Feb 10, 2014

Why I Don't Do My Kids School Projects For Them


Today is the 100th day of school which means the fabulous 100 things project. I have a major beef with home projects in school. When I was a teacher, I refused to assign them. My students did all their class projects in class. Why?

I wanted my students to do the work, not their freaking parents. 

Yesterday Isabella started working on her project. We brained stormed some ideas earlier in the week and she wanted to make a necklace with 100 beads. She went to work until I quickly realized that the twine I had was not going to be strong enough for her little project. Time to brain storm again.

She wanted to bring 100 hot dogs since she says they are her favorite food this week. Obviously gluing 100 hot dogs to a poster is not an option so we landed on making a hot dog out of 100 things. Isabella wanted to make the bun out of popcorn, use banana Runts for the mustard, and Hot Tamales for the ketchup. I came up with pasta for the hot dog since she was stumped.

Then Isabella went to work gluing each piece of the project at an excruciating slow pace. She had such a hard time with the ketchup and mustard that I poured myself a glass of wine and decided to get comfortable, I was going to be at the kitchen table for a long time.

I was right, this project took an hour to complete and every last ounce of patience in my body. But in the end, my daughter did the project.



Without much help from me which was the whole point of the project! 

Today when we got to school I would say about 80% of the projects in the hallway were done by the parents. One was a beautiful hand drawn ballerina with 100 stickers making up the tutu and leotard. Which of course made a perfect pattern and not one sticker was out of place. Another was a huge dinosaur scene complete with a volcano, river, and trees on the ground. A mountain and cloud background was around the 4' X 4' scene.

Sure a 5 year old did that. 

It pissed me off that parents do their kid's projects. First of all the teacher knows your kid didn't it. She watched your kid try to unsuccessfully draw polar bears and Christmas trees all winter, you really think you're fooling anyone with that Ballerina? Second and most importantly, you are robbing your child an important learning opportunity!

I wish I had a picture of the look on Isabella's face when she turned in her project, she was beaming with pride. No one feels proud of the work someone else does for them. Plus these are the easy projects! Trust me, they will get harder. And your kid is going to be unprepared for them since they've never had to do the work on their own. Think about the message you're sending your child -

Your work isn't good enough honey, here mommy/daddy will do it for you. It's OK to take the credit for someone else's work. 

Look I get it, these projects are a pain in the butt! But you're not doing your kid any favors by doing the work for them. In fact you're crippling them and it will bite you in the butt down the road. Do you need to guide projects, of course. Help with things like glue guns? Obviously! But every time you find your self reaching for the glue bottle it's time to stop. Your kid uses glue at school every week, they know how to do it themselves.

You already completed Kindergarten so quit doing Kindergarten work.

76 comments:

  1. I agree! It is so important to let them do it.. at times it sure is hard not to jump in but it doesn't do any good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a great lesson for your daughter and especially because she knows that you are there to guide her. She did a good job! #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  3. I completely agree with you! It's also not really fair to those kids who don't have actively-engaged, available parents to guide them, never mind totally doing the project for them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! At this age the teachers know when mom does the work. But as they get into middle school and high school it's not as obvious.

      Delete
  4. I didn't let my kids do it at first because I wanted them to have the best projects I was that mom but I realize that if they went to school and had to present they would be like huh so I stopped. Now they do it all themselves with very little help from me. Stopping over from SITS kokoamag.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you realized that they should do the work themselves. It is hard because you want your kid to do a great job.

      Delete
  5. I applaud you for not allowing your dwindling patience to jump in and take over. I think sometimes parents just can't handle watching their child struggle, no one wants their child to struggle, but at the same time that struggle is part of the learning process. Plus, the imperfect projects are always the most intriguing... Perfection is overrated! - Alison from inthefontofa.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point! Yes perfection is overrated and so impossible to achieve, so why are we trying to teach our kids to strive for perfection?

      Delete
  6. Yeah for not doing their homework! They will definitely appreciate it in the future. Best Regards, Wendy *Visiting from Sits*

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think you're just a mean mom for not doing your daughter's work. Kidding kidding completely kidding! Kudos to you for letting her do it herself! I agree that it doesn't do your child any favors when you just step in and take over. It might be easier in the short-term, but I think it creates more problems in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this, and you are so spot on! Sometimes my impatience starts to get to me and I have to actually walk away for a couple minutes when my kid is doing something like this, but I know he has to do it himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had to walk away once or twice too. That kid moved at glacial speed gluing the popcorn on. It was everything in me not to do it for her just so we could be finished.

      Delete
  9. YES! Thank You! What you described is the perfect balance of being involved in your kids school work while letting them do it themselves (in my opinion anyway).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. It's all about finding balance. And then being patient enough to allow them to work at their own pace. I am not great at that part.

      Delete
  10. Yes, kids don't learn anything if they don't do the work on their projects! For my son's paper on my husband's citizenship process I did dictate what he was writing, trying to keep the words at a middle school level.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I so agree with you! And even as a homeschool mom I face this. My kids sometimes do Science fairs or other project based displays/presentations and I hate it when kids get awarded and they can't even answer a simple question about their topic. Uh...maybe I should just ask your mom what viscous means...because you clearly did not to this project!

    Thanks for stopping by Nancherrow today! Would love to have you come back and share at Fridays Unfolded!

    Alison

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I didn't realize this was a problem for homeschooling too. I shouldn't be surprised right?

      Delete
  12. I so agree with you! It drives me crazy to hear my coworkers talking about how "they" have so much homework to do tonight!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What??? I'm pretty sure I would lose it and get fired for running my mouth. Ridiculous!

      Delete
  13. LMAO! Yup. This is a discussion I've had about my step-son. If he can't remember what he learned, then it's not my job or the hubs to do the work. I make him answer questions until something rings a bell, then both have to sit there until completion. Kid, your job IS school.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I enjoyed this post. Thank you for the inspiration.

    #SITSblogging

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have to agree with you! My parents never did mine for me and I don't tolerated it from my students.

    ReplyDelete
  16. i try so hard to sit on my hands while my middle child is working on school projects. Often times I am lucky that her big sister will help out when needed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I admit I help my son with his projects. He does them, but with me by his side. Stopping from SITS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The helping is fine, it's when parents take over and do the work for the kid that I have a problem with. Kids need some help and guidance or the work would never get done!

      Delete
  18. I don't help with the projects yet. Not in First Grade. And that ballerina makes me mad because then all the other kids don't feel like their work is good enough. If they wanted parents to make the projects, they would give us the homework! :-) stopping by from SITS!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh this makes me so upset. I grew up with a girl who never did her own work. Ever. She was cute and popular and her mother didn't work so she was always at school volunteering. So school staff loved her. I was not cute or popular and my parents were a hot mess (good people but a mess). I did every project. And she was always always the winner of things. I clearly hold a grudge even today.

    KK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that makes me mad too. I went to school with a similar girl and it ticked me off too!

      Delete
  20. It is very important that the kids do their own projects. I wont say i dont help if they get stuck, but my son knows that its his project - his grade -and something he shall be proud of

    ReplyDelete
  21. I totally agree with you, I like to help my kid with his projects, but I let him do it. I remember when he did his first project, he was so proud.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Lucas came home today with a fistful of paperwork detailing next term's homework project. He's seven. I hate winding up feeling like the bad guy for forcing him to concentrate on his work at the evenings or weekends to put in a half-decent project. Plus, they all involve drawing and he hates to draw as he isn't very good at it. I know why they set home projects, but it's just a nightmare for parents.

    #SITSblogging

    ReplyDelete
  23. I agree with you. How will kids learn if you do it for them? It's hard to resist I do admitt :) Stopping by from the SITSGirls!

    ReplyDelete
  24. YES!!! It drives me nuts when I hear from people who are just exhausted because they spent all night building XYZ project...I think wait, what? My parents certainly helped when I had something like a volcano, but more supervisory than do it for me!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yes, yes, yes- it should be the kids' projects. For the 100th day, my first grader has to MAKE A SHIRT with 100 items on it. How can he even do that? I hate that I'm being forced to help with that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What? That is completely age inappropriate. Can he make a shirt with 100 dots on it and call it a day?

      Delete
    2. I helped him cut out 100 minions that were on a roll of duct tape we had and he put them on the shirt. I was so annoyed by this project.

      Delete
  26. Love your post! some parents are ridiculous these days. It's like no one can lose at anything, even what their kids are doing. As if it matters! All that matters is that the kids learn to BE HONEST... so, not sure what they're learning if they don't do the work.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Good point. Parents have already put in their school years. Taking a step back and letting their kids take a step forward is a win win for all involved. (Stopping in from SITS)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I make my kid do his own projects too. We just did one this week. It isn't perfect, but he did it himself. How can a kid learn anything if the parents do all their work? #SITSblogging

    ReplyDelete
  29. I can totally commiserate here. I refused to do my kids’ work for them as well and it always got to me a little, but my girls totally knew they did the work on their own and were always so proud of their efforts. Reminds me of a funny sketch that comedian Brian Regan does…the kid who can’t even zip his own zipper but comes to school with a “working” volcano. Haha! Stopping by from #sitsblogging

    ReplyDelete
  30. YES!! I make my kindergartner do her own work and it drives me crazy to see that other parents are obviously doing their kid's work. Her teacher thanked me for it, though, and said that Madeline is excelling because of it. She also said that the happier kids are usually the ones whose parents let them do these things on their own. Of course I'm there to help when I'm asked, but it's her work. #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  31. My parents never did my projects for me and I don't plan to do them for my daughter but I will help her.

    ReplyDelete
  32. THANK you for this!! So very true... I think so many parents are missing the point of projects. They aren't doing their kids any favors by doing the work for them!! #SITSBlogging

    ~ Lora @ Crazy Running Girl

    ReplyDelete
  33. Amen to that! As a former teacher, I couldn't agree more. Found you via SITS.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I agree that letting them do their own projects (even though the perfectionist in me may want to step in from time to time) teaches them so much more than just the lesson they are doing the project for! Give them the skills to succeed in the future, let them do their own projects!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I totally agree with you! I actually have this argument with my son frequently. He wants me to do it because he wants to be lazy but I won't so he gets frustrated. I will help him figure out how to find an answer or come up with ideas, but when the work is to be done it's up to him. He's the one that needs to learn these skills, I've done it so in my opinion, you're on target! Thanks for sharing! #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  36. Well, my kids are long gone and I think you have the right approach! Too many parents are doing too much for their kids but it doesn't help in the long run... over here from SITS - have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I totally agree! I also hated group projects when my kids were in school. It seemed like my kids got stuck doing all of the work. Made me so mad! Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  38. My mother never did my projects. She brainstormed and would be an extra pair of hands but every diorama looked very much like I did it. Good for you and way to go Isabella!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I agree with you! It's nice to let the kids learn unless they really want my help, I would help. However, I would rather they do it their projects so they will learn. #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  40. Brava!! More parents need to realize the disadvantage of not allowing children to do things on their own. Good for you!

    ReplyDelete
  41. You're so right! Children don't learn from parents' helping them with their homework/projects.

    http://ahleessa4realz.blogspot.com/

    #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  42. Standing Ovation from me! I was on my own for most of my schoolwork and there were a number of times I crashed and burned. It can be challenging to walk that fine line between help and doing it for your kid. Now that my girls are older, I tell them: I have a Masters Degree. I did my share of homework and projects. I have the certificate to prove it! It's your turn. The kids will never learn if mom or dad are doing their work all the time--whether it's a cute 100-day project or a 6th grade Advanced Math worksheet. Sure, they might fail, but that's where some of the real learning can begin! Great post and glad I stopped by via #SITSblogging!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have a Kindergartner, and I see parents doing the work too. It is annoying because I'm sure a day will come when my son compares his work to others and sees adult skills on a child product. Not fair! Great post! #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  44. I help my son with his projects but they are all his ideas. My son has Autism and so things like the detailed cutting/coloring/handwriting is so hard for him. If he does it all on his own either it will take us five times longer than the other families to complete or we have to have the project shortened. Either he goes in with a project that looks horrible compared to others (and took MAJOR MAJOR effort) or is different and other kids yell out "no fair" BOTH of which are horrible for his self esteem. So he types his projects and I help him with the tedious work. I've never taken over a project and even if I see him making a "mistake" I have to keep my mouth shut because like you said, it's his project! But in the end it's something he is proud of - it's like the other kids and he did it. Even with a little help from me.

    ReplyDelete
  45. YESSS!!! I totally agree with you. I did my projects on my own with little or no help from parents and I expect the same from my children. That's the only way they will learn how to do their own work. I see parents doing their children's projects all the time at their new school and it really annoys me. I really want my children to be proud of their own work and abilities, not mine. And just as you mentioned, the accomplished feeling they have after completing the work is so priceless!

    Happy to be a part of your #SITS tribe this week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it really is priceless! My parents didn't help me with my work either which I know shaped me as a parent. It really is better for them in the long run.

      Delete
  46. It really is so important for kids to do their own projects. It's great to have a parent's gentle guidance but that's it!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I'm with you, this really drives me nuts and I sometimes let it get to me because I see all of these other projects that are so beautiful and neat and fancy...duh, the parent totally did it. I know teachers know that...I mean, they have to know right? Your daughter's looks amazing

    #sitsblogging

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh the teachers know. I had a student who brought in perfect homework every day but failed the tests on a regular basis. Gee, I wonder if he was the one that did his homework??? We know what level of work our students are capable of.

      Delete
  48. I have felt this way for a long time but I have found a different angle now with the help of my son's teacher. He is 7 and struggles with attention and expressing his ideas. So, we work on projects together. Sometimes this means I do a lot of the work but I explain as we go in hope that he will see the process and be able to follow my example on the next project. I know some parents do the project for other reasons but as a mom with a big spread in children I have discovered that every kid is different. My first one did extraordinarily elaborate projects completely on his own. My second one needed some guidance and advice and this last one (ten years younger than the second) needs more. Just one mom's insight.

    ReplyDelete
  49. It is so important for children to learn. We start kinder next year and I'm excited for my daughter to do her own projects. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. Word. I taught science for a year. My family never did my schoolwork - I never could figure out why everyone is doing their kids' now. It doesn't do them any favors. I remember the time we got to the state history fair with a ridiculous video. We saw everyone else's slickly produced videos (back in the mid-90s, that was really big money) and we laughed our butts off - but we were PROUD to have done every single bit ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Interesting take on the subject, I've never thought of it this way. I'm guilty of doing my kid's project. Like, yeah.. my kid turned in a poster board with a mini essay on it that included a citation and references LOL. I'm a first time parent of a school aged kid. We learn as we go right! Thanks for the insight :) #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  52. I totally agree, its so much better for them to do there OWN work!!

    Amanda // Happily Ever After

    ReplyDelete
  53. Eeek! We just did one of these, except we made shirts. Mitch wanted to put 100 buttons on his shirt...no way either of us were going to sew that many buttons. We settled for iron on buttons I made on the computer and cut with a Silhouette. He helped peel the backing off....that sorta counts? #sitsblogging

    ReplyDelete
  54. Aren't you essentially telling kids that they aren't good enough to do their own project if you do it for them? I get it, it's easier for you and easier for your kid, but then where do they get that pride of handing in a project they created and finished themselves? It sounds like your daughter had a great time, and it must have been great to see her smile when she turned it in.

    ReplyDelete
  55. OMG- loved this post- so freaking true! #SITSblogging

    ReplyDelete
  56. This is one of my pet peeves as well. When I taught, I'd be so tempted to send a note home congratulating them on the job they did on their kids' projects! It really does the students no good in the long run, but most of these parents don't think like that at all. I think the hotdog turned out well! Happy Valentine's Day. #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  57. That always made me crazy, even as a kid, when parents did their kids' work for them. So not fair! Love the post!! #SITSblogging

    ReplyDelete
  58. I totally agree. You can help your child without doing it for them. That's a little overboard when it comes to perfectionism. #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete
  59. I love this post so much! I was a second grade teacher and I hated when the parents did the projects. As a mom, I have had more than one bad experience with my kids doing their own projects and showing up and being the only ones that did. I wish I could say mine were proud of their work but they cried with embarrassment and once my daughter refused to turn hers in. It broke my heart and made me so mad that none of the other kids did their own work (especially after I specifically asked the teacher if this was supposed to be a child project or a parent-helped project and she said, "Child". Glad your little one did her own! :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I agree! When my kids have to do projects, you know when parents did most of it. Drives me insane! I will help a bit but for the most part, my kids do it all.

    ReplyDelete
  61. love it!! haha. We had our kids participate in the Science Fair in January, and let me tell you, when they won those 3rd place trophies (both kids 3rd place in their grade) I couldn't be a prouder momma because THEY did the work. 1st and Kindergarten. Sure we guided, but my daughters pictures weren't glued on pretty background paper, and they didn't have straight edges because she cut the pictures herself. You would enjoy the look on their faces when they think about what they did. It's made all of learning even more enjoyable for them.
    The Hot Dog looks awesome. Visiting from #SITSBlogging (a bit late, but I'm making it!)

    ReplyDelete
  62. I agree, kids learn from doing things themselves. The kids will never learn if the parents do everything #SITSBlogging

    ReplyDelete

 
Blog Design byA Mommy's Blog Design (© Copyright 2011)