My son is in grade two, and this week he turned in a classic school project: Pick a country and create a booklet about it, then present what you have learned to the class. He worked really hard on his booklet, and was pretty proud to hand it in.
On Tuesday, he brought the following home (click through on the title if you can’t see the picture):
Yes, that is a boarding pass with my son’s name on it. He also received a copy of a newspaper in Greek, and a recipe for cookies…and the cookies were served during the presentation. He really liked them.
Then he came home and cried because his project wasn’t good enough any more.
I realize that in school, as in life, the kids who have collaborators who want to go the extra mile (or in this case, the extra 8138 kilometers) and who have great ideas and execution, will have the best projects. And theoretically, it’s really neat to think of a family working together on a really amazing presentation.
At the same time, I kind of just want to scream. I made my 7-year-old do his own work. I actually believe overall that it is my job to get my child to do his own work. I carefully did not do the lettering on his cover page. And when we practiced his presentation, I confined most of my remarks to the correct way to pronounce “Caribbean.”
His presentation is on Monday, and as a family we have to decide if we are going to try to compete with the personalized boarding pass or not. And I honestly don’t know which way to jump. Because despite my lofty ideals, and lack of desire to go back to grade two, I do remember how the science fair projects that won almost always looked better than mine, and part of the reason was that other kids’ parents would help make them look really great.
Do you work hard on your child’s school projects, or do you pretty much just help with time management, spelling and supplies? Let me know what you think I should do, too.