School trips

by Denver Dad

The last few years, my kids have gone on several school trips out of state and overseas. DS went to Boston two years ago, they both went to D.C. last year, and DD went to Costa Rica this year. One of DS’ teachers is planning a trip for next year to France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany that we will probably let him go on. Our feeling is that these trips are great opportunities for the kids, and we can afford them, so we want to take advantage of them. Realistically, we’re never going to get to all of these places as a family.

I also think a big part of the trips is the kids getting to be on their own (with other kids and some chaperones, of course, but not their parents) and establish some independence. I tell them flat out that I don’t want to hear from them while they are gone. On the Costa Rica trip, the teacher sent photos and updates several times a day, and while it was nice to see what they were doing, but I would have preferred to have had no contact until the end. I definitely seem to be in the minority on this, most of the parents were very concerned about the international calling/texting and wifi access so they could have daily contact with their kids.

What trips have your kids taking and/or are planning on going? Have there been any that they didn’t enjoy, or you felt weren’t worth the money? And how much do you try to stay in touch with the kids while they are gone?

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281 thoughts on “School trips

  1. My kids middle school sends them to Boston in 7th and to Washington DC in 8th. Pretty much everyone goes on those trips. I don’t like them – I think they are very overpriced, and the main purpose of both seems to be the dinner-dance which the girls like and the boys endure. They run the kids ragged – so on both trips, my oldest came home sick and exhausted. My younger one enjoys shopping so he took lots of money on both and bought gifts for everyone. But on the Washington trip, it poured both days they were there, and the schedule did not get adjusted at all, so they ended up having to stand for over a hour in Arlington National Cemetary in a drenching downpour. My kid took a raincoat and two hoodies, and when he got home, every item of clothing was soaked, and he was shivering on the bus.

    In the HS, they have trips to Europe and stuff, but they are overpriced and none of my kids friends go, so they don’t go either. I personally am not a fan of group student tours to other countries – I don’t see that the kids get much out of it. They just walk around in a horde for a week seeing standard tourist sights without much context. I’d rather go as a family, or when the time comes, have the kid go on his or her own. My middle kid has told me that he hopes, when he is in college, that he could study at a university in China for a semester. That would be cool.

  2. I’m a big fan of study abroad, but not a fan of these school trips. I agree with Mooshi–they are usually overpriced. If I’m going to pay that much money for a sight seeing trip, I’d rather make it a family vacation!

  3. I don’t see that the kids get much out of it.

    I think you come at this as someone who traveled (and indeed lived) abroad extensively as a child and traveled extensively internationally with your children as an adult. For a more typical family, extensive international travel isn’t all that common so I that case I think kids do get a lot out of it.

  4. they are usually overpriced.

    $2500 for 10 days in Spain including airfare is overpriced? What sort of horrific bike camping trips are you guys into?

  5. I would not tell my child that I “don’t want” to hear from them, as I wouldn’t want to send the message that calling home is a sign of weakness. The kid can stretch his/her wings without having to cut off all contact. Alternatively, I’d probably say that I’m very confident that they will be safe and well taken care of, and they can contact me as much or as little as they like.

    My own school trip dilemmas are on a much smaller scale. Last week I kept my 3 and 5 year old home from a field trip and took them skating instead. I want my kids to stretch their wings, but not into adult-sized public bathrooms on their own! Helicopter mom, I know…

  6. It depends. My son and I are going on the overpriced 8th grade trip to Washington DC in a few weeks. We are going because 1) the oldest sibling got to go and 2) he wants to. I’m going because he has a chronic illness and I don’t trust the trip leader to have a clue what to do if there is a problem. I went with the oldest sibling and was not impressed. There was a huge amount of time spent shopping, way too much time spent (45 minutes each way) on the bus back and forth between DC and the hotel and not nearing enough time at the monuments and museums.

    Middle DD didn’t go on that trip when she was in 8th grade. She had asked if she didn’t go in 8th grade if that would be her only opportunity. We said it wasn’t and last summer, between sophomore and junior year, she went to a Washington conference with her school organization. Actually she went to the conference during the week she could go, but almost no one else from our state was there, and we had to figure out how to get her there. Being the person she is, she walked into a conference knowing no one and walked out with friends in 20+ states. And she saw more museums, monuments, rode the metro, and had a blast.

    Middle DD’s trip cost significantly less than older or younger sibling. Would older and younger sibling been able to do what middle DD did? I don’t know.

    International travel? If i’m paying, I’m going too.

  7. DD’s class had a day trip to DC a few weeks ago. One of the kids was drinking on the bus. When they got off the bus in Washington, one of teachers noticed that the kid was drunk. The teachers had never had to deal with this problem before so they were not sure what to do. They ended up calling his parents and the kid’s mom had to drive three and a half hours to pick him up. I asked DD if other kids were also drinking, but she was not sure. I assume that there were others who were, but that this kid is the only one that the teachers caught. Kid ended up getting suspended for two weeks and kicked off the lacrose team.

  8. Someone (state supreme court? district?) has decided elementary schools (?) can’t charge parents for field trips and there is no budget, so most schools here don’t have field trips. Our school has a few small ones, thanks to an active PTC. In middle school, there’s a trip to D.C. which is expensive but probably not overpriced at several hundred dollars, if the trip includes plane ticket from here and lodging. I didn’t get to go on such trips in middle school/high school for financial reasons and I hope to let my kids go, because a lot of friendships form/solidify on such trips. We may also do a family trip to D.C. someday.

  9. Our elementary/middle school (private) has an overnight trip in 5th to a faith-based camp that focuses on science while they are there. 6th grade is a 2 night trip to Houston with some stops on the way – part science/part social studies focused. They stay in a church gym and have a service project. 7th grade is a week long camping trip to Big Bend – mainly science focused, but also require writing assignments. Each kid has a journal that has to be turned in when they return, but before parents get them. 8th grade is a trip to St. Louis, mainly fun, but also split up and do several small service projects and have some social studies thrown in. Kids have to research where they are going (divided into groups) before they leave and do a scrapbook when they return. In these cases, you go or you get an assignment to do at home while others are gone. 6-8 are all gone the same week, so there aren’t any teachers left to have those who don’t go at school.

    DD#1 didn’t have a phone, so we only received teacher updates. DD#2 did, but we didn’t hear much from her.

    DD#1 has taken a trip to Germany/Austria with Girl Scouts, a trip to Spain with school (included time in a Spanish imersion program) and a trip a couple of weeks ago to Italy/Greece with school. She has loved them all. We did not do international calling, but did set up What’s App accounts. The GS trip, I did ask for her to contact us as it was one where we sent her to Newark Airport within a fixed window where she met up with girls from other states and that was the first time they’d met. The other two, we told her we’d like to hear from her, but no specifics. She always misses her cats and wants me to send pictures. If she sends me a message, I reply with a cat picture. DD#1 earned and scholarship’ed about half of her GS trip.

    We were much less helicoptery than most parents on the trip. Heck, my kids packed on their own for all these trips. We did a quick check at the end of critical stuff, but not things like did they have enough underwear.

    I think for a lot of kids it is good to be away from parents, to have to manage themselves and their stuff, and to see how others handle it. Yes, they do come back tired as they keep them on the move. Then again, too much time on their hands often results in getting into trouble. I agree that unless your family has the time/money to do that sort of travel, this is the main opportunity many kids get. The trips have ranged from $300 to $400 a day that included everything but lunch and things they chose to purchase.

  10. I travelled across the home country on a school trip in the summer of 6th grade. It was by train coach (not air conditioned) and no proper shower for a few days till we reached our hotel on the other side of the country. No communication with parents. We had our teachers who kept in contact with the school and the tour guides from an outside company.
    We had a fun time though. I never went to those places with my family. I came home with lice. My one friend from that trip was killed in an accident, so those memories of her and the other friends are precious.
    My older kid will go to Washington next year. I think he’ll go to Atlanta as well. They go to Ireland at some point. I would send them.
    My DH is far more worried because he never had an opportunity to travel while in school. If he could leave work, he would sign up as a chaperone.

  11. My kids have the opportunity to travel with DH and I, because we like to travel, and we can often afford it. DH and I didn’t grow up in families that traveled. We did however, grow up in organizations that did travel. DH went to Japan after 8th grade as an exchange student. We both went to Washington DC through the same organization, although several years apart. It is hard to believe that almost forty years ago, my parents put me on a plane with a couple other kids, an adult they knew but weren’t friends with, some travelers checks and sent me clear across the country, with no contact until Mom picked me up at the airport a week later.

    In high school, I chose organizations based on what trips they took. Academic geek organization? Oh, they raise money and then we “visit college” and play in the Bay Area for a few days? Sign me up.

    What sort of trips did you guys do in middle/high school?

  12. DD is complaining because DS got to go on more local field trips but the school administration decide to shake things up and get more academic with the trips. DD’s Year has been hit by the change and less field trips. I hear “not fair” from DD often.

  13. $2500 for 10 days in Spain including airfare is overpriced? What sort of horrific bike camping trips are you guys into?

    That’s what I’m wondering :). The Europe trip next year is $3,000. I think that’s a great deal for airfare (which is more expensive from here than the East coast), 9 nights, train transport between four countries, and two meals a day.

  14. I was amused yesterday as DD was deciding whether to put “local craft beer festival” or “local blue grass festival” in her report on regional attractions. She went with the bluegrass deeming it more appropriate.

  15. My kids have enjoyed their trips, and when I chaperoned I saw that most kids seemed to enjoy and benefit from their DC trip. In addition to visiting sites and getting to visit with their congress person, they had the chance to experience some independence in the company of classmates. I saw lots of dancing and general good times at the dinner dance, along with some less social kids hanging out in the corner. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but overall it was a positive experience and I was happy to be able to give my kids this opportunity that I never had.

    One of my kids really loves to travel and went to Europe twice with his school. One of the trips was Holocaust themed and fit closely with their white male oppression social studies curriculum (only half kidding). From all accounts these trips were a good combination of learning and fun. It’s nice to be able to travel with friends and not just with family at that age. I was a little concerned about drinking or other antics. On one trip they visited a Mediterranean beach we had visited as a family and I wondered how the teens would react to topless women. As it turned out it was too early in the season for them to have that experience.

    My only school trip was to a competition a few hundred miles away. There was lots of drinking and general carousing, so part of my worrying may be from my own limited experience.

    The trip I did not allow my kids to go on was the Caribbean senior class trip not sponsored nor sanctioned by the school. A few parents typically go, but it is mainly “supervised” by a company that offers these trips.

  16. DSS went to Mexico with some high school group when he was in 11th grade. He seemed to enjoy it, but I don’t think he got any particular value out of it other than it was a fun trip.

    My niece (the one who is going to college and hasn’t committed any felonies yet) is going to Mexico this summer with some group and we’ve committed to paying for a chunk of it. She has rich friends (she went to high school in the wealthy Indianapolis suburb that DH is from rather than the skanky impoverished Mississippi high school her siblings went to) so she’s gone with friends on Caribbean cruises and been to Canada. She’s got one foot in Totebag land and one foot back in, uh, culturally-disadvantaged land. We are still hoping she makes it all the way into, at least, regular middle class land.

  17. Our district stopped all overnight trips in middle school. We used to have natures classroom in 6th grade, and D.C. in 8th grade. It became too expensive to go to D.C., so they went for a couple of nights to Boston in 2016. That was the final trip, so my DD will never go on an overnight trip.

    The HS still has overnights for stuff like science competitions, state sport competitions, or chorus. They used to have a week long trip in junior year for each foreign language. Italy for Italian, Paris for French, and Costa Rica for Spanish. They stopped these week long trips too.

    The two main reasons that the superintendent stopped these trips are safety and cost. She doesn’t want to worry about bus crashes in Costa Rica or terrorists in any location. Chaperones are staff and they are paid, but she was having a very hard time finding staff that were willing to leave their own families for a week. Parents are not permitted on any class trips in middle or high schools, so the lack/cost of chaperones was becoming an issue.

  18. I don’t think he got any particular value out of it other than it was a fun trip.

    The horror!

  19. She doesn’t want to worry about bus crashes in Costa Rica or terrorists in any location.

    So she’s a moron? At least it’s out in the open.

  20. Timely topic as DS’s outdoor education trip is coming up next month. It is a couple nights at a camp facility not too far away. He hates it, as he hates anything to do with outdoor education (animals, bugs, digging around in a pond, etc). We force him to go because it is highly encouraged by the school, and everyone else goes. I do feel a little guilty about it because he does not enjoy it, but I also think that he very very rarely has to do things that are not enjoyable, so hopefully it is character building or whatever. They are not allowed to contact home – and no cellphones/electronics are allowed, but the school sends updates/photos every night, and we pre-write paper letters for him to read when he is there.

    I have very fond memories of my 9th grade choir trip, but as an adult, I mostly feel sorry for the teachers & chaperones that have to man these trips! I wanted to go on an international trip in HS with my French class. My parents said that I had to pay for a portion of it, and that killed the idea. At the time, I chose to spend my $$ on clothes and movies or whatever rather than the trip. That is the same reason that I did not study abroad in college. I regret skipping both, but luckily, I got a chance to work abroad, and that was a great experience that helped make up for skipping earlier opportunities.

  21. We only went to NYC in 8th grade. I met my first boyfriend on the bus ride there and have no recollection of what we saw other than the Statue of Liberty but remember having a great time with my friends. There was a big group that would go to Europe every other year when we were in high school to play basketball for some reason. My high school boyfriend and his family always went on those trips but not all of the parents went. There was a lot of drinking and partying but that seemed to be expected by the parents.

    My oldest DD hasn’t had anything but local field trips, but she goes to sleep away camp and we’re not allowed to talk to her while she’s there so that seems to be fostering some independence. She became very close friends with a girl last year that was from Paris and who moved back there last summer. Her parents want the girls to stay friends so they are sending their 10 year old over here by herself next summer to stay with us for a week. Not sure I would be ready to do that but think it’s awesome that they are.

  22. He hates it, as he hates anything to do with outdoor education (animals, bugs, digging around in a pond, etc).

    Maybe as a treat you can check him into the Peninsula for a night. He can order room service, get a massage and forget about the whole horrid outdoor experience.

    http://chicago.peninsula.com/en/default

  23. Kids school has parents as chaperones. They can usually get the required number to sign up. Some parent will be guilted into filling that last spot. I want to go to Ireland but will have to go with DD’s class. As a female I will be in charge of female students and not DS or his friends if I go with his class.

  24. I went on a 2-3 week trip through Italy during the summer between sophomore and junior year. It was organized by my English teacher, but not exactly sanctioned by the school.

    I mentioned it to my parents one night and was surprised that they said “sure” without giving it much thought. Looking back, that may have been when I realized that they had really checked out of the whole parenting thing by that time.

    Nobody talked about drinking, and we drank. I even got fairly intoxicated, but my teacher and her husband made sure everything ended fine.

    I learned that I share my dad’s distaste for traveling beholden to a bus driver’s schedule. After the first half of the trip, I think we grew bored. Yay, another cathedral, another old plaza, more cafes, more cappuccino.

    I remember being very happy to get home.

  25. Ivy’s son can come keep LfB, Louise, and me company at the luxury spa-hotel and we’ll send him off periodically for more ice for the small-batch gin.

  26. I don’t think he got any particular value out of it other than it was a fun trip.

    The horror!

    LOL. You know me, Rhett, I don’t think every moment of every day has to be edumacational. It was just sold to the parents as this Culturally Important trip. I think it’s fine that he just had fun.

  27. My kids have opted out of most of their school trips. We had no opinion one way or the other. The D.C. Trip the MS took did seem to have large blocks of time devoted to shopping.

    When I was in HS, each summer our dance team went to a weeklong camp out of state, and we never had adults with us. The school would give a senior keys to a van, and we’d all pile in and head off. Usually someone brought a map, but not always. We were always the only squad without an adult, but it seemed normal to us. DH said the same thing about his hockey team – as soon as a couple of guys were old enough to drive, they’d take themselves to out of state games, and all pile in 1-2 hotel rooms with a lot of people sleeping on the floor. I don’t see a lot of chaperone-free travel these days.

  28. I only had one school trip in high school to DC which made me fall in love with it and ultimately led me here.

    RMS is your husband from Carmel? (Like the candy, not the CA one)

    I went on both kids outdoor ed trips and really enjoyed it. LIked getting to know the kids and the teachers as well. I was with the girls when my son went but I was with his group during the day and the girls in my cabin listened very well because I was a stranger and I was pretty fun.

    My son is in Europe on an exchange program with a family that sent their child to us for a week this past fall. I talk to him every day. I think after spending all day speaking a foreign language and with a foreign family it is nice to speak English and he’s always been my rose. He was anxious to go but is having a great time and learning that sometimes you just have to jump in. We travel a bit as a family but I think between this and another trip he took last year have really helped him grow in independence and confidence.

    I can’t tell you how much I hate the giant tour groups in DC. It is getting to the time of year when I won’t go downtown anymore because they are so pervasive and oppressive. Glad they have a good time but so happy when they go away.

  29. Where are these kids coming to DC going shopping? Pentagon City? What do we have that everyone else doesn’t?

  30. Moxie,

    I don’t know. I was really frustrated with all the shopping five years ago. I mean, everyone has the internet to shop on and you don’t have to haul it home.

    The food was exceptionally terrible as well.

  31. One of the advantages to living in the DC area was that we never had to chaperone the DC school trip. We saw enough of How Those Go when out and about at the tourist spots every spring. But all of the boys went on overseas trips in middle and high school — Costa Rica, Spain, Greece, Italy. We didn’t hear from them much on those trips. The Costa Rica trip was 8th grade at the boys’ school and chaperoned by several teachers (all male, no parents allowed) who forbade cell phones and other screens, so DS had to take a real camera. (horrors). Both older boys hiked parts of the Camino in Spain. DS1 went with a high school group and had little contact with us, DS2 went with his college singing group, and so the trip was heavily covered via their FB page. That was a fun way to keep track of where they were without having actual contact.

    We have also travelled with them to Australia and Ireland, but given the realities of finances, university schedules and especially DS1 and his damn swim training schedule, they would never have gotten to those places at that age if they had to wait for us to take them. And, once they are in college, it can be difficult to plan a family vacation overseas because of jobs and internships and summer school.

    DH chaperoned the Junior trip with DS1, which is three days of running, biking, kayaking, camping, topped off by swimming about a half mile or so to an island in the St. Mary’s river. (The school proposed to the local water rescue team that this annual event would be a perfect training opportunity for their staff, and so there are plenty of boats standing by to rescue the boys who really can’t make that open water swim. DS got to the island first, ahead of all of the rescue boats, and said it was the first time that the lacrosse jocks who thought swimming wasn’t a real sport were impressed. Some of them had to be rescued….) Only fathers were asked to chaperone, and there was no cell service or wifi.

  32. I definitely traveled in HS without chaperones. I remember when we were juniors in HS, my friend & I went to a bigger city around 2 hours away for a soccer referee training seminar one weekend & got a hotel room by ourselves. We didn’t do anything too crazy that trip – flirting with boys at a restaurant & stuff like that. The seminar made up qualified for paid work reffing youth soccer, so I guess it was productive. We also did some other overnight trips junior/senior years – shopping/amusment park trips. Some trips to see concerts. Another trip to see the games during 1994 World Cup, but we were 18 and graduated at that point.

  33. Why are Washington DC’s monuments considered so worthwhile, but Mount Rushmore is apparently a joke to NYT subscribers?

  34. My kids latch on to details from their trips that are far from educational. It’s amusing to hear what things they talk about.

  35. On the DC trip I chaperoned there was one shopping/lunch stop at Harbor Place in Baltimore. It was about a 2-hour stop. Other than that it was only museum gift shops. On one day each small group could select the particular sites they wanted to visit, and maybe some spent a lot of time at gift shops? I know on another year’s trip some girls sneaked off to a mall.

  36. About half of the kids at Junior’s (small) school are in Australia and New Zealand for three weeks right now (one week will overlap with spring break). Junior told me that he was disappointed that he didn’t go. I asked, “What trip?”– I honestly didn’t know.

    This being high school, other than the daily computer blasts of grades and homework, the school doesn’t communicate with parents. The kids are expected to tell the parents and give them the materials, etc. Junior didn’t tell me anything! When I asked why, he told me that I couldn’t afford it. (It cost $14,000.)

    Ouch! That hurt my feelings even though Junior is probably right. Nonetheless, I would have found the money somehow and let him go. He needs to get away from me. He’s growing up, and I fully intend to retire from active parenting and move to The Villages in 3.5 years. And I’m not ever taking him to Australia!

    It turns out that it’s a good thing he didn’t go. It seems that only a couple of teachers and administrators go. Most teachers are too smart to go and stay and teach, with a significant amount, if not most, of their time spent working with the kids on the things they didn’t get or were unsure of during the first three quarters. Think remedial time.

    I think this is great! Junior is really benefiting from this as high school is proving challenging for him.

    Next year it is a trip to Japan and Junior has announced that he wants to go. Now, I’m wishy washy. Yeah, I suppose he could go, but this remedial time when half the school is away is a blessing.

  37. RMS is your husband from Carmel?

    Yep.

    Why are Washington DC’s monuments considered so worthwhile, but Mount Rushmore is apparently a joke to NYT subscribers?

    I don’t think any of them are worthwhile. The various museums are, though. And maybe seeing some politicians. Maybe Library of Congress. That kind of thing.

  38. It cost $14,000

    Ow! That would sting. I’d have to hear some significant pleading and maybe a few tears.

  39. No idea if our kids’ schools will have trips. I do want to take them all to the UK for my 40th birthday, which my DH totally doesn’t get (he hates the journey).

    Growing up my school had only a Canada trip in 8th grade – I skipped 8th grade and so didn’t go. No big loss, I had already gone with my Girl Scout troop a couple of years earlier. :) My French class went to France junior year of HS, and I went to the UK with my church choir when I was 7, 14, and 17 – all great trips. I also went to England for choir camp on my own at 15 and 16. My college singing group went to Asia on tour, which was also cool (although too hot for me!). I need to travel to the rest of Europe at some point!

  40. we’ll send him off periodically for more ice for the small-batch gin.

    They have people for that.

  41. @PTM – Side note – I just realized that The Villages, FL is a real place. A friend is there this week over spring break visiting relatives. I thought it was a fictitious stand-in for all FL retirement communities, like Del Boca Vista on Seinfeld. I was surprised that it was so far inland though.

  42. The only school trip I ever did was to DC. We rode on the Metro, walked around in the rain and shopped at a mall (I have no idea which one). It was super fun.

  43. Moxie,
    DD class stopped at Tysons on the way home. We live an hour away from the closest mall, so going to Tysons was a special treat for the kids.

  44. PTM – I know you say this, and it’s probably foolish to expect a straight answer, but are you actually planning on moving to a retirement community as soon as Jr. graduates high school?

  45. ‘“It cost $14,000”

    Yeah, this is so outside my world.”

    Yeah. To come up with the money, I’d probably resort to selling the car and making Junior walk everywhere forevermore.

  46. Re: small batch gin – I am recently returned from SFO, where I sampled for the first time No. 209 and Bummer & Lazarus. Forget wine tasting – gin tastings are my thing, apparently. Tried to ship some home, but we could only ship wine and beer. No hard alcohol.

    I’m all for school trips if it’s an experience they wouldn’t get with us, and if they’re decently affordable. NASA, yes. Camping in the GA mountains, yes. Outward Bound, yes. NYC, no.

  47. DH’s aunt and uncle moved to the Villages last year. Did you know there are particular flags you put on your golf cart to signify you’re interested in hooking up? Very efficient.

  48. To come up with the money, I’d probably resort to selling the car and making Junior walk everywhere forevermore.

    The both of you (cough) poor mouth (cough cough).

  49. I could never go on a trip with my best friend. She had three siblings and her parents would tentatively agree but then at the last minute couldn’t send her. It was very disappointing. One time, I said I am going whether she comes or not. I think this was the beginning of thinking about going on the trip as an experience for myself instead of being tied to my friend.

  50. Milo, I’ll give you an honest answer. “Yes.”

    And Ivy, yep, The Villages is really a huge area in Central Florida. It is vital in State politics because we all vote. It has little crime but a lot of STDs.

  51. “The both of you (cough) poor mouth (cough cough).”

    Maybe sometimes, but $14k for a three-week school trip? That really would be absurdly out of the question for us.

  52. The best trip that DD got to take was an overnight trip in 8th to Tangier island, an island located in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Only a select group of kids had the opportunity to go on this science based trip. They came back covered with mud and mosquito bites, but they all had a great time.

  53. That really would be absurdly out of the question for us.

    You’re on target to retire at 53 with $5 million and it’s absurdly out of the question?

  54. Milo said “Why are Washington DC’s monuments considered so worthwhile, but Mount Rushmore is apparently a joke to NYT subscribers?”

    And I said, “Huh?”

    If you live in NY, you are a lot closer to the DC monuments than you are to Mt Rushmore, so it is easier to have a class trip to DC. If we lived in a northern plains state, then the trip might be to Mt Rushmore.

  55. Sheep Farmer – I was thinking it was the layer cake island, but I was mistaken. Apparently very close, though.

  56. I was fortunate to be an exchange student in France and to be there so long that I actually could be a registered student at the lycee and get to know people. Kids can’t do that any more because of tight HS graduation requirements – heck, it was hard enough for me.
    The HS that I graduated from had no overnight trips. Parents largely could not afford to pay for them, and there were state policies about field trips in general – I think you had to have a school bus or some such – that made it hard to set them up. Our senior class trip was to an amusement park – we got home about 1am. There was a lot of drinking, and one girl fell and cut herself up badly.

  57. “Why are Washington DC’s monuments considered so worthwhile, but Mount Rushmore is apparently a joke to NYT subscribers?

    In DC you can see them all in an afternoon. IIRC if you want to see Mt. Rushmore it’s a hike to get there and it’s the only one.

  58. “and it’s absurdly out of the question?”

    Yes. Absolutely, positively out of the question. $14,000 can just about buy you a brand new car. It is not an amount for a ninth grader to spend being dragged around New Zealand.

    “And I said, “Huh?””

    Yeah, but the NYT travel writer we were discussing yesterday, regardless of point of origin or residence, would [probably] not go to DC and snicker at the Washington Monument or Jefferson Memorial or Lincoln Memorial, wondering why we even built some worthless obelisk or big granite building with a guy in a chair. But put the same people (plus TR) in the side of a mountain in South Dakota, that’s what they do.

  59. Absolutely, positively out of the question.

    Right, you don’t want to pay for it although you easily could. That doesn’t make it absurd.

  60. I wouldn’t spend $14k to send my teenager on a class trip. That is pretty crazy. And I have no problem taking my kids on nice trips. But $14k for one person to go on a trip that isn’t even a family trip is well beyond what I would do.

  61. 1. Familiar Faces

    In Keystone, 23 miles south of Rapid City, Mount Rushmore National Memorial (off Highway 244; 605-574-2524; http://www.nps.gov/moru; $8 parking fee; open daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.) looks just like it did when Cary Grant skittered across it in the 1959 movie ”North by Northwest.” What’s new are the base facilities, vastly expanded in recent years. They include a new visitors’ center, a museum and parking decks that make the attraction more accessible than it used to be. There’s also a new hiking trail and added seating. The best way to put a fresh face on the place is to stay for the nightly lighting ceremony, which starts at 9 p.m. in the summertime and includes a short film on the four presidents carved in Mount Rushmore, a talk by a ranger and the playing of the national anthem.

    I’m not getting any disparagement.

  62. “That doesn’t make it absurd.”

    Absudity is not dependent on ability to pay. I could buy that $1,000 ice cream sundae with the edible gold leaves, but it would still be absurd.

  63. Well, since we are public school, we don’t have much by way of big school trips — 6th or 8th graders (I forget which) have a @3-day “nature” trip that is sort of tied in with their science curriculum, and of course the day trips to local places of historical interest, but that’s about it.

    OTOH, we have a ton of those commercial entities that advertise “educational” trips through the school. We sent DD on the band trip last summer, because her band teacher was one of the chaperones/instructors, two friends were going, the dates/locations coordinated decently with our own summer plans, and the overall cost was sort of ridiculously reasonable for @3 weeks in Europe (and because, umm, Rhett reminded me that I could afford it and was being stupid to fixate on the money). It was very cool, and she loved it — they visited a bunch of small towns as well as the larger cities, and got to play for a bunch of locals who still have fond memories of the Allied troops from WWII and who turned out in pretty significant number (at least, given that we are talking about mediocre HS band concerts). It was also nice that it was a “no parent chaperone” trip, so the kids got the opportunity to learn to manage themselves without parental oversight. She will probably do it again summer after this, if we can work it around summer job issues.

    On the flip side, we have repeatedly said no to the $3500 “educational” spring break week in [insert Central/South American country here] options pushed by her Spanish techers. I don’t like things that purport to be educational (and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege), but where the “education” is basically “speak Spanish to people you meet hanging out on the beach.” If my kid is going to hang out on an awesome beach for a week, then dammit, I am going to be right there with her.

  64. Absudity is not dependent on ability to pay. I could buy that $1,000 ice cream sundae with the edible gold leaves, but it would still be absurd.

    It’s interesting that to you a trip to Australia and New Zeeland (in coach I might add!) is equivalent to a $1000 ice cream sundae.

  65. “A hole in the water into which you throw money on the other hand…”

    Nah, mine’s a patio with an outboard.

  66. My Dad and stepmom are pondering a trip to Mt Rushmore. It’s a good place to stop between Iowa and Yellowstone. I remember spending a couple days in Custer, SD, after our van broke down there.

    My grandparents went to Mt Rushmore on their 1937 honeymoon (when Mt Rushmore was still under construction) on a trip with my grandfather’s parents, who were too uncertain about their newfangled automobile to travel there alone but willing to fund the trip.

    For a lot of kids who go on the D.C. trip from here, it’s the farthest they’ve ever traveled and may be the only time they visit the East Coast or fly on a plane or ride non-bus public transit.

  67. “PTM – wouldn’t you rather spend 10 years island hopping the Keys and Bahamas?”

    Milo, no. Believe it or not, the Bahamas aren’t too welcoming to American retirees. The Keys, maybe, and I thought of it, but given my fondness for dive bars and Coors Light, might be an embarrassing death for me.

    And I think The Villages would be a hoot! (You kind of have to understand my sense of humor.) I also never said I’d stay there forever, but I think I would.

    But I do intend to leave South Florida on Junior’s graduation day. Really and truly.

  68. On the flip side, we have repeatedly said no to the $3500 “educational” spring break week in [insert Central/South American country here] options pushed by her Spanish techers. I don’t like things that purport to be educational (and charge an arm and a leg for the privilege), but where the “education” is basically “speak Spanish to people you meet hanging out on the beach.” If my kid is going to hang out on an awesome beach for a week, then dammit, I am going to be right there with her.

    That’s how they pitched DD’s Costa Rica trip, and I knew it wouldn’t be all that educational. But it wasn’t hanging out on the beach either (although they did go to the beach one day). They did visit a school and they saw quite a bit. I thought it was a good experience for her and certainly not something we will ever do as a family trip.

  69. I see I must amend my comment to Ivy on the other page, because there is now more to do at any Rushmore than state at it. Still doesn’t sound like more than an afternoon, or a day at most, and could be just one stop on a trip to national parks in Western states.

  70. OK, I wasn’t aware of the other conversation. And I had no idea that anyone snickered at Mt Rushmore. I always thought it was considered to be iconic. And you can combine it with a national park trip, just as you can combine the Lincoln Memorial with a trip to the museums or to Mt Vernon.

  71. And to be controversal, there is another kind of trip that I am really down on : the “volunteer” trips. They range from merely condescending (all those hordes of Amherst and Bryn Mawr and Yale students converging on Appalachia every spring to patch up houses and ogle the hillbillies) to destructive – orphanage trips are the worst – the last thing orphanage kids need are rotating faces that come in, pretend to love them for a week, and then disappear. That really contributes to the attachment issues that orphanage kids develop. Please give money instead.

  72. “I wouldn’t spend $14k to send my teenager on a class trip. That is pretty crazy. And I have no problem taking my kids on nice trips. But $14k for one person to go on a trip that isn’t even a family trip is well beyond what I would do.”

    I completely agree. There is no way in hell that is happening. I do think it is absurd. I also agree that the $3000 class trips to Europe seem very reasonable.

  73. Rhett – note that I don’t have one yet. But I’m wondering if a power cat like the one I linked for PTM might make more sense. To spend significant amounts of time living on it, it’s nice to be able to spread out. They’re available to configure with a master stateroom that spans the entire beam of the of main deck:

    My current boat has proven to me the superior utility of multihull design, even if it comes at the cost of classic lines and profile.

  74. I remember us kids used to get monument fatigue in the home country. There were tons of “this was commissioned by Emperor so and so in the so many centuries B.C.). We would look at the carving and wonder what was so special about it.

  75. @MM – I see your point, especially about the orphanages, but I think it depends on the organization too. I did the Habitat for Humanity “alternative” spring break one year (not that I had the cash to go to Mexico & drink anyway), and it was a great trip. I think Habitat is organized very well for short stints of service by groups of varied abilities too though. I’ve done volunteer days through various corporate programs over the years too. I guess it depends how much the community organizations in Appalachia depend on the free labor of elite college kids every March.

  76. This is making the school field trips around here look modest: the local zoo, an aquarium, the fire station….

    I’m sure it will get more expensive in middle school, when we used to do a trip to Canada (I think they ended that one several years ago).

    My big issue is deciding when I need to insist on chaperoning – DD’s allergies are serious enough that I don’t always want to make a teacher manage eating in a restaurant with her.

  77. I really enjoyed my Mt. Rushmore, so I don’t think all of the NYT subscribers are choosing DC monuments over MT. Rushmore. I know plenty of people that do find the time to visit, and do the whole Wall drug, Badlands, maybe some caves etc. There are some great places to visit on a family trip within driving distance of Mt Rushmore so I think it is a good trip.

    Rhett- I do not think she is a moron. I think she is dealing with the reality of the world that we live in. If you don’t believe it, then just red about the kids that were on that bridge in London last week. Some were on a school trip. It happens. You travel much more than the average person, and it is a part of your life. This is not true for many, many people. I happen to be comfortable with the risk of travel because of where I live, AND the fact that I travel for work/pleasure all of the time. I do not want to change my life because of terrorists so I have not stopped taking the subway or going to major cities and touristy places all of the time. I believe that the terrorists win if I live in fear, but there are other parents that don’t feel the same way as me. They do not want their children in major airports or cities when they are just with a teacher. Some of these kids are 11/12/13, and their parents are not comfortable. She was responding to the community concerns about safety and cost. I am not sure why you had to be so nasty about it.

  78. I can totally see the point about orphanages.

    DW and her brother did a number of those Appalachia trips throughout high school, and her brother was so into it, he was a supervisor/coordinator/whatever as a college student for multiple summers. I can understand how it could be undesirable to have the privileged kids “ogle the hillbillies.” On the other hand, as MM alludes to, a lot of houses need patching up. So, according to DW, they generally just provided a lot of free labor making the houses of poor, usually old people, livable. DW learned basic dry-walling and roofing.

    They were typically hosted by local churches, and would sleep on the floor in whatever they had for a meeting hall or “fellowship hall,” as the common parlance goes. Sometimes in high school gymnasiums. Often there was running water for showers, but not hot water.

    There are certainly worse things that they could be doing.

  79. Sky – does your DD have a 504 for her allergies? Even though our district is just running daily trips, the school nurse is required to accompany all of the kids with a 504 for allergies or Type 1 Diabetes. She goes on their bus, and eats all meals with them.

  80. But I’m wondering if a power cat like the one I linked for PTM might make more sense.

    It would seem a lot more comfortable. Especially if you use it more as a second home than a means of transport.

    Nothing absurd about it at all. Perfectly sensible:

  81. I haven’t read all the responses, but Psuedo’s first comment describes my family. We didn’t travel internationally when I was a kid, so my being an exchange student was a big deal to my family & they came to visit towards the end of the year. My dad was wistful at seeing me go, but I don’t recall apprehension from either parent. That may have opened the door, as my older sister later went on a group tour of Europe–5 countries, 2 or 3 weeks. When I was nearing college graduation, they asked if I’d be interested in the same. I was not, but they agreed to giving me the same budget for a couple of months visiting friends and doing some rough travel. The East German government gave me a scholarship for the month-long program there. I mentioned some mishaps from that trip on the travel adventures day. I probably learned more than my sister, and definitely learned different things, being on my own in countries where I didn’t know the language and had never visited before. With our little sister, the pendulum swung back hard. She went on some kind of “study” trip to the Galapagos or the Bahamas, and never talked about scientific learning on that trip. She was also on the planning committee for her college’s spring break trip to debauchery in some redneck Riviera in the Fla Panhandle.

    Our kids are like their mothers. My oldest sister visited me during the three years I lived in Berlin, but her MS/HS aged kids did not. One of them has since done a summer course in Spain and couple missions trips and is now in seminary. They’ve also taken a couple family trips to Europe. Mine has accompanied me on sojourns long and short in several different countries. My parents visited us in E Germany, but my sisters did not take advantage of what I would have seen as a golden opportunity to have my kid experience daily life in a place that’s not quite like home. My younger sister’s oldest did a mini UN/tour London trip as a HS junior and a tour of Paris with one of those for-profit organizations with girls from her school senior year spring break.

    The only school trip mine has been on was for about 4 nights in sixth grade. The schedule looked to me like there was a lot of driving in it. Some learning happened, and he missed me. It was good for him to have a positive experience away from me, with familiar kids and teachers from his school leading but people at the spots they went to doing the teaching. When he went to computer camp a week later, he called me every single night. Drove me nuts, but I don’t think “go away, you’re bugging me” is a message I want to send. (Half joking). Seriously, he has not always been able to tell me about problems that he should have, and too much info is better than too little.

  82. PTM – for $14,000, I would rather go on the trip to and would think you could do a trip for two to Australia and New Zealand for $14,000 (although maybe that’s light – would be an expensive flight and I don’t know the exchange rate currently).

    Good for you for planning to move on in 3.5 years. I like the Keys and the Bahamas but why limit yourself to that little speck of the country when there is so much more to explore.

  83. And FWIW, I’m not sure that all the hillbillies necessarily feel ogled. A couple years ago I did a weekend-long project with our church men’s group doing some much-needed work on this one guy’s house. God, what a disaster of just useless clutter and shit he had in there. We did new siding, windows and doors, so it was much more functional afterward, but it’s just depressing that the place was still filled with a bunch of crap, and therefore dirty inside.

    But my point was that he and I were talking during a break, and he was bitching to me about the worthless neighbors who are all “dependent on government handouts,” and also let their dogs bark day and night. It seems most people, ourselves included in many cases, have a remarkable ability to rationalize and re-categorize whatever assistance they might find themselves needing.

  84. How much fuel does that powercat burn? My dad stopped buying powerboats because all he could focus on was that running them was like letting 20’s fly out of your pocket and dumping them in the sea. I am hoping we enjoy sailing but I am a little worried about the unpredictability of the weather and being forced to just suffer through it at our slow pace.

  85. Oh yeah, Habitat for Humanity type stuff. Did one in college–to my home town. Niece did one practically back-to-back with her London trip.

  86. Mr WCE and I honeymooned in New Zealand for 2.5 weeks in 2001 for $5000 including flights from the West Coast. I went to Australia in 1998 for 2 weeks for ~$2k, with some free lodging with my sister.
    In New Zealand, we rented a car/stayed in hotels and did activities including a hot air balloon ride. I suspect $14k for a student to go to Australia reflects particular choices around transportation, accommodation and dining.

  87. “so long that I actually could be a registered student at the lycee and get to know people. Kids can’t do that any more because of tight HS graduation requirements “. Then why not graduate from the lycee?

  88. Mia – I’m trying to look at that, but I don’t initially see a lot of hard numbers. I see some reports and articles suggesting that they’re pretty efficient at sailing speeds. Basically, anything is efficient at 6 or 7 knots.

    Your dad was a sport fisherman guy, right? He was probably just driving too fast. but those boats are soooo powerful (overpowered, imo, but different strokes…).

  89. e. They do not want their children in major airports or cities when they are just with a teacher.

    Do you think that’s a statistically valid fear?

  90. My colleague was telling me about her college DD’s service trip. It was as an assistant in a hospital overseas. It was in their country of origin so though her DD looked like a native, she wasn’t. She learned a ton (she is thinking of med school). My colleague was worried because it was far different from the nice visits with family that her kid was used to. She also bought her daughter tons of medical supplies to take there.

  91. Even with a 504, the nurse would not go on the trips – it is just the teacher and parent chaperones, even for much more seriously ill kids. We had one incident when she was younger where a classmate brought nuts into a dark theater performance and was about to eat them next to her when I noticed. Especially in the early years, I think it’s too much to expect the teacher to supervise 20+ kids at a meal.

  92. “after spending all day speaking a foreign language and with a foreign family it is nice to speak English ”

    Back in the dark days when I was an exchange student, my family called once a month. They got a laugh out of my inability to remember English words.

  93. PTM is that a private school? A $14k trip seems as if it would not work in a public school.

  94. “She doesn’t want to worry about bus crashes in Costa Rica or terrorists in any location.”
    By that logic, my kid couldn’t go to NYC. I’m more worried about random violence affecting him here than in Northern Europe.

  95. could do a trip for two to Australia and New Zealand for $14,000

    Also Australia is the size of the continental US so if you wanted to see Melbourne, Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, etc. that a lot of flights inside Australia. Sydney to Carins is the same distance as Boston to Miami for example.

  96. I’m surprised about Lauren’s school eliminating all school trips but I can see how the superintendent would feel compelled because of the community’s opposition. Why should she take the risk to her career? I wonder if other local schools have done the same thing.

    The idea of high schoolers going on school trips with no chaperones is surprising. Has anyone seen this happen recently?

  97. Rhett, you are surely aware that the answer to your question at 2:15 is ABSOLUTELY NOT, right?

  98. The church connected to the elementary/MS my kids went to does “mission trips” starting in middle school and has a variety of things up through older adults both in the US and abroad. While none are the “orphanage” type trips, a few a close in my mind. Others, are similar to the habitat for humanity – the local organization can fund a lot more materials/equipment if they can draw on “free” labor – and all involved are on the same page with this reality. My kids were never interested it participating. We are not church goes, but I think it mainly had to do with which kids went.

  99. Hijack….It has come to my attention that middle DD knows absolutely no U.S. History. She is in APUSH right now, and the teacher has resigned, and while the teacher shows up and collects a paycheck, there is no instruction going on and likely none has gone on this year. I don’t expect DD to pass the APUSH test, but she needs to have a basic understanding of U.S. History, just to be a functional citizen. Any suggestions on what we could have her read over the summer to become a not completely clueless person?

    Indications of ignorance….could not put WW1, WWII and the Great Depression in chronological Order. Did know where Yugoslavia was and its import in WWII or the Balkan issue. Didn’t know when the Cold War was or who it was with. She’s not dumb, she just hasn’t been taught any history and while we realized the teacher was worthless, we didn’t realize she was this worthless.

  100. The district DOES send chaperones, but they are all paid chaperones. Teachers, and administrators from the school go on the trip. There are still trips, but they are not overnight trips.

  101. In roughly 1995, we did a month in Australia for a bit under $5K each. That included a lot of flights, because it is huge (US to Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide to Alice Springs to Coober Pedy to Brisbane to Lady Elliott Island to Brisbane to Sydney to US) plus lodging, food, a few trinkets to bring home, and fun things to do. We did some cheaper things, like staying in some B&Bs and a “motel chain” with kitchenettes and did some eating in. Those are harder to do with a group.

  102. Pseudonym, the stories about your kids’ school are always startling. It really needs to be nuked from orbit.

  103. Pseudonym, the stories about your kids’ school are always startling. It really needs to be nuked from orbit.

    You know, it is worse than the one I went to, but not much worse, if at all, than the high school DH went to. I really think my kids experience is pretty consistent with public schools outside of Totebaggerland.

  104. Well, 100 years ago, my USAPH class used a much earlier version of this textbook:

    InMyDay it was still authored by Thomas A Bailey, a conservative Stanford History professor. My dad actually had him for a professor in college and hated him. Nevertheless, it seems to still be used. Also InMyDay it came with a workbook, so we’d read a chapter a week and then do the workbook exercises. We also did a ton of other stuff like read primary sources, and have classroom debates. But grinding through the text and then the workbook ought to provide a decent overview.

  105. Pseudo – Get an APUSH review book ASAP! Our school uses a review book as the main text book. Agree, it may be too late to do well on the test, but I think that book will get what you need.

    Furthering the hijack – DD#1 took a full AP Physics 1 practice test yesterday. Teacher has been predicting a 4 for DD since beginning of 2nd Quarter. DD was thrilled because they graded their own, while she got a 4, she said she was 1 point away from a 5. She was sort of letting up on studying as she has been in the solid 4 range on other partial tests. Now, she thinks she might be able to get a 5, so she had her nose in the prep book last night. The first two weeks of May are going to be nuts with this kid taking 7 AP tests.

  106. Pseudonym, Mr WCE and I both read Paul Johnson’s “A History of the American People” on said trip to New Zealand and enjoyed it.

  107. Lauren, whether my kid were to be hit by random violence or somebody like that guy who drove several hours to fill out his premeditated plan to kill someone in NYC so people would start acting like he thinks they should, he’d still be dead.
    As far as the victim goes, that was random violence. The terrorist knew nothing about him, had never met him before. He was going about his usual day and was killed by somebody trying to make a point with his dead body.

  108. Things sure have changed in recent years.

    Since I grew up in the DC area I never took the obligatory school trip to Washington, and there weren’t any offered. There were exchange programs in my day, but I never applied for any and I was convinced we were not very well off because of the depression era mentality at home. I went to church youth conferences overnight in high school (Liberal Religious Youth – Unitarian. I have ranted a couple of times about my distaste for that choice of my Mom’s.) I believe I went to Canada with her on a Tauck bus tour in high school and my first time in Europe at 20 was to study German in a summer program. Life was different back then, and she was not adventurous. My own kids didn’t go on any organized school trips other than one Model UN and one museum overnight weekend. Only the two younger ones did study abroad for a semester, and one of them was on a full scholarship.

  109. Ahhh the American Pageant. When they decided at my high school in Bethesda, MD (!!!) that they couldn’t fix my schedule or be bothered to instruct me in US History because I had been plopped as a new entrant to the district into the remedial class, I was sent to the library for the second semester and told to read that as my text (no testing) and write a term paper each quarter. I wrote one on conscientious objection in the Civil War and another on John Reed and the American Communist Party. And nobody cared.

  110. Pseudo, I agree with you that’s par for the course in most US schools. A friend in Berlin recently posted that his middle school -age class was meeting outside while discussing one of several philosophies of how societies are/should be ordered. It about killed me. I wish I could get my kid to read Howard Zinn or maybe Don Mitchell’s People’s Geography! He isn’t interested, so I pick up on what I can. We happened onto a BBC radio program about Ayn Rand recently. I learned some things, and when it was over could give him some context about the Russian Revolution and some of the people/movements the program mentioned she influenced. It certainly is not comprehensive, but it’s something.

  111. Meme, I’m having difficulty squaring “depression era mentality” and “Tauck tour”.

  112. S & M, I was just asking because the crime rates/prevention of incidents in NYC are fairly good as compared to other major cities. The murder rates and rates for other major crimes are much lower as compared to some other US cities. It is also a very diverse city, so I wasn’t sure if you were implying that certain people would stand out and be attacked just because of the color of their skin.

  113. Tauck tours back then were very basic. Just hours on a bus with mostly elderly people and sightseeing when we got there. That was the only vacation we ever took other than visiting family. It was a huge special treat that my mom had to work herself up to for years. By way of illustration, I had to borrow a dress from a neighbor for my senior prom. It was yellow dotted swiss with an olive green sash and cut like the gown Amanda wears to greet the Gentleman Caller in The Glass Menagerie. I also arrived at Big Ivy with a suitcase of clothes I had made myself from McCall’s patterns, but unbeknownst to me she could afford to pay the tuition. The depression era mentality was excessive thrift, fear of financial ruin, not actual financial distress.

  114. Lauren,

    I would add that the real risks the kids in Westchester face are almost all internal: car accidents, prescription drugs, alcohol and suicide. To the degree that those are caused by a need to alleviate boredom or by a sever lack of perspective, I feel that exposing kids to other people and other places is very valuable. To pull them in and focus so intensely on the internal can do a lot of harm. Far more harm than is likely to befall them by venturing to London.

  115. CofC, yes it is a private school. Judging by the parking lot, there are a lot of wealthy kids there. Also quite a few not so wealthy on state scholarships for special needs kids. We are really neither, refusing to waste a year of my kid’s educating proving that there was nothing they could do for him. Rhett, and Milo and all the people who are coughing around me really ought to see the house we are living in up here in North Warehouseville if they think we are wealthy.

    The kids on the trip are going to all sorts of places, requiring lots of air travel once there. It is a very high end trip, but they see many places and things.

    And all you folks who think I’m retiring to a boat, you really have me misfigured. I am no Milo. I know better to get nautical except under the supervision of a licensed captain. I have no sense of direction. I can get lost on US 1, which is a straight road down here. If you put me at sea, or in a harbor or even a bathtub, Id be on Gilligan’s Island for the rest of my days dying from thirst and the DTs most likely.

  116. Sky, I agree with you about that it is too much for the teacher to supervise. I would probably go on the trip if I were in the same situation as you. It is s interesting that the interpretation of the requirements for each child can vary so much by state, or even district by district within a state.

  117. PTM – I’ll exchange house pics with you on email. I wasn’t coughing, but you’ve made me curious about North Warehouseville? Or is it north Warehouseville? Is it its own incorporated municipality? :)

  118. Milo,

    It looks ideal in terms of comfort and practicality. I’m not familiar with that world but I assume a fair number of people have something like that instead of a condo in FL. It seems so much more appealing to me than a house on the Cape or in Naples in that it can be on the Cape or Naples or the Bahamas or in any number of other places.

  119. “It is s interesting that the interpretation of the requirements for each child can vary so much by state, or even district by district within a state.”

    I suspect that the interpretation of the requirements vary according to the likelihood of lawsuit. At my son’s elementary school, the District had no qualms about telling parents that it was too difficult to hire a speech therapist for years on end. So, no speech therapy for anyone. Someone (okay, me) poionted out that there were legally obligated to provide services and that the nice people at the state department of ed were happy to file complaints on our behalf, and that they could be on hook for extensive legal costs. Then it was no longer to difficult to hire a therapist.

  120. ” It seems so much more appealing to me than a house on the Cape or in Naples in that it can be on the Cape or Naples or the Bahamas or in any number of other places.”

    Yeah, but it can’t get to The Villages!

  121. Pseudonym, I think your school is bottom quarter but not bottom decile. The percentage of free/reduced price lunches in my district suggests that my district is more representative of the middle. My high school was bottom third for Iowa, which is still part of the middle nationally.

  122. Rhett, I agree with you.

    I’m just saying that some people feel more comfortable traveling with their own kids. They don’t want to pay to send them to those same places on a school trip, or they can’t afford to send them.

  123. Yeah, but it can’t get to The Villages!

    It might be able to there are rivers in the area. How navigable the Withlachoochee River is I don’t know.

  124. Rhett – I agree. Where my parents have their beach house, a number of people have boats at the club in lieu of a second home.

  125. Milo – yes, I agree they are overpowered. A bunch of guys measuring the size of their boats and the roar of their engines! Unlikely for any of them to go at a speed that is efficient if their friend will get there faster as a result.

  126. One of my kids is really into history and both of my boys love the Nathan Hale graphic novels to explain history. I did not get a great academic lesson in history but I did learn how to deal cards from my vegas blackjack-dealer turned history teacher. Was joking with my kids this morning that collectively we are a strong team for trivia as we each have our topic we enjoy and none overlap.

    Pseudonym – is the principal or assistant principal concerned at all about the lack of prep for APUSH? Aren’t the schools results going to stink for AP Pass rates?

  127. Pseudonym, if you want her to have a sense of the flow of history, she could do a lot worse than listening to the audiobooks of Joy Hakim’s A History of Us. It’s actually aimed more at the middle school level, but it’s not exactly a textbook — it prizes narrative over intense detail — and it’s really listenable. I’m thinking she could fill in with AP review books, but that would give her the instinctive sense of what led to what that you’re finding she lacks. And she’d find it more engaging!

    http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_pd_Histor_c2_1_auth/158-9756542-2036118?searchAuthor=Joy+Hakim

    I suspect college US history courses through EdX or Coursera could work well for you too. Or if you want to email me (my handle at gmail) I would be willing to let you borrow our Great Courses Plus access to check out the US history courses, or you can just do a trial month yourself (it’s down to $15/month now, first month free). The courses all come with lecture notes and recommended texts so if you want to take it more seriously you can.

  128. WCE – I agree that your town is in the middle. The district most like it in eastern MA (based on percentage of free/reduced price lunch) is Framingham, which is a middle class small city with pockets higher and lower. My town is 12 %. My grandkids town is 6%. Boston is 100% – if the percentage goes high enough, the federal lunch program stops requiring an application and just provides free breakfast and lunch to all students – it takes less time and administration – they just have to memorize their student number.

  129. Back in my day, the only history requirement for graduation from a KY high school was a year of Civics (9th grade) and a year of US history. I took my US history as a correspondence course because it wouldn’t fit my schedule. God, was that boring. Every week, I would get 10 questions to answer – they could be answered by quickly skimming the text.

  130. Lauren, I don’t have any problem believing the second sentence in your 3:27 post, comparing NYC to other cities in the US, but do you have any numbers to back up your first sentence in that post, comparing NYC to other major cities? I’m sure Johannesburg would have a higher homicide rate, but aren’t we talking about N Europe?

  131. HM,

    Did not know that there was a Great Courses streaming option. My dad uses the DVDs to teach classes at his retirement community, but if he had streaming access he would have a lot more choices. Do you like this service?

    Also, if you have Audible, how do you like that?

  132. On the question of why school trips go to the Lincoln Memorial instead of Mt. Rushmore, it is because they’re going to the nation’s capital, not to one specific monument. My kids’ middle school has a trip every couple of years to DC (not the whole school, just those that sign up). We’re obviously not close to DC, although it may still be easier to transport and house a group of middle schoolers to there than to SD. But they’re going as an opportunity to see the capital, which may be the only time many of them do; to learn about government with kids from other states, see Congress, go to a museum or two, and also see things like the monuments and other landmarks. It’s a way of focusing on the social studies / government curriculum and reaffirming that they’re part of this big diverse country. I don’t see how visiting South Dakota would be at all a comparable trip.

  133. My DD is using the American Pageant. Very emotive language.

    So…she already has it? Is there some reason you don’t want to use that?

  134. Pseudonym, the Great Courses site is *very* cagey about promoting its streaming sibling. I think it’s a form of legal price discrimination — they don’t want the retirees who frequently buy the DVDs or digital downloads to know there’s a streaming option, but at the same time they don’t want to lose the younger customers who expect everything to be streaming on an all-you-can-eat plan and are anchoring their price expectations off Netflix rather than off the cost of a full college course.

    Anyway, I very much like the streaming version of Great Courses because I’m watching it recreationally and I like to be able to jump around from topic to topic depending on what I feel like, and pull up an individual lecture here or there when relevant to an upcoming trip or a kid project. We also have been doing the Audible annual package for years and the kids love their audiobooks. Since we’re an Amazon Echo household, they can just ask Amazon/Alexa to read them whatever audiobook they’re on at bedtime (hopefully with a sleep timer set, though there are mornings where I get up for my early morning ablutions and hear a Pern book still running in the bedroom next door). Pre-Echos, we would listen in the car, via phones / tablets, and so on. When we were driving all over the mountain west for our trip a couple years ago we were listening to books on the geology of the area, Brighty of the Grand Canyon (a big hit!), stories about mountain men and the Indian wars and the range wars, and so on and so forth.

  135. Mia – my post isn’t going through with a link. There’s one .pdf I found about delivering a 30-foot catamaran 900 miles and observing a phenomenal 3.68 nmpg at 14 knots. Even if exaggerated, that’s a great sign.

    Google “trawlers Midwest save fuel buy a catamaran” to read it.

    And here’s a discussion begun with the provocative question of whether it’s even worth it to purchase sails, since diesel’ing at the sailing speed of six knots is so efficient in comparison.

    The other commenters don’t think his numbers are unrealistic:

    http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f48/fuel-consumption-of-40ft-cat-or-why-buy-sails-100932.html

  136. On violence. I grew up where there was violence but predictable violence in the pre terrorist days. There were riots, strikes, religious killings, political killings but these were targeted at specific targets. Also when there was a riot or strike people stayed well aware from that area. School kids easily identified by their uniforms traveling with their teachers were in a protected category.
    Unpredictable terror of today is different. Very random. You needn’t be in a big city. Any place can be a target.

  137. My DD had a similar APUSH teacher–phoned it in from February on. (DS had an amazing teacher). Both kids studied through a course on iTunes U from UC Berkeley–a woman taught it, don’t remember her name. She was amazing at synthesizing themes. It was something they could listen to in the car. And the John Green videos on YouTube.

  138. “No idea if our kids’ schools will have trips. I do want to take them all to the UK for my 40th birthday, which my DH totally doesn’t get (he hates the journey).”

    The entire school?

  139. “Any suggestions on what we could have her read over the summer to become a not completely clueless person?”

    I suggest she not wait until the summer. If she has an APUSH textbook, that would be a good place to start. There’s still time for her to do some preparation for the test.

    “She’s not dumb, she just hasn’t been taught any history and while we realized the teacher was worthless, we didn’t realize she was this worthless.”

    I hope one thing she gets out of this is that her education is ultimately her responsibility.

  140. HM,
    Thanks, that was very helpful. I am the only potential Audible customer in the household. I have been spending a lot of solo time in the car, and I love the free library audiobooks, but the selection is limited and the two-week borrow period means that I don’t always get to finish a book before it disappears. But I don’t really feel the need to *own* the book after I’ve listened to it, and sometimes I need three books in one month instead of just one. So I wish that Audible worked like Netflix or Spotify.

  141. “The first two weeks of May are going to be nuts with this kid taking 7 AP tests.”

    No SAT subject tests on the Saturday between the two AP test weeks? At my kids’ school, a lot of kids take subject tests then.

    If she’s not yet a senior, and considering some schools that require or ‘recommend’ subject tests, that Saturday, or the June test date, might be good times to take the subject tests, while the material is still fresh in her mind.

  142. Pseudonym – is the principal or assistant principal concerned at all about the lack of prep for APUSH? Aren’t the schools results going to stink for AP Pass rates?

    Hahahahaha

    No nonnative Spanish speaker has ever passed the AP Spanish test.
    It has been a few years since anyone passed AP Calc
    Kids do pass English, but it helps to do copious reading/writing on their own.

    Until this year, there were no other AP classes.

  143. I think it’s a terrible idea to start a review book now! That is memorization for the sake of memorization, with minimal context. Not great if you’ve never seen the material, useless if you aren’t taking the test. Some alternative form of education (TedX history, Khan, People’s History of the US, Great Courses), is likely to provide her with fact fluency so that she knows what the Vietnam war was, a few theories behind what drove the civil war, and most of the ammendments to the constitution. I got a five on the test and still don’t know what the Korean War was. I doubt US history credit is actually applicable against most college courses (unlike more standard intro sciences or calculus). If you needed the credit for upper division classes, having learned the material by cramming from a review book seems like a recipe for disaster. If you don’t need the specific credit, she can take the course in college if it interests her (most college don’t have a US history graduation requirement, I suspect).

    It’s the end of March. What are the goals for her now? Pass the test? Learn History? Become a self-learner?

  144. It’s the end of March. What are the goals for her now? Pass the test? Learn History? Become a self-learner?

    It would be nice if she could pass the test. At some point she needs some understanding of U.S. history, if just some she doesn’t come off as an idiot.

  145. Good point, Ada.

    I’ll ask DS, who took APUSH last year, if reading and understanding, say, the first half of the text would give her a shot at passing (i.e., getting at least a 3) the AP exam.

    Does she have the option to not take the exam?

  146. “she doesn’t come off as an idiot.”

    Probably not so much an idiot as very ignorant, the type of person Jay Leno used to look for for his Jay Walking feature.

  147. My children have done very few field trips this year (early elementary) – 1 for the littlest, none for the older. I think the barrier is that it gets in the way of all the “important learning” they need to do. We don’t have time for guest speakers from the fire department or police officers either. We are at a school with a ton of PTA funding and very high test scores. I get the sense that the culture of the school discourages too much time spent of such “frivolous” things as children’s theater or waste management facilities (so universally awesome to 7 year olds). A friend who teaches in the school district recently left the field – his well-funded and high-testing school felt he was pulling his 3rd graders out too often (about once per month). I know that wasn’t the only reason (or probably not the primary), but it was on the list.

    This is one of the reasons we’re homeschooling (-ish) next year – If you can’t do these kind of things in early elementary, when do you have time? There are a lot of homeschool groups around here that organize trips to meet the minimums for behind the scenes visits at places like the orchestra and the zoo.

  148. So if goal #1 is to gain an understanding of US History, and goal #2 is to pass the test, I think my earlier suggestion makes sense. Start plowing through the text now, but with the goal of understanding what she reads, as opposed to just reading as much as she can.

    It probably would get her closer to both goals to read and understand part of the textbook than to power through the whole book without remembering much of it.

    My guess is that a good understanding of half the book gives her a chance to get a 3.

    If she’s not a senior, could she not take the test this year, and self-study, starting now, through the summer, then review next spring break, and take the test next year?

  149. Why is it nice if she passes the test? Because it’s been paid for? Because it will improve her chances at admission to college? Because she is considering colleges that will give her credit for USH?

    I hope the tone doesn’t come off wrong, but I’m failing to see how that is an important end goal so that it warrants 5 to 6 weeks of cramming. “Not sounding like an idiot about USH is a good goal”, but there are lots of less painful ways to achieve that – like taking an intro USH course in college. Or watching some great documentaries.

  150. “Where are these kids coming to DC going shopping?”

    DS went on a east coast trip, the summer after 5th grade with a bunch of schoolmates, that was tied to the US history curriculum of 5th and 6th grades.

    Many of the lunch stops were at shopping malls with food courts, and apparently most of the kids grabbed fast food for lunch and would spend most of those stops shopping.

    We opted not to send DD on a similar trip. Instead, we made a family trip out of it. We didn’t see as many places as she would’ve (no stop in Philly or Gettysburg), but we spent more time at the places we visited (especially museums), and she did get to tour some colleges.

  151. “a few theories behind what drove the civil war”

    Examiner: All right, here’s your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?
    Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter…
    Examiner: Wait, wait… just say slavery.
    Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

  152. I would suggest reading good historical fiction (Totebaggers are clutching their pearls !) or watching well made series/documentaries.
    I have gotten more out of these as an overall education than reading the dry facts.
    For the test, I would recommend reviewing the textbook. I think having a discussion with parents/siblings on each topic will help instead of panic stricken studying.

  153. DD, OT, when rising 6th grade DS went on his trip, he didn’t yet have his own phone, so he took my flip phone in case of emergency. The chaperones supposedly allowed the kids a short window each night to use their phones to call or text families, but I think DS used that window about two times.

    The chaperones had our contact info, so we took that as a sign that DS was enjoying himself, which he confirmed on his return.

    Last year he took a couple of school-connected trips to Asia, and both times we had minimal direct contact from him, which we took to be good signs. Also, for the first trip, we saw some photos of him on the event website, so we knew he was OK, and for the second trip, we saw him in some photos posted to the school website.

  154. Meme will be happy to learn that, according to DW, our dishwasher is slowly leaking. Maybe I’ll get a new one.

    Any middle-class recommendations from, let’s say, Home Depot or Sears? Don’t tell me about Bosch or Subzero — we’re not that kind of people. What’s the Toyota Camry of dishwashers?

  155. We have a Kenmore Elite that works okay. I think DH got it from Home Despot. I’d also check out Costco.

  156. Assume that your dishwasher will last two to three years and budget your time and energy searching for one accordingly. Our last kitchen aid lasted 13 months.

  157. Interesting. This current cheap Hotpoint? is 11 years old. Although we do rinse things prior to washing, so that may have helped.

  158. @RMS – exactly. Slavery! and Economics! But mostly Slavery!

    In mid range dishwashers, one of the biggest sorting mechanisms is metal interior vs plastic. According to Sears dude, metal is a lot better. I’m sure there’s a good reason. Our Kenmore elite is super quiet and we are relatively happy about it. However, the normal cycle time is very long (4h) – probably a water saving feature? Also, things need a fairly good pre-wash. I’m not sure that any mid-range dishwashers get dried oatmeal or egg yolk off plates.

    Our biggest mistake in recent appliance purchasing was not paying attention to “smudge-proof” stainless steel. It is what we’ve had before and I thought all stainless stuff was now mostly plastic coated to keep you from seeing EVERY DAMN FINGERPRINT. Turns out, they’re not. This is not terribly apparent in the appliance store.

  159. Milo, when we were looking, we saw a number of Bosch dishwashers at Sears. They had models in the same price range as Whirlpools and KitchenAids.

    I’m thinking Toyota:Lexus::Whirlpool:KitchenAid.

  160. Milo, if there’s a Sears Outlet near you, you might want to check there. Or you can check their website.

  161. Milo, our Kenmore Elite is 11 years old, functions OK and it runs at least 1x/day. Cost is comparable to a Bosch at our local independent appliance store, I think. I’m a fan of my local independent appliance store, which stocks parts for what it sells and stops selling anything that doesn’t work well.

  162. Tangential hijack– The two current leading college choices for DS are not located near airports with direct flights from here. So, I’m thinking we might fly to an airport some distance from whichever college he ends up choosing, then rent a car and do a short version of a Griswold-type trip to get to his college.

    The leading contenders are both in the Northeast; I’m open to suggestions of possible stops on such a trip. I’m particularly interested in places that are easily accessible by car, but not train, as I don’t think we’ll have many, if any, trips to the Northeast in which we’d rent a car.

  163. “metal is a lot better. I’m sure there’s a good reason.”

    I was wondering the same.

    Our Hotpoint can get dried oatmeal off. It looks like it’s $269. Maybe I should just buy the same one. :)

    I’ll probably get black, to go with the other appliances. Stainless is so bourgeois.

  164. “The leading contenders are both in the Northeast; I’m open to suggestions of possible stops on such a trip.”

    The Northeast is a big place, Finn, with a number of colleges.

  165. Ada, I didn’t get it before, but now I do. Great that you can make that choice.

    On the topic of “waste management facilities (so universally awesome to 7 year olds)”

    My son could hear the garbage truck before I could. We had a route in the apartment complex to meet the truck as it emptied seven dumpsters around the periphery. There were a couple times when I couldn’t find him & then noticed the screen door was open. He was following the garbage truck. We moved from there when he was 2.5. The garbage truck driver cried and brought every kind of swag a waste management company could have. I still know his name. A year or so later, DS was delighted when we drove to a hill slightly above the dump to watch the trucks come in and unload while we ate our lunch.

  166. Wow so much today.

    RE: Mount Rushmore. I think it is a big disappointment for many people. The pictures make it look a lot grander than it is in real life. That gravel slope up to it takes away from the idea of something carved into a mountain. DC Monuments look like what they look like in the pictures, plus they are so beautifully laid out it is nice to see in person. Every time I drive the parkway in the night and I look over and see the Jefferson, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln I appreciate it.

    $14 K for one week in Australia? THe most crazy thing about it is that it is a week. I mean it is a continent. The flight is like 17 hours. A week there, I don’t care how fancy would be like the amazing Race. He’s not missing anything PTM. You two could have a fabulous trip for that same amount and take much more time.

    @Milo, we have a Kitchen Aid that we are very pleased with.

  167. “terror of today is different. Very random. You needn’t be in a big city. Any place can be a target.”
    No. Rates of violence differ between places and, as you note, by personal characteristics.

  168. “$14 K for one week in Australia?”

    I believe PTM mentioned it was 3 weeks, including spring break.

  169. Pseudo, if her goal truly is not to sound ignorant, then there’s no hurry. She can start reading (of watching or listening or whatever) after the school year ends, and make it a long term habit. Her chances of passing the test by reading furiously now depend, I think, on how interesting she finds the reading. A person can suck in an amazing amount of info on a topic they’re excited about, but trying to force a bunch into your brain short term? Unlikely.

  170. They may have changed the AP US History exam sometime in the last 40 years, but it used to involve essays that required you to synthesize the information you’d studied and say something bright about it, and bring in your reading from original sources. Seems really hard to do in just six weeks of cramming, but that could just be me.

  171. What you and your DW want to target is a 48 – 50 dB sound level. My Miele is verrry quiet and it is the low end model – 46 dB. Sears has a whirlpool this week at 499 that is 48 dB. The 300 white super basic model is 63 dB – that is probably quieter than your old one, but too noisy to run while watching a movie or trying to talk. You also probably want a traditional dishwasher that blows hot air afterward to dry the dishes thoroughly. Many steel interior (European style) don’t have that option, hence the bits of water on the cups or plastic dishes. And the Sears Bosch is not the same product as the fancy store Bosch.

  172. The new induction range arrives Friday. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many pots and pans I have that are cast iron, but I did have to order a lot of new stuff. (Stock pot with pasta insert, 3 saucepans, a deep saute pan with domed lid – aka chicken fryer, omelet pan with non stick interior) I was a great shopper – figuring out exactly which pans I would need, finding the size to fit the “burners” on the new stovetop, picking one specific line (All Clad d5 brushed) and then ferreting out the lowest price with this week’s special, hidden coupons, etc., for each one. A set would not have met my needs. One unexpected new pan possibly needed was a roaster – you need induction ready to be able to make gravy on the stove. As I was counting that particular cost (I decided Chinese steel would be okay for that occasional use), DD said, Mom – you have had those two roasting pans since before I was born . (I probably bought them at Woolworths). I guess after 40 plus years I can let ’em go.

  173. “Why is it nice if she passes the test?”

    I agree with Ada. Our university, like others, is moving to abolish AP credit for core requirements, and there is a growing realization that these watered-down, factoid-heavy courses taught by high school teachers are simply not equivalent to true college-level courses. I would be far more concerned about the abject ignorance (which is not her fault, of course) than the AP Test score. If she is forced to take the test despite the actionable teacher malpractice going on in her classroom, she can take a stab at the answers and just accept the 2 or 3 score she gets, making sure to explain the circumstances with a note on her Common App when she applies to colleges. Ask the guidance counselor to provide the same explanation in his/her letter.

    The AP tests are just not worth the unpleasant cram-a-thon that will be required here.

    On dishwashers, we recently purchased a Kitchen-Aid in the $800 price range that we got for $550 because Best Buy met a local competitor’s price. It replaced our 8-year old KA, which was not performing well (and which gave me pause about buying another), but it’s super-quiet and, best of all, has an Express Wash cycle that is done in about an hour. I liked the Bosch line, but none of them have a heated drying cycle, which is important when you have guests and are running the machine multiple times a day. If I wanted to dry the dishes before putting them away, I wouldn’t be buying a dishwasher in the first place.

  174. S & M,

    This is an interactive table that you can use to compare homicide rates. NYC is one of the lowest, and it is also in the low and stable category of all 50 cities.

    I wasn’t talking about cities in Europe. You made a comment about NYC, and I am familiar with crime and murder statistics for NYC as compared to other major cities in the US.

  175. Assume that your dishwasher will last two to three years and budget your time and energy searching for one accordingly. Our last kitchen aid lasted 13 months.

    Wow. We have a Bosch – we’re not “that kind of people” either, but our primary criteria was the noise level because our kitchen is right next to the family room. We’ve had it for about 6 or 7 years and it’s still going strong. And it’s unbelievably quiet. The downside is it has less space because of the extra insulation, but it’s well worth the tradeoff.

  176. I’m pretty sure the Common App doesn’t ask for AP scores. Many kids do choose to self-report.

  177. “the abject ignorance (which is not her fault, of course)”

    To a certain extent, it’s not her fault, but we all have chances to learn US history in bits and pieces outside of APUSH class.

  178. The only direct flights that I’m aware of to the northeast from here are to NYC (not sure which airport).

    Possible college locations in the greater Boston, NYC, and Philly areas.

    Milo, that’s the sort of thing I’m thinking of. A bit off the beaten path and thus perhaps not easy to get to without a car.

    I think it was CoC that had mentioned Watkins Glen in past discussion. That’s another example.

    Cooperstown comes to mind, but the rest of the family is probably not interested enough. Maybe Niagara Falls?

  179. Wow, I missed a fun day!

    Finn, Ds and I went to Niagra Falls and the Erie Canal when we went to my cousin’s wedding in Buffalo. I loved both of them, especially Niagra Falls. I thought if would touristy but the park around it (on the US side, at least) was beautiful, almost like a country version of the mall area in Washington.

    That is a bit of a drive, though if you are primarily going to be on the coast

  180. Niagra Falls

    I was very underwhelmed. I thought it was going to be much much bigger.

    Milo,

    Do you know they now make heat pump clothes dryers?

    Ada,

    Are you sure you’re not overfilling the dishwasher?

  181. Finn – there are excellent HSS colleges in the BOS-WAS corridor that I would enthusiastically recommend to the children of non price conscious friends from the region but that for even an unexpectedly solvent but far away Totebagger I would not pay full price for over a full boat at USC. I think I know which Philly college from earlier posts and an old friend’s son is a recent PBK grad, and a computer science grad student now. I am drawing a complete blank at NYC. HM knows how to reach me if you are interested.

  182. Bless your heart, Finn. Niagra Falls is not a stop on a drive down the East Coast. Without a plane, it’s pretty tough to do in a day trip from NYC.

  183. Lauren, the table or link didn’t show up in your post. As I said before, if it only shows US cities, then you don’t need to convince me that NYC is on the safer end; I agree with you, and believe data support that.

    This is the only comment that I can find that I made about NYC

    “She doesn’t want to worry about bus crashes in Costa Rica or terrorists in any location.”
    By that logic, my kid couldn’t go to NYC. I’m more worried about random violence affecting him here than in Northern Europe.

  184. Finn, so you’ll fly into DC or NYC and then drive to Boston or Philly, and are looking for stops along the way? Can you say any more about what kinds of stuff you want to do? Things we liked on the road from Dulles to Philly include Meadowlark Botanical Garden, Colvin Mill Run, and this former amusement park https://glenechopark.org/ But you might want to see the G. Bush and CIA museums, or more obscure places http://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/maryland/places

  185. Finn – I was being a little sarcastic about the Yankee Candle factory village whatever. But at one point, DW and I were driving by, and she made us stop, in part, I think, because her grandmother had taken them.

  186. We should play “Guess the college” game with chiming in on the area, attractions around the college etc.

  187. Most people that are looking for a direct flight to Honolulu will fly United from Newark because they offer the most choices of non stop flights. I think Hawaiian Air does fly non stop to JFK. There might be some direct flights to Dulles on United. You can drive to Philly from Newark, and that is a 1 1/2 hour drive in normal traffic.

  188. Let’s play 20 questions. I’ll start. :)
    Is it on the Hudson River?
    Does it begin with L?

    I did use the Roadtripper app to help plan our NY road trip last year. It did point out some helpful ideas.
    https://roadtrippers.com/

  189. I wouldn’t drive to Boston from DC. That is an 8 hr drive – blechhhhh! Even NY/NJ to Boston is far, but you could stop at Old Sturbridge Village on the way. If you wanted to take the coastal route (longer) you could stop at Mystic CT and Newport RI to see those towns, or New Haven if that is one of the college locations. ;)

  190. Also, I think high school students go on true student exchange programs as much as they used to. (One year, live with a family, go to a school in the local language). It is still the purview of ambitious kids from the middle of the country that don’t live in super ambitious communities.

    High schools accept credit from foreign schools. When kids move to the US in high school, we don’t make them complete a full 4 years for a diploma. [Full disclosure: I was a foreign exchange student and repeated a year of high school. Partially because I wanted to be NMSF – I was a totebagger before my time . Mostly because I wanted to apply to competitive schools and I needed AP classes and junior year teacher recommendations to do that. My brother did not repeat the year he was an exchange student and got into Flagship U.]

  191. And by far, I mean 4-5 hrs depending on traffic. :) I have a low tolerance for long car rides.

  192. Pseudonym – DD’s school has American Pageant as the secondary text. The review book (US History: Preparing for the AP Exam) is primary. The school found the kids did just as well with the review book as the only text and American Pageant to fill in some details. Yes, the exam still has essays RMS. The multiple choice is also one of those that makes you choose not just the correct answer, but the “best correct” answer.

  193. @Milo — love that boat earlier. What do you call that — is it a catamaran, or is there some other terminology? I love all the space; it doesn’t seem as squished.

    Re: dishwashers, they’re basically all the same anymore, so just pick based on dB, interior layout, and cycles you want (we chose our KitchenAid because it had a third rack for silverware and the second rack was adjustable, so you could put it lower if you had wineglasses with long stems, or higher if you needed to fit in a big pot below). If you like what you currently have, no reason not to get it again. Also, ITA with Scarlett about the heated dry.

    Re: schools: DD has had bad luck on teachers this year. Her precalc teacher was pregnant and knew she’d need to leave before the end of the year, but then had major complications and a preterm infant, so she’s been out since January; another teacher is married to the precalc teacher and so obviously has out for periods as well; and now a third teacher is retiring mid-term for health reasons. Pseudonym’s story reminds me that she’s lucky that she has teachers that actually try to do the job well (my mom the English prof was stunned last night at the current work in DD’s English class; alas, this is the teacher who is leaving tomorrow). Still, I’m definitely worried about double calc next year after half of this year with subs.

  194. I have had my new car for four weeks now, and they still haven’t cashed my check.

  195. “@Milo — love that boat earlier. What do you call that — is it a catamaran, or is there some other terminology? I love all the space; it doesn’t seem as squished.”

    Oh good, someone else took the bait.

    Yeah, catamaran. the definitive criteria of which, according to Oxford, is any boat with two parallel hulls. There are sailing catamarans, and seemingly (to me, at least) quickly increasing in popularity, power catamarans, or power cats.

    Multihulls seem to be the way to go for comfort and space, and I don’t know why this wasn’t more obvious to me earlier, particularly since I have a multihull boat now.

    This is a 23′ monohull bowrider, comparable to my current boat:

    And this is my current 23′ boat:

    I’ve converted a number of skeptics, from my brother to my anesthesiologist friend, who didn’t believe that you can actually ski, slalom ski, knee board, whatever, from a multihull/tri-toon.

    They suffer simply from a humble history:

  196. My dad came by last night to sleep over and babysit my youngest all day today (this is how we keep retired grandparents useful). I told him about my change of heart and that I had a new plan for my future cruising boat…in about 15 years. He replied dryly “so it’s not necessarily a binding decision at this point in the acquisition process.”

  197. Now I’m thinking that Finn’s DS wants to consider the East Coast college experience, in which case the trip to this area makes sense. If I consider Watkins Glen as a clue, I’m wondering if one of the schools begins with an “I”. (I’m ignoring the tippy top schools because I know Finn is pursuing merit aid.) And then the area skiing could be an attraction.

    So Niagara Falls is not very far from that part of the country (land of 1000 waterfalls or something like that). I loved Niagara Falls and that general area, although my traveling companions got tired of my interest in hiking so many of the smaller falls. “If you’ve seen one water fall you’ve seen them all” they said. In Niagara it’s worth it to splurge on a falls view room so you can wake up to a view of the morning sun on the falls and have evening cocktails in your room with a grand view of the falls.

    And bringing it back to the boating topic, on our fabulous trip down the Erie Canal we saw what in hindsight may have been Loopers traveling through the locks.

  198. “so it’s not necessarily a binding decision at this point in the acquisition process.”

    Well, now we know where you get it from. :-)

    ITA with your revised thinking — I have always seen catamarans as for sailing and didn’t know they made them in a powered version (though why not, duh, feeling rather stupid right about now). But that glorious space, oh Lordy — actively salivating over that bedroom you posted at 1:46, and the deck space in the plan is just awesome.

  199. “dad came by last night to sleep over and babysit my youngest all day today”
    That must be awesome! The sense of humor is the cherry on top.

  200. Why would they use multi-hulled, which is reminiscent of pontoon boats, when they could say catamaran and make people think of flying across a lake, hanging out in a trapeze, etc?

  201. I have definitely been to that Yankee Candle place. We used to stop there sometimes on the drive to Mount Snow. I can’t handle the scents now though – it gives me a headache just thinking about it.

    We have a Bosch (and it really wasn’t much more expensive than the comparable Kitchen Aid models). But yes – the downside is not having a blower for the heated dry. The heat gets most things pretty dry, but plastics usually come out a little damp, especially if there are any crevices. I think a dishwasher should last AT LEAST 10 years. At any price range.

  202. And just because they are awesome:

    Notice how they use hydrofoils to lift the entire craft out of the water so the only hydrodynamic drag is that encountered by the tiny wing in the water.

  203. That’s an interesting question, SM. Marketing can be strange.

    OMG Rhett, that space.

    The funny thing is that one of the considerations people always mention in “What boat should I buy” discussions is that marinas typically charge by the length, in feet. That trimaran is seriously cheating. It looks like it’s wider than it is long.

  204. Milo,

    The only drawback I can think of is that with the beam as wide as it is there are harbors, marinas and berths that are off limits.

  205. Rhett, you are arguing my point. Milo said that selling the kind of luxury boat he was posting about is sometimes hard because they are called multihulled, like pontoon boats, instead of catamarans, which can be awesome (i.e. Flying across a lake, hanging out in a trapeze). I wondered why they would ever use the term multihulled if catamaran could apply. You are showing just how great cats can be. Heck, even if they are friends-hulled, I’m surprised marketers wouldn’t say something like “the catamaran, all grown up”

  206. “The only drawback”

    Obviously you’re expecting a crew to be doing the regular washdowns and cleaning.

    “harbors, marinas and berths that are off limits”

    Definitely. I think you’d generally be anchoring it out and taking a little Zodiac in.

    SM – ” they are called multihulled”

    Well, that’s what they are. But sales brochures and salespeople tend to say “catamarans,” I think.

  207. @ Milo, not sure what an acceptable price range for a dishwasher is for you, but Lowe’s carries Bosch’s less expensive line. We got one there for the beach. It was $439 (not including tax), free delivery and haul away of the old one, and I LOVE it. It’s very quiet (not as quiet as fancy-pants in our main house, but not nearly as loud as the one it replaced).

  208. Milo — We did not rent a boat on the Erie Canal, just took a touristy 3-hour ride on a boat.

  209. Saac, I just read your post from last night mentioning Glen Echo Amusement Park. I went to the site and looked at their pictures. I rode that carousel as a boy, that roller coaster was the first (and perhaps scariest) one I’ve been on, and I remember my sisters beating me up in those bumper cars. I had swimming lessons at the park”s huge and icky pool.

    [Taking deep breath…] I’m getting old. But those pictures brought back fond memories.

    Thanks

  210. Lark – I’m going to pull the dishwasher out tonight and try to determine if it actually is leaking. DW’s claims of dampness on the tile are ambiguous.

    I’ll check out the Bosch line at Lowe’s. $400 is fine; I just may have to put some black tape over the brand name lest anyone get the wrong idea.

  211. Milo – I think you will not be satisfied unless you get a dishwasher with actual drying heat, and no louder than circa 50 dB. There are plenty of choices. It should last 7 to 10 years. I would also consider a whole house surge protector if you don’t have one already. Every new appliance you buy will have electronics that can suffer. I got it to protect the HVAC system, of course.

  212. Multihulled can refer to trimarans or catamarans. These have markedly different characteristics from monohulls but a fair degree of similarity between themselves. Hence, the term multihulled. I grew up sailing Hobie cats and using the trapeze Saac describes. Fun times.

  213. DS confirmed what RMS and Austin have already mentioned, that the APUSH test has an essay component, most very short essays (e.g., 1 sentence),n addition to the multiple-choice portion.

    If the teacher’s not teaching them, she may as well spend her class time reading the book. No need to wait for summer.

  214. To clarify, DS’ possible choices are in the greater Boston, NYC, and Philly areas.

    The discussions of the past couple of days put the idea into my head of taking a direct flight into the region, probably NYC because to my knowledge there are no direct flights from here to Boston, Philly, or anywhere else in the region, then renting a car and taking a circuitous route to his school, stopping at places like Watkins Glen or Old Sturbridge Village (great suggestion BTW; I’ve long wanted to visit there after seeing Norm Abram make many pieces of furniture modeled after pieces there), over at least several days.

  215. Try this over here.

    Finn – I lived in downtown Mystic, but I really love Newport. If you’re going from Newark/NYC to Boston, then that would be my top recommendation. I like Thames Street (just don’t go the Red Parrot, I would burn that place to the ground if I could. However, Scales and Shells is great.)

    Do the Cliff Walk

  216. And pick a few mansions to tour.

    The Breakers is probably the quintessential main one:

    And my other favorites were

    Rosecliff, a filming site for the Great Gatsby:

    And the Elms

  217. Thanks for all the responses. Regarding American Pageant, I find its prose, turgid, wordy, and overwrought. The text it’s self is incredibly biased, the U. S is to blame for everything wrong with the world, and it neglects key points. In discussioning the western response to the Soviet Union I’m the 1980s, while it talks about the role Reagan and Thatcher played, I found no reference at all to Pope John Paul.

    At one point it talks about some group “bellyaching”. What kind of vocabulary is that for a textbook?

    Scarlet…actionable malpractice? We are talking about a tenured teacher in a public school. As long as she doesn’t have sex in front of the class with an adult witness, she is doing good enough.

  218. he text it’s self is incredibly biased, the U. S is to blame for everything wrong with the world, and it neglects key points

    That’s hilarious. 40 years ago, when Thomas A. Bailey was still writing it, it was famous for being the conservative, pro-America view of the world. There were two AP US History classes; Mrs. Wolfsohn’s class and Mr. Branford’s class. I had Mrs. Wolfsohn. She was conservative and used Bailey’s text. Branford was liberal and used a different text. Sometimes we kids would compare what we were learning. Oh well, it was all so very long ago.

  219. ” I grew up sailing Hobie cats and using the trapeze Saac describes. Fun times.”

    Jealous, moi?

  220. Now I want to go to Newport just to do that cliff walk. Maybe we can rent a Hobie afterwards. My dad always pointed them out when I was growing up.

    “Sometimes we kids would compare what we were learning.”
    Bingo!

    It’s interesting to hear that colleges are not as willing to accept AP US History as they used to be. I wonder if that is why enrollment for AP Human Geography has increased so much. They are clamoring for readers to grade the essays. I’m just happy to hear that more people will have a clue what Human Geography is.

  221. Sounds like Finn is not in need of Dulles things to do at all. I’m glad one person got a smile out of them.

  222. “Now I want to go to Newport just to do that cliff walk.”

    It’s been a while for me, but it’s really fun and special if you like rugged New England coastline. The name implies a greater degree of difficulty and precariousness than it deserves, as it’s mostly paved or packed gravel, iirc.

  223. Rhett, a few years ago my law firm had a educational “retreat” at that Peninsula Hotel. Even us local associates got to stay there for couple of nights. I had DH come and stay with me in my room and we ordered room service for DH. I had free dinner and unlimited drinks. At that point in time we did not stay at such fancy hotels and so we enjoyed it a lot. I stole the slippers they provided with the hotels name on it. I still have those slippers somewhere in my closet.

  224. SM – I believe the Peninsula comment was alluding to an earlier reference about Chicago.

    At the Newport inn you pictured, DW and I had dessert one night after a round-trip cliff walk. We were out of place in casual clothes and hiking shoes, but our money was still good and they were genuinely friendly. It was the kind of place where if you were just having dessert, they swiftly cleared the table of about five wine glasses from each setting.

  225. The admissions staff told the outside readers that some high schools restrict access to APUS and APEH, and students who are turned away from those courses may be steered to the Geography course. So with regard to the question “did the student take the most rigorous course available in each of the five core subject areas?”, admissions staff could answer “no” if the school offered APUS and the student took AP Geography. That was apparently a Red Flag.

    That is how granular they can get in admissions at selective schools.

    Ditto for students who bypassed AP Calc and took AP Stat. Nailed.

    Of course, in order to KNOW the AP courses offered at the school, the reader had to parse through the School Profile for list of AP courses offered. There is no standard format for the School Profile, and finding this information took precious minutes from the 20 minute quota.

  226. The distressing thing is that I’m sure there are kids who don’t know those unpublished rules and make choices that work against them.

  227. “The distressing thing is that I’m sure there are kids who don’t know those unpublished rules and make choices that work against them.”

    As the admissions process becomes increasingly selective and granular, it paradoxically becomes less of an indicator of actual scholastic aptitude and fitness. My mind is picturing this in engineering terms, but I’m having trouble articulating it. They’re trying to measure a few parameters, but they’re taking each reading to a preposterous number of significant digits, far beyond that particular instrument’s ability to discern.

    I’ll take a stab at an analogy. I need to buy a great car. Quick acceleration is a desirable trait in a great car. Turbochargers make cars go faster. Therefore, I will first eliminate from consideration any car that does not have a turbocharger.

  228. People talk about how it’s a crapshoot and, everyone nods along solemnly, but I think they generally still believe that the ones selected are still somehow representative of The Best.

    At some point, however, any sorting system that gets numerically overloaded will start to break down, and its output will necessarily lose any meaningful distinction.

  229. I think it is turning into a lottery with some tricky rules. All of the kids that I interviewed this year were declined admission to my alma mater.

    Some of the seniors in my town received good news last night, but some very smart, talented kids didn’t get into their top choice schools. It’s just too many kids chasing the same schools.

  230. Lauren – I agree. But moreover, as Rocky mentioned, when a system establishes tricky rules, you’re no longer selecting from the overall population of excellent applicants. You’re selecting only from the much-smaller population of applicants can conform to the tricky rules — those whose parents have been religiously following College Confidential since their kids were in 5th grade and who know to steer them away from AP Stats and AP Geography.

    Add to that the $290k price tag (Finn’s number) as an additional sorting mechanism, and the claims about admitting only the best quickly crumble. That’s what I mean by saying that the more “selective” they become, the less selective they really are.

  231. Taken to the extreme, the lottery metaphor is actually very fitting. Winning the Powerball jackpot is exceedingly difficult, so much so that winning is no indication whatsoever of intelligence or ability.

  232. My manager returned from a recruiting trip to Stanford (and visits from other schools) and there isn’t a clear difference in how people perform in technical interviews based on where they go to school. There is far more variability among individuals than among groups, like most human sorting mechanisms.

  233. Lauren – I agree. But moreover, as Rocky mentioned, when a system establishes tricky rules, you’re no longer selecting from the overall population of excellent applicants. You’re selecting only from the much-smaller population of applicants can conform to the tricky rules — those whose parents have been religiously following College Confidential since their kids were in 5th grade and who know to steer them away from AP Stats and AP Geography.

    This sums it up perfectly. It’s no longer about taking hard classes and doing well. It’s about finding the students who were able to follow the minutiae of the unwritten rules.

    Someone made a comment a while back to the effect that the HSS should just do a random lottery of the applications that meet their minimum qualifications. That would make much more sense than the current system.

  234. If the HSS are increasingly missing the sort of kid who is smart, capable, conscientious, and curious, but either doesn’t know the unwritten rules about which AP to take or is interested enough in a non-favored AP to pursue it anyway, it’ll probably show up long-term in what their alumni do. More consultants, fewer visionaries.

  235. If the HSS are increasingly missing the sort of kid who is smart, capable, conscientious, and curious, but either doesn’t know the unwritten rules about which AP to take or is interested enough in a non-favored AP to pursue it anyway, it’ll probably show up long-term in what their alumni do. More consultants, fewer visionaries.

    I doubt it. If anything, it will show up as more of a sense that the game is rigged in favor of the elite.

  236. “those whose parents have been religiously following College Confidential since their kids were in 5th grade and who know to steer them away from AP Stats and AP Geography.”

    You don’t need to start at the 5th grade level. Before 8th grade, the main thing is to get your kids onto the honors/calculus track, and perhaps target a good HS. IME, 8th grade is about when you should start getting serious about understanding the college selection process if your kid may aspire to HSS.

    But as many have pointed out, taking a more relaxed approach and having your kid go to directional U is a viable alternative.

    “Add to that the $290k price tag (Finn’s number) as an additional sorting mechanism, and the claims about admitting only the best quickly crumble. That’s what I mean by saying that the more “selective” they become, the less selective they really are.”

    Actually, for the really HSS, the price tag is a sorting mechanism for donut hole families only, not the poor or very wealthy. They are very generous with aid to kids of limited means.

  237. “If the HSS are increasingly missing the sort of kid who is smart, capable, conscientious, and curious, but either doesn’t know the unwritten rules about which AP to take or is interested enough in a non-favored AP to pursue it anyway, it’ll probably show up long-term in what their alumni do. More consultants, fewer visionaries.”

    I’m not so sure about that.

    I think pretty much all of the kids we know who are or will be going to HSS knew most of the unwritten rules, but most of them aren’t, at least at this point, aspiring to the financial sector. My guess is that the most common aspiration is a medical career, with many aspiring to do medical research.

    There are also a fair number of idealists who aspire to political careers.

  238. “It’s no longer about taking hard classes and doing well. It’s about finding the students who were able to follow the minutiae of the unwritten rules.”

    That doesn’t seem consistent with what we’ve seen over the last few years.

    Taking hard classes and doing well are still necessary for getting into HSS, other that perhaps some kids with very strong hooks, but even among those kids, the ones who take hard classes and do well have much better chances.

    The unwritten rules have become increasingly important because as the number of applicants who’ve taken hard classes and done well has gone up, it’s gotten more difficult to separate those accepted from those not, and thus the unwritten rules come more into play.

  239. “Taken to the extreme, the lottery metaphor is actually very fitting. Winning the Powerball jackpot is exceedingly difficult, so much so that winning is no indication whatsoever of intelligence or ability.”

    That’s not what we’ve seen.

    For the most part, there seems to be a correlation between intelligence, ability, and taking hard classes and doing well, and the schools that accept kids.

    While there have some head-scratchers, for the most part, the NMSF kids, Presidential Scholar nominees, and the kids who are recognized for academic excellence are the ones who go to HSS, recruited athletes being notable exceptions.

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