Wednesday, December 7, 2011

E Is for Egypt--and One of My Biggest Pet Peeves

I love our local elementary school. Great test scores, teachers who care about my kids. It's a fantastic place to raise kids.

Every November, the sixth grade puts together an Egyptian festival, with costumes, masks, and . . . homemade pyramids. When Lily came home from school with the instructions for the assignment, she had grandiose ideas of what her pyramid would look like, and like any good mother, I brought her back down to earth.  We opted for foam core, spray stone texture, a kit of Egyptian artifacts from Michal's, and a sheet of glittery paper.  It took hours.  I had to help cut the foam core and plot the logistics of getting it to actually stick together. (Fortunately, she's my fourth child, and it's not my first time at this pyramid design stuff.)

The morning of the festival was crazy for me, and I don't even remember why.  But I ran in, snapped a few pictures, looked at a few of the projects, then ran out.  I didn't get a single decent picture. 

Lucky for me, she has the greatest teacher.  A few days after the festival, Lily received this postcard in the mail:

There are few teachers left like Mrs. Ferguson.  I'm so glad Lily is spending time with her this year.

This brings me to one of my biggest pet peeves in the world:  Parents who do their child's school projects.  Seriously?  Didn't you graduate from sixth grade thirty years ago?  I know I did.  I can appreciate the teacher's thinking on big projects:  It helps parents get involved with their kids' education.  It helps cement facts and information in the kids' minds.  I'm willing to assist.  I'm not willing to design, paint, letter, write, or complete the project.

Here's the kicker, parents:  Teachers can tell when the parents do the project.  Are you shocked?  Teachers know what your child's daily work looks like, and if their project comes in not looking like that daily work, they've been around the block enough to know who earned the grade.

Lily's pyramid looked like a sixth grade project.  She glued flowers on it and misspelled a few words with my label maker, things that I wouldn't have done.  And guess what?  She got an A.  Mrs. Ferguson knew by looking at it that it was LILY'S project.  Not mine.

So, to all you parents out there who do your kids' projects so they can earn A's--stop.

Thank you.  Now I will retreat from my soap box.

And thank you, Lily, for completing your Egypt project just in time for me to link up to E at Jenny Matlock's this week.
Jenny Matlock


  1. I'm SO with you on that! I hate hearing parents complain about how much work they have to do on their child's project! My son's kindergarten class sent home turkeys for families to "disguise" for Thanksgiving and then put them up in the halls to display. It was AMAZING how many were obviously done by parents. I was glad that my son had turned his in after doing it HIMSELF and that he was proud of it. That's what counts. Not it looking perfect by adult standards!

  2. You've got that right. It disempowers your children to do their projects. What will they do in college if they've never learned to get it together on their own?

    Neat project, by the way. And what a cool teacher, too. Iove that she sent a photo and note. It's those extras that make a real difference in a child's life.


  3. Great ! Lily is an awesome kid with a great teacher! Nothing worse than a parent bragging on their kid when the kid never touched the work! No wonder we have so many dense kids today!
    I really liked the post!

    Thanks for sharing


  4. I remember the year of Egypt and the year of volcanoes....and the yearly Science Fair. In fact, I'm getting the shakes just thinking about those times!

  5. LOVE that Lilly's teacher took the time to send out postcards!! And I agree w/ you 100%! You said it perfectly- teachers KNOW your child's daily work!!

  6. We were just talking about this yesterday. Eloise had to make her own planet this week and when we brought in her lumpy, bumpy, less than round, yet adorable planet that she did 100% on her own - their were MASTERPIECES(parental made) lined up in the room and she almost burst into tears as hers was so 'ugly' compared to some others and I told her to hold her head high because she made hers all by herself and it's lovely..and then her teacher came over and pointed out to her what an incredible job she did thank goodness. GAH - I was so angry at those other parents.

  7. Funnily enough in the Canadian sixth grade social curriculum our kids do Greece. Middlest did a project which included making a greek plate and vase. Thankfully all the work was done in class with a very artistic teacher. She loved every minute of it. So glad Lily has one of the "good" ones. The time it took Mrs. F to make and send out those cards.... amazing. And yes, our kids do their own work, but sometimes its hard when they see the difference between theirs and the ones the parents did : (
    Wonderful work Lily!

  8. OMG, jenny, i am SOOOO behind you on this - my youngest had her first major project due 2 years ago, each child chose a major US Nat'l park and created a large diorama of the park (similar scale to Lily's pyramid), complete with homemade pamphlet literature to hand out, they dressed in park ranger outfits, etc etc ... when my older daughter had gone thru it 2 years earlier, I didn't notice a single project that appeared out of place but when I attended my younger daughter's big day, OMG there must have been 1/3 of the projects SO CLEARLY completed by the parents - it was absolutely ridiculous!! Can you tell it's still under my skin?! Grrrr ... pet peeve for sure, I'm with you all the way!!

  9. in my rage to vent about the parents doing their kids' work, I forgot to mention how impressed i am that Lily's teacher did that for her (the sweet postcard) - she'll remember that for her whole life, no doubt - what a VERY special teacher she has!!

  10. I love it.

    It is so hard for me to work on my kids' projects with them because I am apparently a control freak. But I will think of this each time. thanks ;)

  11. Yay to Mrs. Ferguson. Yay to Lily! And yay to YOU! You're all making the world a better place by simple acts of integrity. And what a cute Cleopatra Lily is!!

  12. Superb ‘E’ post – and Cleopatra!

    Have a great weekend too,

    Here’s mine

  13. She is so cute! Great pyramid and she should be proud of it.

    Uh, parents doing their kids projects.....exhausting.
    So glad I don't have kids in school anymore so I don't have to deal with THOSE parents again. I got sick of being embarassed for my kids cuz I felt like the loser parent for making them do their own projects.

  14. Cute make-up, Lil!!! Love you guys!! :)

  15. How cute. I think it looks perfect with all it's imperfections. I can tell she worked hard at it too and not someone else!~Ames

  16. My favorite book report from a parent is scanned on my computer at school. Some times we just need to laugh as teachers.

    I'm glad Lily did her own project.

  17. How can we teach them to work hard and be proud of what THEY do if they aren't doing it!!!:)
    Totally hear you my friend!
    Awesome project Lily!!
    have a happy night jen

  18. AMEN to that! The worst you can do for a child is taking his/her creativity away (my soap box:) )

  19. Hello.
    I'm not a parent, but I completely agree with you.
    You have a very clever & smart Egyptian Princess & Mrs Ferguson...she sounds like one of the last few remaining really great & kind teachers.
    Lovely post.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Eleven Roses And You

  20. I could always tell who did my second graders science projects. The projects were filled with electricity, bells and whistles.

  21. I'm with you about the parent made projects too! My dad use to love "helping" us too but it took all the fun out of us doing it ourselves because my dad can be quite OCD about making it perfect. The best projects I've ever done when I was in elementary school were the ones where I get to make myself :) Ellie will definitely have to make her own projects in our family.

  22. I always think a smart alec teacher should have two for the parents and one for the kids. The adults can display their work and give their each other!

    Your daughter is beautiful. Her eye make-up cracked me up!

    Thanks for a thoughtful link to the letter "E".


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