So, what *about* parents who do their kids’ schoolwork?

turkeyYes. It is a problem. There was the time that one of my kids did a joint project with another kid. They were in 5th grade and the other kid’s mom (a *good friend* of mine) rewrote their report. Yes. I said “rewrote.” Head slap. The kids were fit to be tied and so was I, although I certainly didn’t say anything to my friend. These kids *did* the required writing. But they were 10 years old. And most 10-year-olds do not write like 40-something-year-olds. And I don’t think that’s always a bad thing, in my not-always-humble opinion.

And then there was the science fair… My absolutely over-the-top extrovert friend and I ran a huge middle school science fair for a few years. One year, a science teacher came up to me in an absolute panic! He wanted to make sure that two of the entries did not win an award because it was obvious to him that their parents had done the project. I knew the parents and, yes, the parents did the project. Again, friends of mine. I told him not to worry. I knew from experience that our volunteer judges, who were highly educated, successful area professionals from many scientific fields, always had major discussions about just this issue during the judging orientation. Their radar was highly tuned to “parent project” and without any instruction from us, those two kids did not get awards.

Where is the line between doing the project and helping the kid do the project? I like the idea of making lots of craft supplies available (like my mother-in-law did, moom of 10, who I believe had official teaching credentials). Then there was a horrible dark weekend of deathly cold-type illnesses after which I helped one of my kids learn how to write a paragraph, a skill that no one at the grade school had apparently taught yet. Mrs. Scott taught me that in 4th grade. Or maybe it was Mrs. Bishop in 2nd. I don’t remember.

Mr. Klein, 3rd grade teacher of Haisley Multiplication Blues fame (he taught the plutification tables via the puano that he has in his classroom) was the most diplomatic about the whole thing. The class was supposed to do a science project of some sort. The GG really got into it all and our daughter ended up doing a comet project. With a lot of help from her dad. The projects were displayed at an open house at the school and Mr. Klein introduced the “science fair” by saying that he knew most of the projects were “family” projects and that was OK. And it was. It was 3rd grade and sometimes, in this day and age, doing a project with your dad is the best thing. But I’m sort of negating my thesis here. So I dunno…

Whaddy’all think? I like Pooh’s comment about the Pinewood Derby. I have my own story about that but I’m gonna keep this thing short. Sorta.

5 Responses to “So, what *about* parents who do their kids’ schoolwork?”

  1. gg Says:

    Let us make one thing clear.
    Mouse used my 35mm camera and telescope.
    I gave her instructions and help in using the camera and telescope.

  2. Marquis Says:

    Great pic of the turkey!

  3. Kathy Farnell Says:

    Great pic of the GG.

  4. Kathy Farnell Says:

    Steve Farnell entered the Pinewood Derby one year. His car was cut out with a hand saw and roughly sanded. Then he painted it with Spiderman blue paint and put some wavy red stripes on it. On went the wheels and he spent a few hours “running them in” on the wheels of his bike turned upside down. When they checked the weight of his creation, it was too light. We taped quarters to the car so it was exactly the correct weight. 5 ounces, I think. Anyhow, after “weigh in” he had to turn the car over to the officials who placed the cars on the track. It was fun watching his Spiderman car with a stack of quarters taped to the top beat all of the shiny, fancy cars. (Of course, not all of the cars were fancy, but he beat them too.) He won first place that year.
    I really like the idea of a Daddy Derby. I wish our den leaders had thought of that.

  5. Margaret Says:

    I hated those big projects and stuck my husband with helping; he was really good about not getting too involved, since he has no ego to speak of. However, some of the other SF projects at the fair were a joke! Neither one of my kids really wanted our help very much; they are both pretty independent about their schoolwork. And how much could we help Alison with AP Calculus? Absolutely not at all.