March 9, 2009

Back to sixth grade

Posted in Grumblings at 9:38 am by livethelifeyoudream

We were busy this weekend finishing up a “parent project.”

You know the kind of project I’m talkin’ about. The one that a teacher assigns to you your child and there is no possible way he can complete the assignment without his parents help.

William had to make a musical instrument using non-musical items. With 5 different pitches. And learn a song with at least 25 notes.

Luckily he has a handy dad. The type of dad that if you can dream it, he can build it. We also have handy kids. I have an “I Love U” cut out of wood that William actually made. Made all by himself. Grandma was lucky enough to get an “I Love You” made out of nails this past Christmas. A ton of nails. The idea was his own and he lovingly pounded each one in himself. We are a family who makes and creates things. But what sixth grader can reasonably build an instrument with different pitches? And in tune for extra credit!

I’m not against helping my kids with their homework. I’m also not against projects.

I remember well my own days of project making. In sixth grade I had to make a volcano. My mom purchased some plaster of paris and away I went. My volcano looked more like a meatloaf with a hole in the top, but it was my creation.

So, what’s the dilemma you ask?

He never has to explain to anyone, not the class or his teacher, how he made his instrument. He needs to list the materials used. He needs to explain how the instrument works, but he doesn’t need to explain how he built the instrument??!!

This, my readers, is what I have a problem with. This is how I know it is a parent project because if a kid created this masterpiece he would want to talk and explain how the idea came to be. I want to see projects that require a kid to be the one who actually makes the project and it is graded fairly. If his instrument involves tearing paper to make sounds, I want that to be ok because it was his idea. His effort. His creative power at work. 

So instead of tackling a project around the house, we were working on creating “beautiful” music on the out of tune pan flute that will not be receiving extra credit.


Do you think the teacher would mind if I gave her a “teacher project?” I need some painting done and the laundry needs folding and the bathroom needs cleaning and the cat box needs emptying. . . oh, yeah, I want all of this done while she whistles zip-a-dee-do-da, in tune. Really, I don’t think I’m asking for too much, am I?