The Craft Challenged Mom… And the #?!$x&*! School Project

Mint Tin Book Report - original idea from
Mint Tin Book Report – original idea from

Man, I suck at crafts. In my head I don’t. But there is plenty of evidence to prove otherwise. Over Easter break, I saw friends posting pictures of crafts they VOLUNTARILY did with their kids. Nail art with wood and tools and string and paint was my fave. Shoot, I didn’t even manage to die Easter eggs with my kids.

However…. being a mother pretty much requires at least a little craftiness.

I am the first one to belly ache about class projects. Book report, fairy tale character costumes, Eric Carle art project, a Roman artifact model for Latin class, a Native American diorama, Earth Day project, and the list goes on and on and on. BUT… if not for these required projects, I really don’t know when my kids would get an opportunity to do these kinds of things with their parents. And even though the process is always fraught with at least a little conflict, I have to admit that I almost always enjoy it.

It’s illuminating to get a chance to see first hand how your child’s brain works when challenged in this way. To question and collaborate and to work together on something that your child is really proud of in the end.

Bobby’s teacher this year has really raised the bar in terms of creative approaches to typically boring assignments – especially book reports. One of the first we did was a “cereal box” book report where he had to create an original game (that related to the story) for the back of the box. This week, he has a “Mint Tin Book Report” due on Thursday.

All of our schools had an extra day off today for Easter break, so Bobby and I sat down this morning to get it done.

What is it about little hands and glue? The hands end up sticking to everything!
What is it about little hands and glue? The hands end up sticking to everything!

Bobby had already completed the rough draft on his own. I helped him utilize the templates provided and get it all to work with our printer. He did most of the cutting, and all of the coloring and glue. And then it was time to get busy typing. As we sat side by side and compared what he wrote to the rubric provided, we talked though some areas where his content was thin. I asked probing questions and we talked through several parts of the book as well as the components of a story. He was able to more fully complete the assignment and he was really proud of his finished project.

Best of all, it is done early – a rare event in our house, to be sure. About ten minutes after he finished, he got an invitation to join his other fourth grade classmates in a Nerf war – on the finest sunny spring day you could ever hope to see. And because his work was done, I could freely say “YES, go! Have fun!”

Tonight, when my husband got home, Bobby couldn’t wait to show his Dad what he worked on. Is there anything better than that feeling of pride on a job well done? Of being ten years old and beaming in your parents’ praise?

So thanks Mrs. Ford, for the catalyst to some quality time with my  middle man. There was more than one lesson learned here.

Such a Neat Little Package

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