I like my kids' teachers--really, I do--but their habit of assigning projects to be done at home is driving me absolutely nuts.
Now, it's at least borderline reasonable for Thing One. He's more or less old enough and responsible enough to tackle projects at home on his own. But the other two?? Fuhgeddaboutit. There's no way. I'm not even talking about the obtaining materials part--the ability to sit down and independently work through an assignment generally just isn't there for younger kids. In which case, what you are actually assessing, as a teacher, is how involved and educated your students' parents are, how well they speak English and how much free time they have. An undertaking of questionable value, hmm??
Petunia (who, it will be remembered, is a first grader) came home Thursday with a sheet indicating that she had to bring in a homemade Mayflower--as in the boat--for seaworthiness testing on Monday. You tell me what six year-old can do that alone! Thing One's current project requires him to go for a walk in the woods, collect natural materials, build a bird's nest out of them and fill in a sheet about the nest. (Thing Two was blessedly project-free this weekend.)
In an effort to be efficient, tomorrow being a busy day, Himself and I developed the following plan for today:
1) I take Thing Two and Petunia to basketball practice (they play, I coach.) He stays home with Thing One, who works on homework and piano.
2) He takes Thing Two and Petunia to soccer practice. I go home and put the second coat of paint on the dining room walls.
3) He comes home, drops off the younger two, grabs Thing One and drops him off at basketball practice, then comes home to work on the Mayflower project with Petunia.
4) Painting done, I collect Thing One from basketball and take him directly to walk in the woods to collect his raw materials. (Of course, it being us, we do this while picking up a series of nine geocaches in a nearby park...can you say multitasking?? )
5) We get home at 5PM and shower off the poison ivy oils. I make dinner, clean up, and collapse in front of the TV with the (DVRed) Notre Dame football game from the afternoon.
The actual building of the nest will have to wait until tomorrow...we'll see if he can do it without help. If he can't, maybe it shouldn't have been an assignment for home. I'm sure I could make a kick-ass nest, but then, I'm not the one being graded on it, so I shouldn't be doing the work!
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