10 April 2011

social commentary Sunday "do you do your children's homework projects??"

Greetings all,
Be honest, do you do your children's homework??  Those pesky 3D interactive projects.  For you without school aged children yet . . . do you suspect you will do their homework projects 'with' them??  I can't imagine how perfectionist parents can contain themselves but to get involved.
Well it's no suprise that i am pretty hands on when it comes to book week costumes & school projects, but i do restrain myself to just 'help' or 'suggest' a practial way to create a volcano, planet or cyclone.  My children are quite vocal in the "you've had your turn at school, this is my time to shine" back away from my cardboard type comments . . . but when Red Riding Hood here (chin healing nicely thanks) came to me after lunch today (Sunday) & burst into tears saying "i have to build an ice cave, it's due tomorrow", i did a tad more than just hold her hand & pass her the glue stick. 
 Thank goodness for the internet & my craft supplies, she was able to explain/ google (for me) that there is an Aladdin's Cave in Antarctica which holds stores & she printed off some images.  She then went blank, she just couldn't fathom at the 11th hour how to create a cave or faux supplies for explorers.   
 So we ducked to the supermarket in the pouring rain (imagine the era when the shops were shut on Sundays - nightmare) & picked up a pyromanical supply of matches - for the boxes!!   
 Wrapping them in pretty coloured papers just like the explorers in Antarctica did 100 years ago, with pretty twine & washi tape . . . we made parcels of coal, paper & food supplies.
 She laminated the images & glued batting 'snow' to the cardboard roof of the cave/ bunker/ hanger & da dah, our her Aladdin's Cave in Antarctica done.
 Only this child comes with a twin, who also needed to do her project (FYI i am normally on top of homework, this was hiding in the 'extension' section of their 2 week homework grid). 
 Oh easy, she just wanted to build a ship, A SHIP, the Aurora Australis & looked what we pulled out of our hat.  I'm so glad i stuck photos of the real thing on the side of our version, the likeness is uncanny, i'm clearly a ship building model visionary.  It's all held together with a Lego boat on the inside for structural integrity & sticky tape. 
Now i know teachers can tell when parents 'assist' & printing typed up assignments with beautiful grammar & spelling is a dead give away, so i get my children to hand write their assignment information where possible (no, i can't forge their writing/ haven't tried) & make them cut, glue & construct.  There are only 25 children in our whole year 4, with a high frequency of parents who are architects, chefs, teachers & designers, the quality of projects . . . amazing.  My children are creative & have the materials at hand, but today i did 'help' . . . quite a bit. 
So, are you a closet primary school project wannabe too??  Can you let your child just take a 2D A1 size cardboard sheet in, or do you make such awesome suggestions - they just have to be put into action & can't be wasted, like smoke/ music/ vibrating parts - i've seen it all & no, have never gone that far??  Has the teacher ever written "well done Johnny, your mother has out done herself this time" on the project??  Can you look your child's teacher in the eye on parent/ teacher interview??  Love Posie

PS i know my children's teachers read my blog, i'm just honest - children do so many creative tasks at school, the teachers know what they are capable of!!

35 comments:

Make mine Mid-Century said...

I hate homework, Posie. Sometimes I think teachers expect too much of children. I've spent the past week helping my nine-year-old copywrite and layout a tourism brochure on an Australian icon!

You can't tell me that any teacher of a Year Five expects them to be able to do that without it looking completely ludicrous!

You have to help, don't you?

janinebl said...

my kids think they've done a great job until they get to school and see what some parents have made!
LOL!! but it really isn't funny!

Patchwork and Play said...

How funny! As a teacher, I can assure you it happens ALL the time! Sometimes I wish more parents, however, took time to help their children...it would help me in my job too!

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh gosh, either way - parental over involvement or letting your child do their best & be proud of their own genuine effort, their self esteem is at risk. So interested in what the teachers have to say on this. Love Posie

Amy said...

I can still remember being in grade 4 and my teacher, Mr Gill, refusing to mark my homework as he knew my parents had done it. I remember bursting into tears because I had most certainly done it myself. From memory it was my maths homework. I guess I must of finally got the hang of something and he didn't believe I could actually do it! I dispised that guy!
My kids aren't at homework stage yet. But when the time comes I am planning on being a quiet observer and give direction when needed.

Kylie said...

I have to admit I'm a "I've already done school, this is your turn" kind of mum. However, as you said, there are always circumstances portrayed as emergencies that suck you in! ;) I used to help my big girl with impossible projects when she was in primary school, but that stopped at high school. My little one has never let me so much as suggest, let alone assist, so smooth sailing there ;) Their school no longer sends projects home - they have to do them in school time. That's pretty interesting actually... there must have been some outrageously advanced parental involvement to cause that I'm thinking! :)) Kx

The Moerks said...

My kids have to do the content, and I help out with layout and design. It's a joint effort really. I love a good school project!

deux chiens et un garcon said...

It makes me nervous thinking about the competitive nature and expectations of primary school now. My 16 month old is very independent and wants to do everything himself. Hope this will endure for those coming years. I think I am more of a sit back and see type of person.

notquitecrafty said...

I detest all projects that require construction - I don't do it & I suggest to my kids to pick a written task instead. And I complain to the teacher about it - as a single nearly full time working parent I do not have the time, energy or imagination to do these things. Happy for them to do things they are capable of doing on their own, happy to assist in working out maths, literacy etc, but I would rather spend quality time with my children doing things we enjoy - reading, going for a walk, having a chat - than doing something we both hate.

That said, I did type up my son's assignment last year, he left it to the last minute and at his typing speed he would not have been able to go to bed that night. So he dictated & I typed exactly what I was told.

Sindy said...

I actually remember my older sister (by 2.5years) helping me most with my homework - she was always an overachiever and just loved to correct my grammar, help me with essays and projects. But growing up there was much more of the going to the library/encyclopaedia brittanica photocopying going on - there must be a lot more pressure now with the internet to produce something amazing!!

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh my! What a lovely job you AND the girls did with these projects, great work! The whole idea of assignments and projects scares me a little. I don't really want to be responsible for competing with other parents... especially artistically talented parents!
Aside from buying supplies and internet research, I'd like to think my boys will pull the rest together, when the time comes. Maybe I'm just wishful thinking!

Taylor Made said...

Being a teacher I too like to just add some creative input but I insist that all the research and ideas are hers...I will just help hang it all together but feel that they learn from doing the hard yards...hard mummy I am.

Kylie said...

We have had our first 'family project' this term. It was alot if fun and enjoyed by all. I helped her to get the ball rolling and helped to refine her ideas (it had to be stuck on a piece if paper/card for the wall) she cut, stuck and Tim plated plats for the hair :). Who would have thought that the rough and tumble dad would sit and plat wool? She is daddys girl though

trash said...

Such a subject! I could write reams but will settle for saying we had a saga at the start of this school year when my daughter received an essay topic in her first week of Yr.7. A proper essay topic. So I had to teach how to write and essay and then got her to construct it with me.

Along with her mark she rec'd a comment back asking TWICE if it was her own work. I wrote a snippy response saying it most certainly was her own work and that I thought it unfair to a)suggest otherwise without talking to the child and b)to set an essay for Yr.7s given that the cohort have never been taught how to write one.


Oh look! I did write a ream! ;-)

Brenda said...

I'm guilt of pointing the kids in the right direction when it comes to a project, but I like them to do all the work if they can. Like your kids Jennie mine are a bit creative and they like the challenge. It's so nice to see the big smiles on their faces, a sense of accomplishment, it's a great self confidence boost.

In saying all that I would have stepped in at the 11th hour too!

Lizzie said...

Hahaha, that's funny Jennie, I reckon for as long as kids have had homework, parents have been *assisting* with it..!! Our eldest daughter is a teacher and I can remember her *assisting* from the sidelines when her two were in primary. Now they are in high school it's a bit different, but she says the same as Patchwork and Play, if more parents helped it would make her job easier. She works in a primary school that is 'rich' in ethnic diversity and listening to children read and helping with research and homework at home is just not done. I think we do what we do to help our kids learn everything they need to learn to be stable, balanced and contributing members of society, that's not such a bad thing is it..?
Lizzie
xxx

ps. Cool ship and I love the cave...A+

Mimi said...

I sometimes help with a little tweaking. Mimi xx

Amanda said...

I refuse to do the homework for them, but will help them find the information to do it themselves and help them solve things. My husband on the other hand.... My son had an all term assignment to do a project and present it to the class at the end of term. The subject was What I am Passionate about" and in order to push him away from Pokemon, I suggested one of his other computer games Age of Empires 3 which I figured as it was based on History he could actually do some History research. I was reading through his slides and came across one that obviously wasn't written by my son... yep dad did that... I suggested that he write it himself and told my husband off lol. The assignment was a hit with the Teacher.

NessaKnits said...

I say heaven help those kids whose parents aren't interested enough to help!

Tammi said...

I'm one that will offer encouragement and suggestions when needed but prefer my children to do the hard yards. Sure I am there if and when they need me but they are creative and talented in their own right.
xx

The Provincial Homemaker said...

My Dad (a teacher) always tells the story of a colleague of his who had a parent come up to the school to complain about the mark HIS project had been given. You do have to be reasonably subtle, but I recall an awful lot of collaborative efforts in primary school.

Tania McCartney said...

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!! Loved the 'back away from the cardboard' comment. I also believe in taking a step back and not making it all perfect - but don't balk at a little creative encouragement!

Maxabella said...

Oh hon, I definitely disagree with this one. I think the kids should do the work themselves. I think a rolled up bit of cardboard is more than adequate if that's what they think is acceptable to present. It's ridiculous that the bar for kids is set so high by well-meaning parents. x

Seaweed and Raine said...

Oh you make me laugh! I was a primary teacher before I had kids (I guess I'll get back to it one day), and yes, teachers totally know when a parent helps the child ;)
Next time you have an ice cave to make (and time up your sleeve) try using icecubes, and then do a video doco on it, and photgraphic/written material! ;) hee hee hee
I suspect I will have to meddle, er HELP my kids too LOL

Amanda said...

As a school teacher, I used to realise that parents helped children and I think working together on projects is actually a good idea to promote talking about the subject matter but I must say, I loved the see projects where as you did, the child had cut out things, glued things, written things themselves. I never gave more marks to projects just because they were 'polished' - projects that were more child focused often did better in my classroom.

Sarah said...

I HATE homework but I don't mind projects. I wrote about a similar dilemma a while ago. It's hard to find the right answer really isn't it?

Amy @ Flowerflame said...

I strongly encourage my chidren to do their projects on their own, but there are, of course, those times when they really do need some adult help, and I actually think that the teachers encourage and expect the parents to help on those occassions!

Now that my eldest has started high school I'm happy to say that she (so far) has quite happily completed all her projects on her own. Yay for me, however I still have another two to get through infants and primary school, so I'm thinking that my project days aren't finished yet! xx

Nikki said...

When we start an assignment, I talk to the kids to makes sure they're on the right track. Then I let them plan etc... but I do help them with the presentation side of things... like supplying them with lots of good craft stuff etc. Even though I help with their projects, they're very proud to go to school and present them to the teacher.
At uni we did most of our assignments in groups... it's a great way of creating an awesome project, by bouncing ideas off each other.
I also think parent invovement in kids homework is a good chance to bond and create together.
I love finishing an assignment with the kids...and am very proud when I {oops, I mean they} get a good mark ;D

Fer said...

We're a fair way from homework yet, but I think it's important to be part of their schooling. I guess it all comes down to balance, and I think you're doing that nicely. :-)

Jane said...

Helping with homework is a part of being invovled with your children's education! As a teacher most of the home/school tasks I set are designed to be a shared activity - too many parents do little to support their kids and that shows in all aspects of their development! Go for it! I know I have loved working my own kids on their various projects over the years!

Heidi said...

We all help even teachers help there kids ...we have to and I think this shows them how important school is to us now I don't do it all but I do help!

Stacey said...

My boys are very into doing their homework and we're lucky that they very rarely want our help. Except when it comes to projects and then their imaginations / expectations mean that we need to "help" quite a bit.
I let them do the decorating as I think it is really obvious when the parent has done something very neatly versus the hand of an eight year old boy! It just about kills me though.
The other thing I can't resist is doing the typing. I type at about 80wpm versus their 80 words per hour so I usually push them aside and say, "just let me do it, okay?". *Usually* they tell me what to write and I do it verbatim. Usually.....

Anonymous said...

Hey,

I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at posiepatchworkblog.blogspot.com.

Can I use some of the information from this post above if I give a backlink back to your website?

Thanks,
Oliver

Naturally Carol said...

I so agree with Maxabella on this one. Totally!

m.e (Cathie) said...

i have no idea yet Ms Posie. I can see the dilemma but I guess it should all be about the childs work with a little assistance from parents if needed.
you did well to help a stressed child at such a late hour.