Sooner or later every kid gets assigned a school project that is, without question, a PARENTS' project. Here’s how to discern the right amount of help such projects require, whether it’s a shoebox diorama or the science fair. Put the glue gun down!
Whether it’s the science fair, the pinewood derby, or a pre-K shoebox diorama, sooner or later every kid gets assigned a school project that is, without question, a PARENTS' project. What four-year-old can fashion her own “Dress As Your Patron Saint” costume? What sixth-grader can attempt proper MLA citation format without extreme maternal participation?
It’s not so much the projects we mind- it’s the feeling that however we handle it, we’re doing it wrong. If we make the origami cranes for the kid, we’re snowplow parents. If we send them in with a social studies project they made entirely themselves out of paper plates and crayons, we also own their cheek-burning shame when their projects pale in comparison to the professionally-produced ones of their peers.
In this episode we discuss how to discern the right amount of help such projects require: not too much, and not too little. Sure, we can help our kids win the battle of the pinewood derby… but we really want to win the war of having our kids who can someday accomplish things all by themselves.
Here’s links to research and other writing we discuss in this episode:
Susan Messina for Huffington Post: That Fake Science Fair Poster That Went Viral? I Made It. Here's Why
Dana Goldstein for The Atlantic: Don't Help Your Kids With Their Homework
Dr. Keith Robinson and Dr. Angel Harris for the New York Times: Parental Involvement Is Overrated
Wendy Wisner for Scary Mommy: It’s Obvious When Parents Complete Their Kid’s School Projects, So Please Stop
easybib.com (Amy recommends for an easier way to create bibliographies)
sciencebuddies.org (Amy recommends as a resource to choose science fair projects)
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