Pearl Harbor is a chance that I simply couldn't not make the most of.
AND it has a Junior Ranger badge! Random aside: I printed these Junior Ranger badge books prior to our trip and packed them, because at that time the World War 2 Valor in the Pacific National Monument web site (isn't that name a mouthful? It's also silly, because NOBODY refers to it as anything but "Pearl Harbor," and yet when you Google "Pearl Harbor," the National Park site is not the first result because that's not actually its name) was stating that it was sometimes out of stock of them. However, when the kids went to show their completed badge books to the park ranger, he gave me a funny look and asked me if I'd copied them. It turns out that they actually SELL these badge books in the park! Yellowstone also does that, and it's a practice that I loathe. I think it's a shame to charge children for such a valuable enrichment activity that can only increase their appreciation of the park. Anyway...
I did not pitch a fit in the middle of Pearl Harbor because I did not have to buy my children their Junior Ranger books; instead, we happily used them as a spine for doing and seeing every single thing in the park:
|There were incredibly detailed models of both the USS Arizona and a Japanese aircraft carrier.|
I tend to be rather shockingly frugal in many capacities, so the fact that I happily paid the online convenience fee to pre-book our ferry tickets to the actual USS Arizona Memorial is a testament to how much going there meant to me.
|I, however, think it's beautiful.|
I thought this relief map of the island was cool:
|Here's the original rough draft of Roosevelt's speech in which you can see that one of the most famous lines in history was almost much less powerful. Rhetoric is important, my Friends!|
|Torpedo--this is what destroyed the battleships.|
|This display was my favorite. It's a model of the USS Arizona as it is now, underwater.|
Just a few days after we returned from Hawaii, when we were still on Hawaii time, we were lucky enough to see that the National Park Service was staging a dive to the USS Arizona Memorial, and they broadcast it live. It's wonderful, and you should certainly watch it when you're working on your own World War 2 studies.
While you can, of course, study World War 2 without taking a trip to Hawaii, I could not believe how much this one visit added to the children's (and my!) understanding of the events of World War 2. It's made me jealous of every single schoolchild who lives within driving distance of a national landmark. It's recommitted me to the learning-by-traveling that we still do, but not as much as we did when the children were younger.
And in the airport on the way home, when I asked the kids where they wanted to travel to next and Will said, "Castles!" I told her that we probably wouldn't go there next, necessarily, but a trip to Europe *would* make an excellent spine for a homeschool, now wouldn't it?
Two years to save for it, a year to study for it, and perhaps we'll find ourselves in Europe sometime in 2017...