Friday, January 27, 2012

My School Project

I hate school projects.

My daughter loves them. In fact she seems to love them so much that she chooses the most complicated topic or book available. One time she even requested that the teacher allow her to do TWO topics. She was only 7 years old. When I was 7, I think I was still learning to tie my shoes. And break dance.

The current project strewn across the dining room table is a non-fiction book report for “Grizzlies and Other Bears”. The book has like 30 chapters. Grizzlies are the first 2 and the Other Bears are like 28. Rumor has it that the other children will be organizing their reports by using the chapter names—because their books have 4 chapters. We’ve designed a matrix.

Yes, I said it. WE. How on earth is a 3rd grader supposed to know how to organize a 30 chapter book into a 3 minute oral presentation and poster? As a parent, my brain knows that letting her struggle through is how she learns (even if all she learns is to select an easier topic next time), but my heart wants to save her from late nights and lost weekends.

By the end of the project, I’m exhausted. I’m mentally spent from correcting grammar and explaining why scratching out and huge eraser marks don’t qualify as neat. My undiagnosed OCD takes over and all lines must be straight and all colors coordinated. Usually the final project looks perfect. Too perfect. I know I’ve overstepped.

I imagine this struggle to let her learn on her own will only get worse the older she gets. Next time it won’t be just a book report. It will be solving an argument among girlfriends on the playground, or selecting what she will major in, or deciding who she will marry!

On second thought, I love school projects.

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