Kids, travel

Chronicles of an 8th grader- Philly done, on to D.C., and cell phones

It’s been very fun receiving updates from Ethan this week!

Their time in Philadelphia is over- they really just had Sunday and Monday there. They took a bus to D.C. later in the evening Monday night.

Tuesday- Thursday they are in D.C.

I got a BUNCH of pictures yesterday- they toured the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which looked beautiful! It’s the largest Catholic church in North America, apparently, and top 10 in the world.

I received pics of the Washington Monument and the National Mall:

In the afternoon they were at the Holocaust Museum- Ethan sent quite a few pictures of this. The Holocaust/ WWII is a big interest point for him. He has read a TON of books about it (ever since maybe 3rd grade he has been reading stuff about WWII!), so I think this museum probably meant a lot to him. I think in general D.C. is a destination that means way more to older kids/ or people who know something about our country’s history.

He sent this (bone chilling) picture:

shoes. 😥

Their itinerary said they’d also be visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture, but I’m not sure if that was yesterday or will be today.

Last night, they went out for dinner at some place called “Ben’s Chili Bowl” and took an adorable group shot of everyone. Then they went to a comedy/murder mystery performance at the Kennedy Center from 8- 10 pm! Those are going to be some TIRED kids when they get home! haha.

They still have today and tomorrow to go. The smiles in the pictures tell me this is an experience of a lifetime for them! 🙂

Phones on the trip

Oh, one random thing I wanted to mention: Phones + kids on a trip!

I was wondering how this would go, since obviously 8th graders are pretty big fans of using their phones a lot. At first I wasn’t sure if they’d even allow kids to bring them, but they definitely did. I found out at the parent meeting that they actually expected everyone to have a phone along. (They required everyone to download the travel app, for the photo uploading, group messaging/ announcements and GPS tracking in case anyone got lost!)

BUT, I think they have a great system in place. The teachers take away everyone’s phone at night before they all head into their hotel rooms. The principal/ teachers packed these big charging tower things that can charge like 15 phones each, so they power down the kids’ phones and then charge them all up overnight (in the teacher’s rooms).

This way, the kids do NOT have unrestricted/ unsupervised access to their phones all night (doing who knows what and/or staying up way too late screwing around).

On the bus/ rest of trip, the principal said there would also be strict “NO PHONE” times, like when a tour guide was talking, etc. Any rule breakers would be in big trouble and lose their phone privileges.

Anyway, just mentioning this since it’s another example of the changing (ok, changed! I guess phones are old news now) times. I know for a fact when I went to D.C. in 11th grade I probably had a couple rolls of Kodak film in my bag and that was about it. Pretty sure I didn’t talk to my parents once the whole time! (I’ve not actually talked to Ethan either, but he has sent many (very short) texts.)

Here’s a couple other pictures he texted me:

2 more days to go! Can’t wait to hear about it all in person when he gets home.

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for a fun happy hour out with coworkers last night! It was National Healthcare Quality Week last week, so our boss had planned a little outing to get everyone together. For a fully remote team, it is fun to see people now and then in real life.

8 thoughts on “Chronicles of an 8th grader- Philly done, on to D.C., and cell phones”

  1. What an awesome trip! I have not been to the Holocaust musuem but would love to go someday. I’ve been to DC as an adult a couple of times plus a work trip there this summer – I never had the chanced to go as a kid. So I think I’ve been to 2-3 museums total. I love that admission is generally free to most museums. That is so rare!

    The way the school is managing phones is so smart!!!

    That is great that you got to see coworkers in person! We have had a couple of social events since returning to the office. It’s so nice to see people in person and interact in a social environment. It’s different than the conversations we have in the office.


    1. I’ve only been to DC the one time, in high school- and while it was a great trip, I really feel like I need to go back! We had ridden an overnight bus out there, and I remember just not sleeping at ALL and being so groggy on much of the trip. It really kind of ruined it for me a bit, honestly. Also, I was there with my school orchestra, so we have several music events (meaning not as much sightseeing time). We did see a lot of cool stuff though, but it’s all just a bit fuzzy. I would have liked to do a family trip there, but with both boys going with school (Asher will go next year), it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Maybe that will be an empty nesters trip someday for us!


  2. Twenty years ago I was visiting a friend in DC and we went to the Holocaust Museum and was also gutted by the shoe room. Even though I live here now, I just can’t find it in me to go back for another visit, it was such a devastating experience.
    Ben’s Chili Bowl is such an institution here! It’s so funny to see what the tour groups highlight. (The Kennedy Center show has been playing for ages, and I always wonder how they still get audiences – but now I know!)
    It’s so interesting about the phones. We got our oldest a point and shoot camera a few years ago and she still will use it once in a while, but I suppose these days everyone just has a phone. The requirement to have a phone for your kid is also interesting too…. are there any kids who didn’t already have phones? Or are they ubiquitous? My oldest is ten and I don’t feel quite read to wade into phones with her yet…


    1. Yes, I have no idea how the exact tour options are chosen, but I imagine they have tried and true places that work well for their groups. I remember going to some sort of performance on my school trip there too, but no idea if it was that some one. Doing something like that is so fun though with a big group of friends!!

      RE: the phones, I imagine that if a child flat out didn’t have a phone or wasn’t allowed one, they would just make an exception for that. It seems like pretty much all of the kids do have phones by this age now though, at least around here, but remember there is a big difference between 10 and 13-14. 🙂 Ethan just got his own phone in the last year. Asher was a little younger, since he got one around the same time…. so he was/is 12, almost 13 now. (Also got it this past year though for Christmas shortly after turning 12.) I do not think there is one right answer! For us the phones and the timing of them were largely about ability to communicate with friends (important to us) and communicate with us when we were not home, when they were out somewhere and needed rides, etc. (happens much more now).


  3. Wow.. what a cool trip!

    That shoe photo… goodness. How chilling.

    We have a Holocaust museum quite close to my house (I am not sure whether there is any significance to it’s location here in the middle of England) and to my shame I have never been. I’m going to use this post as a prompt to make sure I do that, so thank you!


  4. What a great trip for the kids. I can imagine they’re having a blast… and I agree, they figured out a great way to have the kids bring their phones along, but still “monitor” when and how they’re used. That’s pretty cool.


  5. The Holocaust Museum is unbelievably powerful. The shoes, especially. You also – at least you USED to – get assigned a person when you arrived, which you updated throughout the museum. So, if you were assigned to be a Jewish person who was sent to a concentration camp, you “went through” that with your assigned person. They also assigned people to be Nazis. It was… devastating.

    And Ben’s Chili Bowl factors into political campaigns, too! Obama used to go there. It’s historic, in many ways! And classic DC.


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