Fun Art Professor - Inspiring & Nurturing Creativity in Young Children

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Musings on School Projects

I was in line at Michael's Craft Store today behind a mother with her 9 year old daughter. The mom and the checkout woman were commiserating about how expensive it was to buy the supplies for all the school projects that are required. “Maybe I'm old-fashioned.” the checker exclaimed, “but I don't know why they don't just have the students do reports anymore. They have to do projects for Science, History, English.” I joined in on the discussion, secretly relieved that those days were behind me.

Several projects of my own children came to mind. In fifth grade, my younger daughter had to do a diorama for a novel they were reading. Being her self sufficient self, she helped herself to our spice cupboard. Into the bottom of the box, she glued down what she thought was parsley to represent grass. Unfortunately, what she thought was a basically odorless green herb was in actuality, a spice blend call It's A Dilly, whose predominant scent was garlic. Her teacher kindly said that she enjoyed its “aroma”, claiming that garlic bread was her favorite food.

That project did not have the honor of joining the myriad of others still stored in our basement. Even though my older daughter is now approaching 28, I can't bring myself to throw out her beautiful foam core rendition of the Blitzkrieg. I also have so many fond memories of our trip to St. Augustine, FL, that I still gaze lovingly at my younger daughter's triptych of the city she created when studying Florida history in 3rd grade. However, one of the memorable projects did not survive the test of time.

In seventh grade, my son had to recreate an American monument. By the time he got around to picking one, all the easy monuments were already taken. He had the monumental task (excuse the pun) of sculpting Mt. Rushmore. Or should I say, “we” had the monumental task since it became a family project, spearheaded mostly by my artistically gifted daughter. We used sculpti clay to form the heads, but in order to be more economical, we made clay out of flour, water and salt to side the mountain. It did come out to be rather impressive, even though Teddy Roosevelt bore a striking resemblance to John Lennon. So after all that work, how could one possibly throw it out once it returned home? It was placed on a high shelf in the basement until one day when I decided it was time to retire it to the trash. As I reached up above my head to retrieve it, I was showered with mouse droppings. Apparently the flour based clay provided a very large and yummy meal for the creature which is now referred to in our family as, “the mouse that ate Mt. Rushmore.”

This posting will not be sharing any fun art ideas or instructions, but I will reveal a secret to parents who have these years approaching. Unless a school project is for an actual art class, do not have any compunction about pulling in whichever person in the family has an artistic bent to assist the one who does not. And when that day does come, or if you are in the middle of it right now, know that there is someone out there who feels your pain.

16 Comments to Musings on School Projects:

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Molly on Saturday, December 29, 2012 9:19 AM
Did the mouse actually poop on Mount Rushmore? That is so crazy that the mouse ate that project. The Mouse That Ate Mount Rushmore would make a fabulous book. That is another one you could start writing!(:
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Judy on Saturday, December 29, 2012 4:38 PM
The mouse "pooped" A LOT. That would be a good title for a book. Maybe you could write it.(: Or maybe we could write one together again. (Start writing ideas down in your journal.) on Friday, November 29, 2019 5:59 AM
Having two school age children, I can relate to this. My elementary and middle school daughters are doing so many school projects in a school year. Those projects are not cheap either because they need so many materials just to create one project. But in the end, I don't mind the expense because the creativity of my daughters are being piqued and trained. They take their school projects seriously, and they are works of art (from a mothers perspective, of course). Our storage area in our garage is testament to the many school projects that my children have done so far.

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For completing these projects students are pretty excited to explore many new things from those projects. Everyone is pretty excited about these projects that are surely the part of their education.
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