The Parental Fifth Grade Science Project
I’m going to push the envelope here and, without the backing of any $23.7 million federal grant, state that kids do better in school when their parents are proactive in their education.
I also state, again without the help of any government study, smoking is bad for your health and drinking and driving don’t mix. But that’s for another blog.
Simply because a bunch of experts with alphabet soup titles after their names tell us after extensive research and gazillions of taxpayer dollars that water is wet and fire is hot does not make me sit up, slap my head and go, “Wow. I never knew that.” Tell me what you add to powdered water to get, well, water, and then I’ll be impressed.
Anyway, back to school.
Middle SON of Thunder comes home the other day in a slightly, shall we say, depressed mood. And The Dress, being The Dress, asks what’s wrong. And Middle SON starts some long dissertation about some science project and how he hates school and he’ll never get it done and he’s going to fail and why is life so hard and …
And The Dress finally has enough and utters what every parent utters at this point, namely, “What science project?” Although it’s usually said with a little more emphasis.
Oh, that science project. The one with the outline and due dates and requirements the Middle SON has had buried and crumpled up in the bottom of his backpack for the last two weeks. Yes that one.
And you were going to tell us about this when?
And so The Dress emails the teacher to please send her a new 5th grade SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT PACKET because I accidentally threw it away.
Anyway. So The Dress gets this massive email back with everything under the sun and somehow I am enlisted to print/collate/staple said project together.
And I glance over everything and with my rapier mind figure out we’re behind schedule. Or hosed if you prefer. We haven’t even filed the necessary exemptions with the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency, must less ordered the backup diesel generator or the plutonium
And Middle SON is going into his whole “I’ll going to spend the rest of my life in 5th grade” routine and I sort of point out that maybe he should have given us a little heads up about this whole project and yeah, you’re hosed. And so I thoughtfully suggest we just “edit” Eldest SON’s last science project, which of course we still have, and change the names. Ta da!
The Dress just gives me the “do I even know you?” look and I just get out of the way. I do however, convince her to drop the nuclear fission experiment and just go with the “how temperature affects the bounce of a tennis ball.”
And The Dress is now in full PROJECT MODE. Off to the various “where parents buy the stuff for the 5th grade science project”
stores. We’ve got balls and colored paper and extra batteries (have no idea why), and ink cartridges and rulers and … my all-time favorite science doodad – the tri-fold poster board. I hate just looking at those things.
And then all the SONS and The Dress and yours truly start freezing and heating up tennis balls and then dropping them and taking measurements and did someone get the photo, what do you mean you missed the shot now we have to start it all over and no it bounced 41 inches not 42 inches and do it again and I can’t see and what do you mean we’re missing the room temperature ball and get the friggin cat out of the way and …
I’m worn out. But we get the results finally and start drawing the charts and recording the information and printing photos of said tennis balls dropping and so on and so forth.
And then The Dress helps Middle SON make it look “pretty” on the hated tri-fold poster board and finally everyone is happy.
Whose project is this anyway? Because sometimes I think these little 5th grade projects turn into parental contests. I’m not talking about parents helping out their kids on the project, but those who go a little overboard. Because I call foul when some kid brings in a supercomputer that controls a space shuttle or flys around the gymnasium on a jetpack he just put together on a whim with a “little” help from his dad.
And so in the very last nanosecond available, we get the hated tri-fold poster board filled with all the appropriate information and get it to school.
Based on the chaotic nature of this latest project, it would only be appropriate to say that as soon as Middle SON got out of the car, the hated tri-fold poster board blew away in a sudden Fate-induced gust of wind. Tumbling away before his very eyes, his dreams of passing the 5th grade fading as the project disappeared into the sunrise.
Nah. He got it safely in. And
The Dress he got a 100.
Just a note to teachers. Next time, just send the parents the project information first. It will make everyone’s life easier.