I’m going to talk a little about home projects. Not remodeling your kitchen. I’m talking about the homework assignments your charming children bring home from school. The ones that you have to complete in a couple weeks. Basically, any project for your kids to do at home.

It could be a state project (as it was when I was a kid), or a “passion” project (which it is for my son). Or it could be a science fair thingy or any other project that is meant to spark their interest in learning.

The point is, it’s a big, involved homework project of some sort.

Please remember that I am a teacher. This is what I do for a living. So, this isn’t just some random parent rant wherein they fail to see the educational side of things. I’m well-versed in the scholastic goals that home projects for kids seek to accomplish.

So, let’s get to it, then.

Why Home Projects for Kids Are Terrible

Here is the problem with projects that are supposed to be completed at home:

The kids don’t want to do them. Not that that’s an excuse. My 4th grade state project on Colorado was done the night before it was due (good job getting that “A,” dad!), and I did alright.

90% of students will avoid this torture until the last minute, and then their parents end up completing the project for their kid instead of with them. I see some of the projects that come back to school with these kids. They are obviously not completed by the student. Every single one of those models would probably have boogers stuck to them if they were.

So, where does the learning come in? What kind of lessons do these home projects teach?

Kids learn that if they bring something home and forget about it, their parents will do it for them.

Or they learn that if they actually do it themselves, their project looks a lot worse than everyone else’s.

Which I suppose is the lesson here. Let the kids do it themselves! Everyone! Let them do the entire thing themselves! It’s not a competition. If we all do that, all the projects will look equally bad.

(Sorry kids, it’s the truth. You guys still suck at cutting things out.)

Suddenly, the stress is off the parents and onto their charming little students who were supposed to complete this thing last week anyway. If they all do these projects without help, they will learn how to research, how to complete something by a deadline, and how working hard on something can be frustrating but rewarding.

I’m not telling you not to give a few pointers here and there. Just let them do the work! Bad cutting, boogers, and all.

We enjoy many things about the Ninja Dad life, but one thing we don’t like is repeating ourselves. Constantly. Especially when it has to do with manners, behavior, and general commonsense decorum.

So, rather than nag ourselves hoarse, we developed a genius reminder system to keep our kids in line. They’re called manners cards, and we swear, sometimes they actually work. Check them out here.

Classroom Fight Solution: Let Them


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