bit fast and the docents didn’t get to explain things about the house as much as I remember them doing the last time I went there.
We didn’t explain slavery to Scarlett. She got a mini-crash course on it at school because she asked me some interesting questions in February. But the concept is so alien that she didn’t quite understand what she’d learned. Personally, I think it’s a deep enough and screwed up enough concept that I’m content to wait another year or two for her to be able to understand what it meant, what it said about us, etc. It’ll also be interesting to see how they teach it here. In Florida (when I was in school) they didn’t shy away from it like I ehar in other southern States, but I didn’t understand it completely until AP American History.
On the subject of Washington’s mansion, I tried to point out to Scarlett the ways in which the house was different from ours – the kitchen separate from the house, etc. But it’s only been 1-2 years since she could understand the concept of Danielle and I as kids. And, from what she’s said, I don’t think she thinks the world is much older than her great-grandparents. So it might take a bit more for her to appreciate those types of things.
You guys know I like to just post one interpretation of a photo, but sometimes I can’t decide. Which do you think is better? Color (above) or black and white (below):
As far as stuff like mortality goes, our current line is that only old people die. We will sometimes mention disease, but don’t want her to freak out at a bad cold. So she was able to understand the Washington crypt on the site.
We ended the day with the photos you see here in a field where the kids wanted to pick dandelions.
I don’t blame them. Even as an adult, I do find it fun to blow the seeds away. What a beautiful way to pollinate.