To be fair, fourth grade hasn't been that bad, and probably would have been much easier if I had a child like Evie going through it right now. Truthfully, if Luke would just sit down and do the work, it wouldn't be the massive headache that it is. I'm talking about things like the Accelerated Reader Program and the crazy vocabulary/spelling packages called Wordly Wise (not Worldly Wise - which is what I thought it was). It's SAT prep. Not kidding. SAT prep...in 4th grade.
Am I bitching about the fantastic education my children are receiving? Uh...yes, I think I am. Don't think I'm not grateful. I am. I just hate that I'm having to do the projects with them because the projects are so far above the kids' ability to do it all on their own. Trust me, I've seen other kids' presentations - the ones where the kid was left to his/her own devices to complete it on their own. It's not a good thing. Not at all. Kids really do need some direction and a guiding hand. But that's all I think there should be. Because I've also seen the projects that were completed 100% by the parent. I've seen kids read type-written reports in teh 1st grade with words and phrases that could only have been put together by a parent. I don't think the parents should be the ones coming up with the ideas, making them happen, and pushing them across the finish line. There. I've said it. Now let me tell you about this ridiculous thing called Invention Convention.
Invention Convention is a fabulous idea for overachieving kids, much like UIL, student council, and mathletes. And for third-graders at my kids' school it is optional. But for fourth-graders, it is required. But, let me tell you what it is before I get too ahead of myself in this bitch fest. Kids are required to participate in the school Invention Convention competition - and each student will get a ribbon for his/her invention. It also counts as a science grade. So, here's the deal: the "kids" have to invent something or innovate something. (Sadly, I only really discerned the difference between these two terms after Luke reminded me - although, I did know what they meant, I just had never thought about it). Unfortunately, the term "kids" more accurately includes the kids' parents.
They came home with a 14-page packet containing a letter to the parents with attached instructions, rules, and forms. I had to return a signed statement acknowledging my receipt of the information and the due date. Um...yeah...pretty sure that means it is my project, not my son's. Not to mention, there are typos in the packet concerning deadlines and dates (apparently left over from last year), so I give the science teachers a B- on this packet I'm required to abide by. I digress. Here are the requirements:
- Students must come up with an invention or innovation;
- Students must research the item to determine if there is anything out there like it, how it will work, how it will be built and marketed, etc.
- Students must build a model of the item, not to exceed the dimentions of 3'x3'
- Students must prepare a triptych (I never knew that's what a trifold Science Fair board was called until now. I always called it a trifold presentation thingy.)
- The triptich must include: a drawing of the product, a description of the product, an inventor's log detailing the process of the project, and "Something Else I Want You to Know About My Invention"
- Cost cannot exceed $20, and must be documented in the log.
So, I put Chuck in charge of this project, since I had to work on Evie's second grade Heritage Project in which we also put together a triptych, researched our Polish heritage, gathered our family recipes, burned a CD of polka music to share with the class, and cooked Perogies to share with the class. My second grade project earned Evie and A last week. I'm so proud! But, back to Chuck. Clearly he was the obvious choice to be in charge of something that has to be built. I mean, let's face it, I'm not mechanically, spacially, or mathmatically inclined. This would have disaster written all over it if I had been in charge of such a thing.
So, here's Luke's invention (which has to be turned in annonymously for judging purposes, so let's hope the judges aren't reading my blog - yeah, right): The Room Pulley.
Instead, Chuck and Luke made this:
|The "bed" with the blankets unmade.|
|The "bed" with me pulling the rope so that the blankets are "made".|