Friday, March 14, 2008

The Project

I sat in the gym with all of the other moms. I could see right off that this was going to be an interesting assembly. The children in Jared's class were going to present the projects they had been working on for the term. The project I talked to Jared about and he said he was doing it at school. When I asked him about the spoken part of his project he replied he was also doing that at school.

I sat there looking at the stage where there were grand pyramids, paper mache sculptures, a wooden sarcophagus complete with a mummified barbie, all sort of fantastic projects to show what they had learned about Ancient Egypt. One girl was even dressed in her best Egyptian costume. It was clear the children had help from home. What had I done? I left my son to do his project all on his own. I let him do it at school and I was genuinely nervous at the results.

The first three boys stood up and presented their projects and what they learned as if they were doing a news interview. It was great - and clearly written by an adult. I am fighting the tears knowing that Jared will soon have his turn and that his project will just not compare. Project after project gets presented and my stomach is just turning.

Jared stands up with his half sheet of paper and a display of plastic pyramids. They are made out of red, blue and yellow pieces that snap together to make perfect triangles. He had made about 15 of them. He stood up and read three short sentences that said he liked learning about Egypt, he had fun making the pyramids and he learned a lot. And he was BEAMING!

One of the other moms turned to me and said "parents should be banned from helping with this project". I then realized just how much Jared had done!! He took initiative. He made a plan and he followed through. His project was complete and done completely by him. He knew what he had done but why did it take me so long to realize it? I was so stuck on knowing that he has difficulties in school. Knowing that he could not produce something as extravagant as the other children. I was so proud of him - he was successful.

As the other classes left the gym they walked by the projects so they could see each one up close. I stood by and listened as kids walked by and they told him how well he did. How great all the pyramids were. I could have cried....again.

Lesson learned, I need to be proud about what he CAN do and what he does do and quit worrying about what he can't.

8 comments:

ciara said...

mnm-sometimes it's best to let the kids do it on their own just as you've done. it's irritating to see projects that are so obviously mostly done by parents. my husband, back before we got together, was even told by a teacher that he needed to let his son do his work on his own. what cracks me up, is i give a little help, not a lot, but he always tells me that it looks like i did most of the work. ummm, i don't think so. if you compare the projects he did w his son to the projects i did w my girls, you can see the difference. he's actually stopped doing the projects w him, backed off from checking a planner every single night, and checked homework, too. i do check homework, but just to see if it's done. i don't go over every problem. maybe if i catch a mistake or two, i just say it's wrong and to figure out why..then have them redo. but for the most part, if they don't finish it, or get answers wrong, i send them to school w it lol

good job, jared!!

Robin said...

Way to go Jared, and way to go mom!! Well done to BOTH of you. I really love your lesson learned.

MarmiteToasty said...

I feel proud of Jared too, and proud of you for 'letting him be'.....

Ive always taken a back seat with my lads and school projects, whats the point of it all being a parents work of art, that teachers a child nuffin....... I have a friend that does his sons maths homework cos the lad cant manage...... soooooo what happens at the end of year exams at school when daddy aint there......

When me lads were at pre-school and they use to hold easter bonnet parades, I would gently encourage and help very little and look at the end result of a wobbly hat with chicks hanging off the sit etc, and we would turn up at the event and I would see wonderful handcrafted creations obviously crafted by talented mothers in the art department, but not talented in the 'let ones child learn department'...... each of my lads in turn WON their easter bonnet parade cos that the lord the judges where looking for the childs efforts and NOT the craft work of a parent :)

Way to go Jared :)

x

Gerb said...

I also tend to want to help a little too much but have been amazed at what my kids can do on their own. It's hard to think they don't need us!

Sniz said...

Wow, what a neat story. And so intuitive. I have often had thoughts like this, thinking that the kids will feel embarrassed if they don't have projects as extravagant as the other kids (since almost all of them were made by the parents), but the fact that your son was proud and didn't feel embarrassed or pressure is soooo cool. And your conclusions were so wise.

Amazed said...

One of your best posts ever....and one someday your son will love reading about. Good mom to recognize this great lesson!

Maribeth said...

Such a touching story. I've got tears in my eyes. Way to go Jared!

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