A few years back I opened my oldest backpack to see a paper that said project. It was well before we had got to doing craft or did projects at home. I was in a panic about what in the world we were going to do for this project. I got all frustrated about the project and put it off until the last minute!
In truth looking back, it was not a horrible project at all. It was a simple craft to help extend what my daughter was learning at school. This was to be the first of many more projects to come.
We have done several projects over the last seven years. I can say that each of them was different and unique to my girls. My girls always have their idea of what we were going to do. It always changes from projects to project.
One thing I do different now is ask a few questions of my girls beyond what information the teacher gives. Why are we doing this project? How much help do I give? When is the a due? I try and think about those questions before I groan and think about what we have to do. It has changed the way I think about doing projects.
Find Out Why They Are Doing The Projects
The first disguise a turkey activity we did I had no clue WHY we were doing this. What could be the reason? My oldest was not great about remembering the details of what she did at school. I had to email the teacher and ask about the turkey. I got the reason and the book they read. I ran out to the library and got the book. I read through, so I understood the story and the reason. We have now done three of this project.
I took this approach from then on about why we were doing projects. I would ask about every project that came home. Some projects were easy to understand, and other seems to come from left field. After I had got more details, it made sense to me and easier to do the projects.
One recent project we did was one called: “Friday Scientist.” This meant we had to do a science experiment at home and then my middle would take the project at replicate it at school in from of the class. Then she would answer questions from the class, the principal, the teacher and the aids in the classroom. The “why we were doing this” was to have the kids learn about different hands-on science experiments that are simple and easy to try. Plus learn to write about what they thought would happen and what happened. It was a great way for the kids to explore science and presenting materials to other people in an orderly manner.
How Much Help Do I Give?
This question is a tough one at times. I will say that I look through the sheets given and wonder if they can do it on their own. I have to take a hands-off approach to the idea a lot. I want the project to be great and grand often. It is one of those times I have to control my need to have something turn out just right.
Our most recent, disguise a turkey for my youngest she wanted it to be a cat. I wanted her to think of something more interesting and keep trying to talk her into something more. She told me flat out that it was her turkey, and the teacher said it was her project and I could help her if she wanted help. She and her sister made her turkey a cat. It was fun and turned out great, and I was as much hands-off as I could be.
The Friday Scientist was fun. She chose not to do an idea from the book and wanted to repeat her sisters “Water Walking Experiment.” It was the Friday Scientist my oldest did almost two years ago. I told her we needed to change it up. We talked about different ways we could do it. She wanted to make a color wheel with it. I asked her how she thought it would happen, and we wrote down the ideas. I let her figure out what she thought she needed and how it would work. I asked her loads of questions, and she did the experiment.
Her first run of the experiment did not go great, and I knew it would not, but she did not want me to help. She wanted to do it all on her own to practice. I gave her the tools and took two tries for it to work, but she learned from it! I also learned it was hard just to sit and watch.
When is the Project Due?
This question is important. It tells you how much time you have to work on the project and when the teacher wants it back. For the turkey it was easy, we were a week to work on the project. My youngest did not want to do it right away, but she still wanted that cat. Time went by really fast, and we had the project due. It was not done. We had fun finishing the turkey and got it in. I would have loved to do it sooner. I know better than to put it off.
For the Friday Scientist, we had one week on work on the science project. We also had to keep in mind what we did had to be done in front of a class. We took our week and did the experiment 3 times to make sure she was comfortable doing it on her own or if she needed help she could get it and tell someone else what to do. The science experiment was one project we could not put off until the last minute because we had to fill out paper and do the experiment. She knew when her project was due, and she did work on it on her own and with my help the second and third time she did it.
Some projects you just can’t put off and others you can. You have to work with your kids to get the projects done. This is also about them learning in the home and at school.
Final Thoughts On Projects
I love doing projects to support what kids are learning. My girls love hands-on projects. It gives them something more than just simple paperwork to gather information and learning. Yes my girls do a lot of hands-on projects at home that I never blog about. Yes, it is shocking, we do more than printables at home.
I also hate some projects because we have to find time to do them in an already busy schedule. I also like having loads of free time for my girls to just play. I also want that time to be able to spend time doing something with them. It is easy to forget about the project when you want to do other things. It is important to remember at the at home project for school is just as important as the projects they do at school.
I can say that once the project is done my girls loved it even if they complained about it at some time. I’m a lot the same way about the project. I dread it at first but love it at the end.
Keep an eye our for our latest Friday Scientist activity coming soon on the blog!
This months theme is projects. Be sure to check out everyons posts!
Check out all the Project based learning posts:
- Long Term Projects in Elementary School by Planet Smarty Pants
- How Parents Can Support School Projects by Mama Smiles
- How to Pick the Best Science Fair Topic for Winning OR Taking it Easy by Thriving STEM
- 5 Things Teachers Want You to Know About School Projects by Books and Giggles
Be sure to check out the other months school themed posts:
- Back to School: Free Weekly School Calendar
- Managing Homework Ideas & Free Homework Punch Cards
- Keeping an Open Communication with Teachers – Free Note to Teacher Printable
- Holiday Celebrations in School
Cassie – 3Dinosaurs.com