For the past few days, I have been obsessing about my daughter’s school project. She and a few other kids in her class were selected to do a semester-long project where they pick a topic and write reports on it, plus give a final presentation, which is this week. Isabella chose baseball as her topic, which is convenient because Justin is a former professional baseball player and current baseball coach. However, the person who has done the bulk of the work on this project is not Justin and certainly not Isabella. It’s me.
How did I not realize growing up that my parents were the ones who did all the work on my projects, science fair experiments, etc.? I look back now and see that it’s so obvious. I’d like to go on the record and thank my wonderful parents, Dan and Colleen, for putting in long hours to make sure my projects were A-worthy, and for letting me take all the credit for it. Sorry I was so selfish.
Isabella actually has been very engaged in this project since day one, and I can tell that she’s learned a lot in the way of study habits, work ethic and self-confidence. It was fun to teach her how to do research at the library. But writing the reports were challenging because a second grader simply is not cognitively prepared to write a report, so I had to tell her what to write while making it sound like something a second grader would write! I’m a writer and a perfectionist, so this was no easy task for me. I felt I was really dumbing myself down, yet maybe not enough.
The past few days we’ve been working on the actual presentation part of the project. She has to speak for 3 to 4 minutes in front of all of the second graders and their parents. And, true to form, Isabella is so caught up in the performance part of it that she’s forgetting about the formal part. No, Isabella, you can’t give the audience high fives when you say that the White Sox won the World Series in 2005… Okay, Isabella, you’ve practiced those hand motions 20 times now. Let’s get back to writing your speech. She will be incorporating some fun elements into the presentation, which will make it enjoyable to watch, but I still had to corral her over-active imagination a bit and bring her down to earth. I don’t want her teacher thinking she’s not taking this seriously.
The hard part is not to be too controlling and to let her have her voice in this, while also teaching her the appropriate way to go about these kinds of projects. I suppose she and I both have a lot to learn, and we have at least ten more years to do so! It’s been fun, though, I’ll admit, and while I’m anxious for this project to be over, I’m also looking forward to the next time Isabella and I can share the common goal of accomplishing a hefty task… even if I’m the one who does most of the work.