The Bane of Motherhood

You may think, by the title of this post, that I’m about to talk about potty training.  But no.  As much as I dread potty training my third child (and I fear she will NEVER be agreeable to it, but that’s another story), the bane of motherhood, in my opinion, is school projects.

I am fond of saying that the reason I send my kids to preschool is so I don’t have to do crafts at home.  I am not creative, I hate mess, and I have no patience with clumsy little fingers.  This is why preschool teachers make the big bucks, people.

I’ve known for some time that as my kids get older, they will come home with the dreaded projects and I will have to decide whether I become That Parent — you know, the one who takes over her child’s project so that it is a work of adult perfectionism, not remotely resembling the work of a child — or if I will be the parent who throws her child to the wolves and lets him suffer an average grade because he actually did the work (gasp!) on his own.

I knew this time was coming, as my son is in the second grade, and surely the projects are not far off.  I never expected, however, that my first school project would be assigned to my preschool-aged daughter.  You have GOT to be kidding me.

This is the assignment: Next week is “Pet Show Week”.  Our theme this month is pet and pet care.  A highlight for this unit will be “A favorite pet home family project.”  You and your child will have an opportunity to design your own favorite pet habitat.  A shoe box works well with this project.

Seriously?  A pet habitat?  WE DON’T EVEN HAVE PETS.  I know — my poor, deprived children.  I am fortunate that I can play the allergy card (my older children have been tested to have allergies to cats and dogs — hooray! — and you may remember how the poor hermit crab met his demise.)

Any-WHO.  I tried passing off the project on my husband.  I handed him the sheet of paper and said, “Oh, this one’s for you.”  But he didn’t fall for it.  So guess who gets to create a “pet habitat” out of a shoe box this week?  Yeah, lucky me.

Because not even I am heartless enough to throw my 5-year-old to the wolves on this one.  If it were my son’s project, maybe.  But I think I’m stuck with this one.

UPDATE:  After I started this post yesterday morning, my daughter came home from school, got out the play-doh, and started her “homework” as she proudly calls it.  I dug up a shoe box for her and told her I’d help her, but she assured me that she had it all under control.  She worked diligently for about an hour, and this is what she ended up with.

Did you know that squirrels and roosters live together in harmony?  It’s news to me too.  And I’m not entirely sure what that is on the fork.  But it’s hers, and she’s proud of it, and far be it for me to interfere.

Here she is, hard at work.

Of course, little sister had to get in on the action.

All of this begs the question:  How do YOU handle school projects?  Are you of the opinion that it is your child’s project and he should be primarily responsible for it?  Or are you of the opinion that the teacher assigns the project intending for the child to have parental help, and therefore it’s free game for you to take over contribute to your child’s learning experience?

Inquiring minds want to know.