Monday, May 24, 2010

No, I Don't Complete My Child's School Projects

My girl had a school project due today.  Last night as she finished up the diagram of a flower - roots to petals, she looked at it proudly and deemed it "All Finished!"  I could tell she was proud of her work and I was too!   It was colorful, 3-dimensional, neat and labeled in all the right places. 

Today, when she came home I asked her about the project.   Her disappointed response was that it didn't compare to everyone elses who looked like their parents completed them.    I thought surely not but she shared that some of her classmates told her that the parents did help them ...A LOT.  Some even completed them!     

To be fair here, we do help her.  We run through ideas together, I purchase supplies if needed and I even have drawn out a map that was too difficult for her to do with her last project.  But to actually put the work in the project and complete it for her?  What is the point?  What could she possibly learn by me doing that?

It's one thing in Kindergarten to help my little guy complete one of the million projects he came home with this year.   I needed to find pictures of the family for one and help him get it organized.  But even with that one, I let him cut and paste. 

So, am I wrong to not help my kids more with their projects?  Personally, I think it's important that my kids learn the lesson being taught by doing a project.  That they are graded on following directions and the work completed based on their ages, not the work of a 37 year old man or woman.  

Even with homework, I am simply a helper, an observer - only there to step in when they get stuck or need to review for a test.   

Why then, do so many parents complete the projects for the kids?  How about you?  How far do you go in helping your child with projects?

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Debbie@Any Given Day said...

I am so proud of you for NOT completing your child's homework! I couldn't agree more with you and responded the same way when my boys were younger. The bottom line is there is more at stake here than a child getting a good grade for the sake of the immediate. (At least there was to me.) I needed THEM to learn to be resourceful and responsible. I needed THEM to learn to complete what they started. I wanted THEM to feel the accomplishment of a job well done. And I wanted THEM to know that "school" was their job, not mine (I already have a job I spend all day at and besides, I've already finished school!) So like you, we were available for assistance as needed but they always knew THEIR job was not OUR job. And we made sure they knew we believed in them and didn't care one iota what other parents were doing or not doing. Because we had bigger plans for them than just the immediate assignment. So kudos to you, Janelle! A mom after my own heart! Love ya, Debbie

Janel@Dandelion Dayz said...

Thanks Debbie! I needed that encouragement!

Pamela said...

Not sure how I found your blog but I have it in my reader now.

I agree with you about the kids doing their own homework and parents assisting when it is needed. I remember when my daughter was doing one of her first papers in middle school and computers were just starting to come out. It would have been so easy to type her paper. (We were using one at a location other than home.) But we stayed for three hours while she typed it. I also remember my son's pinewood derby car for was his, not his dad's. I was so proud of him for designing it, painting it, etc. No, it wasn't the winner of the race. But it was the best looking car there in my eyes. Both of my kids can tell you of many experiences like that and both children can now say that they are glad that we didn't do their work for them. We have a friend that still corrects her sophomore college aged son's papers before he turns them in. Sad.

I enjoy your blog. Have a great day.

Jen said...

we have the same issue - Kyle and Dylan both got mad at me for not doing their science fair projects for them. I couldn't believe some of the things that 'second graders' turned in. Kyle understands that my position on it is that I'm helping him by not doing the project because he's learning how to do all of it himself and in a year or two or whenever these parents stop doing their kids' work, the kids won't know what to do. It's his responsibility and this is the time to start to learn how to do these things properly.

(It still breaks my heart when my kid didn't get a ribbon and the projects obviously done by parents did get ribbons)

Anita said...

I applaud you for helping but not doing, that has always been my standard. Now I do still proof read when asked, and I might say, this or that sounds awkward,or see a spelling error or typo or missed punctuation, but honestly that's what a friend or college tutor svc would do.
I think my kids won science fairs because we always made them do the project, and it was always something a child could do.
I personally love an honest job well done!

Tania said...

You tell her she should not be disappointed that she should be proud. SHE did the project! How awesome is it that she completed the project when some other children didn't do their own work. She should be proud of her accomplishments! In life you need to be able to do your own work and not worry about the next person. As she gets older she will understand what a wonderful thing you did for her. I always tell the boys that they don't need to have the "best" project. They just need to know that they did their best and be proud of the work they accomplished.

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