3 Survival Tips for Parents & School Projects

dreamstimefree_259944Your son Aaron has had a good year with Ms. Kelly. At the last conference, the only concern she repeated was that he needed to get his work done on time. This was not news to you. You’re always working on it with him and it’s excruciatingly painful.

Yet here you are at his soccer game and overhear someone complain about the science fair project due Friday. “Weren’t those directions confusing?” and “What is your kid doing her project on?”

In the car, you say, “Aaron, do you have a science project due this week?” Yes, he says, but he lost the directions. Or they’re in his desk at school, he thinks. You buzz over to the school and get the custodian to open the classroom. Aaron finds them and you read them. An experiment? Research? Poster board? Argh!

While dashing to Staples for the tri-fold board, you try not to explode. “Haven’t we talked about procrastination, Aaron? Letting us know ahead of time that you have a project due?” Aaron is nowhere near as stressed as you are. You try again. “How can you do your best science project at this late date?”

Some reassurance for you–we teachers have seen this happen hundreds of times. It’s how some kids learn. Here are three tips I can offer you:

  1. Let Aaron do the work. You create the environment and then let go. Teachers want to see Aaron’s work, not yours.  We can tell immediately if a parent did the work.
  2. Clear Aaron’s schedule, even it if means missing a sports practice.  If there are penalties, well, that’s another lesson learned.
  3. If his finished project is less than stellar, send it to school anyway.

Try to keep your tone matter-of-fact throughout the ordeal. All of this is very tough stuff to do because not helping sounds harsh.

But look closer and you’ll see that it’s showing love. By remembering this, you let Aaron grow and learn.

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