How To Help Your Child With a School Project Without Going Nutso
By Mouthy Housewives on October 24, 2012
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My daughter is in the 4th grade and she's a good student. However, this fall she's been assigned not one, not two, but THREE class projects to work on at home at the same time. I'm talking about things like Science Fair boards where I have to buy materials, help her out and yell at her to do it.
The teachers don't seem to realize how stressful this is and one even wrote "Have fun doing this as a whole family!" on the assignment. Seriously? How can I get through this without going crazy?
Screw You, Class Projects
Dear Screw You Class Projects,
As the mother of two boys in elementary school, I can attest to the fact that the Fall semester is overloaded with projects. This is because the teachers are still enthusiastic at this time of year and haven't yet turned every day into Movie Day. (Kidding! I'm kidding! I love teachers even more than Mitt Romney does.)
But what the teachers may or may not realize is that when they give a kid a big project, they've also given it to the kid's entire family and the entire family isn't happy about it. A school project is like some kind of soul-sucking disease that leaves everyone gasping for air, covered in spray mount and glitter. And that's not hyperbole, either. Last year my husband and I almost got a divorce during the making of our son Sam's diorama on Steve Jobs. It's stressful, baby.
Therefore, my advice to you is to get your daughter started on the projects as soon as possible. Do not leave anything until the last minute. Trust me on that. Even if she just does a couple of steps at a time, it's progress. Right now Sam's working on a Science Fair project and I ask him every day at homework time what he still needs to do. The constant reminders have made it a lot smoother for us all and I haven't even yelled yet.
Another thing is to keep your kid's goals realistic. It's admirable if they want to do something really creative and out-of-the-box with their project, but it's also a ton of work and doesn't really help their grade all that much. Last year a classmate of Sam's made the Taj Mahal out of marshmallows and got an A, but so did every other kid who did a competent job. Even the one who made a Hooter's. What I'm saying is, with so many other things going on, there's no need to prove your superiority with a cardboard poster of the planets. Prove it some other way instead.
Finally, remain calm and know that you'll get through project season. And if worse comes to worse and you don't get it done in time, you can always ask the teacher for an extension. Like maybe one that lasts until your daughter graduates from high school.
Photo Credit: chasingmechasingyou.