Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flunking Parents

You know what I am sick and tired of?

(I feel like that should be in capitals because I am so very sick and tired of it, but I'm also sick and tired of capitals for emphasis so today is your lucky day.)

Projects that involve way too much parental involvement.

little kid had to research our family lineage, how we immigrated to America, why we immigrated to America, where exactly our ancestors came from and what jobs they had when they arrived here. Um...I don't know. Do many people know? He definitely doesn't, and at 6, is unlikely to have an ancestry.com account. I asked some other relatives and they were like, "Hell, who knows?"

Finally in a moment of desperation, I asked on Facebook if anyone related to me knew, or could at least make up a good story. It turns out that some kick ass Quakers were involved, and we're related to some poets and presidents (Longfellow and both President Adams, in case my grandkids need to know some day), so I will admit that it turned out well and was good to know, I suppose, but it was 95% my work. Down to cutting the little clothes for his little paper Quaker doll because he can't cut for shit.

I'm sorry but he can't.

And now this invention business for Big Kid? Are you kidding me? Awesome idea and all but do you know why there aren't more things invented by 9 year olds? Because it's super hard to invent things, even more so if you're a 4th grader.

Big Kid has invented a top bunk sheet set. (He invented crazy stuff before deciding on this, like a mailbox alarm that would call your cell phone when your mail came or a see-saw for your cat, to protect its food from your dog) But can Big Kid sew? Measure? Cut? Use snaps and elastic? I can't even do those things! Guess who is trying to figure out grandma's 40 year old sewing machine? (Mr. Ashley, but still). Big Kid can barely make a bed, little less create a prototype, research and fill out a patent application and come up with a marketing plan. So I am learning to create a prototype, research and fill out a patent application and come up with a marketing plan.

Don't get me wrong--all great stuff to know. I love education, I want my kids to be the next Quakers or Billy Mays, I really do.

Let's just wait until they can safely use scissors, though.

15 comments:

Tara said...

You know what this sounds like? The teacher found this great idea for an assignment on the Internet/Pinterest/teacher forum and then didn't adjust it all to fit the needs or ability levels of her class. I mean really? Create a prototype? A) how is she going to grade this and B) What kind of curriculum standard does this fit into? I can understand if the assignment were to come up with an invention, diagram a prototype (& build if feasible). Then kids could get really creative. I love his idea for an app that alerts when the mail is delivered...now that is useful...I've had mail stolen before.

Tara said...

Weird iPad, wouldn't let me add anymore. As for little kid's assignment, someone could, if they wanted to REALLY stir up a hornets nest, take it to the ACLU & sue for discrimination. Not all kids have family information like this. Many kids today are adopted, foster kids, etc. Additionally, many families don't have the means to go onto the Internet/Ancestry.com and research this. This is a VERY biased assignment that assumes each child has a "typical" American upbringing & background which just isn't true these days. Actually in most cases "typical" is the exception rather than the norm.

Ashley said...

Some of little kid's classmates said things like "We're from Indiana. My dad works at Outback," so I don't think anyone was graded negatively for anything but still, a ton of expectations there and seriously specific questions!

Big Kid's is like the gifted program's version of a science fair, I think. I'm still unsure of what the grand plan is, but I'll find out really soon.

I never did figure out the sewing machine. We glued it.

Jessica said...

I feel sorry for the kids who don't have the financial resources or whose parents don't have the time to give them all the help this project obviously requires. I'm glad you figured it out, though. I do know how to sew and I would have used glue, too.

Erika said...

Girl..my daughter had 2 crazy projects last year. One where I was up gluing pipes and shit together for a rocket and the other was one like you describe. "She" made a basket that goes on the stairs with a pulley system to bring it up and down. This entailed me cutting wood to miniature steps and some MacGyver stuff to make the mini pulley system.

I do have to say that I usually get As on all my projects..haha

Ms. Attitude said...

I am with you on this frustration. These projects, although really great ideas, are meant for students in the 7th grade or higher. You kids are really young to be considering a marketing plan, prototype, extensive family research, etc. I would say something to the teachers.

Nikky said...

Yeesh. I'm in school for teaching right now and those seem like really hefty projects. Like semester-long ones, maybe. For older kids.

At least the invention one. I don't get the geneology thing... My mom was adopted and my dad's family didn't have much to do with me (he was in prison most of my life)... the only thing I know is that several of my dad's relatives were in the Purple Gang. I don't know anyone who knows their family history that far back. (It is cool that you were able to find all that out though! I'd love to know mine, just not as a school project.)

Jennifer said...

I think these projects are for a higher grade. I did have a similar invention project in the 5th Grade though, but I totally avoided doing the work. My excuse was I'm 10 years old. I'm too young to be inventing stuff! Somehow I still passed...

Courtney said...

I'm not even a parent and this kind of crap drives me nuts. I've heard about this kind of things from lots of people, and even remember it myself. I always felt bad for the kids who didn't have parents help--how can a teacher grade fairly when some students have their parents help (or do the thing for them) and other kids don't?

Cassadie said...

I never comment (sorry!), but I teach 8th grade and I am SICK AND TIRED (sorry again!) of my students' parents bitching about having to proofread 2 page essays and sign reading logs! From now on I will just hand them a copy of this post whenever they complain. Okay? (PS: you are pretty much my parenting idol.)

Ashley said...

I would read the Odyssey of essays to avoid this crap! We have been tirelessly working from 3:30 to 8:50pm--arguing, tired, over it. This crap is due tomorrow, it is not up to our standards but I will be GLAD to see it go.

asnell said...

I have done that dumb geneology project twice now (kids are one grade apart) and lied both times. I just picked someone on Ancestry.com. No one in my family did anything special and we didn't migrate from anywhere. My husband's mom is no help...she doesn't even have a baby picture of my husband! Ugh!

We are currently in the midst of making a book jacket, a cereal box which depicts historical fiction AND constructing a wagon to cross the Oregon Trail. My kids better end up in Harvard.

Ashley said...

LOL about the cereal box that depicts historical fiction. I can't even imagine, I'm sitting here trying to think of something funny and I can't even think of something that would work. And a wagon to cross the Oregon Trail? So you can die of dysentery or drown in the river? Good luck with that. ;-)

Wiley37 said...

You should probably be glad to be involved. My daughter likes to do her own projects. She attended catholic schools and in 8th grade she had 2 poster projects. To her that meant an obnoxious slogan and LOTS of glitter. One was to promote vocations and her slogan was "Don't Marry a Mister, Become a Sister!" (picture glittering nun). The other - still in the possession of the teacher - was a history project to promote westward expansion in the 1800's. Picture glittery beaver with the slogan "Lots of Beaver, Lots of Wood, Life is Good!"

Ashley said...

Wiley, that sounds like fun and you know it. I would love that. A glittery beaver with a catchy slogan? Hell yeah. Sewing snaps onto elastic? Thanks but no.