Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Trouble with School Projects

 Connor in costume for book character day at school.  He was one of the characters from The Hobbit.

 For the last couple of days Caleb has been on fall break.  On Thursday, Caleb and I spent the day together (just us).  We went to the zoo.  Of course, a trip to the reptile house was a must for Caleb.
The boys and I had a blast at our church's Harvest Party.  They walked away with enough candy to keep our dentist employed for life.

I walked into my friend's house and immediately noticed her scowl.  Before I had time to ask, she spewed out her frustration over her daughter's school project.  No need to say more.  I certainly understand her frustration.

The last several weeks, we've been hit with a trifecta of projects.  We've had to create suitable habitat for a pet rock, convert a box into a Hobbit hole, and decorate a paper turkey.

With every project, the teacher sends out the same instructions, "To be done by your child."  I wonder if even the teacher can type those instruction with a straight face.

I always start with the premise that my child will complete the project by himself.  But sometimes it's hard to watch.

Me:  Wow, that's so interesting how you added a third eye to Abraham Lincoln.  

Me:  Really, I didn't know they had a McDonalds in the Egyptian pyramids.

Finally, that inner twitch gets to me and I just really can't stop myself for "assisting" just a tad.

Me:  Here, I can help you put together that pioneer village.  Doesn't that look much better?  How about this too?  

Two hours later I hand the project back.

Isn't it great!  Don't you love all the work you did!

The other thing about school projects is that they require a lot of stuff.  By stuff, I mean stuff.  I'll sift through the recycling in search of the perfect size plastic bottle.  I'll save old toilet paper rolls and salvage cereal boxes.  I'll spend our retirement savings on a couple of trips to Michaels.

Then all the stuff has to be adhered to the board.  So, we'll pour mounds of super glue all over a box or board, dripping remnants of the glue here, there, and everywhere.

By the time the project is completely finished, it's time to transport to school.  Transporting this delicate, gluey project to school takes about as much effort and concentration as you see on one of those celebrity cake shows.  You know the shows where the celebrity bakers clutch the bottom of a fancy, multi-layered cake and move it from a truck to a wedding reception while suspenseful music blares in the background.

Once the project lands safely in the classroom, I let out a sigh of relief and pray the next wave of school projects won't land back in our house anytime soon.  

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