Tuesday, May 7, 2013

School Projects

This post should probably be titled "A Post In Which I Rant"...so, feel free to close this out if you aren't interested. I need to get this out.

Starting in the 3rd grade, the kids at Emma's school must do a science fair project in May. This is the majority of their science grade for the final quarter. So, it's a pretty big deal.

So, Saturday, Emma, Travis and I worked on her science project. A few weeks prior, after dishing out several options for projects we had found online, Emma decided that she wanted to do a project regarding how speed downhill is affected by weight.

It was all pretty easy and fun. After we finished, Emma wrote out the information she wanted to include in each section of her project. I corrected spelling and we typed it together. Last night, we spent the evening laying it out on the board and gluing all the little details on. (She glued...I supervised). By the time she was finished, she was so proud of her project. I was proud of her project, but specifically of all the hard work that she did.

This morning, I helped her get her project into her room because she had her hands full (and because I was dying to get her picture with her board!). As we were walking to her room to place her project, she and I saw several other projects. I could hear in Emma's voice and see the defeat come over her. She said "Mom...some of these are SO good." And, she was right. Some of them were amazing!

I encouraged her and kept telling her how wonderful her project was, because it was. I also told her to hang on to her sense of accomplishment from all the hard work she put into doing that project. But, inside, my heart was breaking for her. My sweet girl felt defeated by projects that were VERY obviously done by parents.

Please don't get me wrong. We helped Emma. But, these weren't just done with parents help; these were done by parents. It was so disappointing to me.

It is SO very hard for me not to let my "Type-A" take over when the girls have these types of school projects. I mean, let's face it, my Type-A combined with my severe competitive desire to be the best is like WHOA, when I have to step back and let her do her thing. It's an internal battle...every.single.time. But, Travis helps keep me in line and reminds me "Boni, it's not your project". And, he's right.

I know that Emma needs to learn now that hard work will pay off. I want her to know that we will help her in any way that she needs us to, but we will NOT do things for her. I want Emma to feel good about her projects/school work. The operative word here is HER school work. I want to raise a smart, independent, productive, accomplished young lady.

Yet, I left that school today wondering if maybe we had pushed her too hard to do it herself. Maybe, we should have done more of it for her. Maybe, I should have pushed her to accept some of MY ideas for layout, wording, decorations, etc.

I guess I am just torn right now. I know how Travis and I chose to handle this situation is the right way to help Emma. But, at the same time, that little sweet voice that said "Mom...some of these are so good" followed by the slumped shoulders made me want to do ANYTHING (even her science fair project) to keep her from feeling that way again....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a teacher I say to you "great job"! I get tired of seeing the projects that obviously the parents have done. It's not fair to kids like Emma. As a mother I struggle with not doing the projects for my kids but I know in the end "they've won"! Keep doing what you doing.