I hate arts and crafts. Fortunately, my daughter likes arts and crafts so she did all her own crafty homework assignments with no help from me, except for purchase of innumerable posters. So I sympathized with the parent who
complained in the Christian Science Monitor about endless crafts projects (via D-Ed Reckoning) that send Mom on late night runs to the 24-hour Walgreens in search of construction paper, glue sticks and pipe cleaners.
Please, oh please, dear curriculum developers, give us parents a break: Ban all make-work projects. Parents have jobs, too, you know. We do our children’s homework. We serve on school boards, coach basketball, and volunteer with the Boy Scouts. Now you want us to be creative?!
. . . Recently, while rummaging through my son’s 20-pound backpack, I found a note from the literature teacher: “Class, please sew together a stuffed animal representing a character from the Dr. Dolittle novel we read in class. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, simply use any old scraps you have around the house. And, please, whatever you do, DON’T INVOLVE YOUR PARENTS!”
Oh yeah, sure. They always say that. Who, may I ask, is going to drive to the fabric store and run the sewing machine? Who will buy the stuffing, find buttons for the eyes, and sew on the cute whiskers? Certainly not the 9-year-old boy who is busy playing a Star Wars game on the computer.
. . . And it doesn’t end in grammar school. When my high school daughter got the assignment to create a quilt representing the stages of her life, I finally lost control and ran around the house screaming, “What ever happened to the written word? Where are the book report assignments? When will you guys ever learn how to write?”
But I think RedKudu has a good point too: Stop doing your child’s homework . Make him turn off the video game and tackle it himself. Teach organization and time-management skills so you’re not running to the store late at night to get your kids’ materials. And, teachers, don’t expect every family to own a hot-glue gun.
I do remember late-night trips to the 24-hour Rite Aid to buy poster board. My daughter was making posters right through 12th-grade AP English. And I’ll never forget my attempt to make a wig out of cotton balls and Elmer’s Glue so she could go to school as George Washington, for dress-as-your-hero day. Did I mention that I hate arts and crafts? Her stepmother took over the project. I think she went to a costume shop and bought a wig.