For the love of school projects

Last week, my son and I observed a moment of appreciative silence as we tipped the remains of a venerable school project into a container at the town dump.

This was not the "good riddance" I typically directed at these assignments when my kids were young. We were actually sorry to see this one go. Here was a project that provided the foundation for several endeavors - all of which were done largely without aid from me. I had graduated.

This had been one of the first larger projects Matt managed on his own. OK, so the now-worn, 3-by-3-foot maze was constructed by a friend. And my daughter and I helped Matt keep track of the 30 mice who scurried or meandered through its wooden passages while their peers, on loan from the pet store, waited nearby.

But still, I felt liberated from years of "assisting" with assignments designed more for engineers than grade-schoolers. Maybe that's why I propped the maze in a corner three years ago and never turned it into kindling.

When World War I occurred in my daughter's history class this year, that procrastination paid off. A quick trip to Hobbytown helped recycle the maze into trenches framed by a desolate landscape of papier-mache and concrete - all mixed by Harlan. Toy soldiers stood guard where mice once scampered. All I did was remember where the maze was stored.

That in turn inspired Matt in his assignment to demonstrate the Greek phalanx fighting method. The soldiers aged by a millennium or so, props were added, and waves of fighting men duked it out while being videotaped by Harlan.

Watching the fun from afar, I decided that now, I really like school projects.


(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to For the love of school projects
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today