The summer term is fast approaching and so to is the dreaded school project! Do you jump for joy when your child is given a project for homework or does it leave you breaking out in a cold sweat, knowing you have two weeks of homework stress ahead resulting in frustration, tears and tantrums? Maybe you are the parent that becomes so obsessed with your child’s project that they probably have no idea what it was actually about and didn’t learn anything from it as mum or dad wrote it for them? It is hard to get the balance right but the most important thing is to focus on the purpose of the class project. How can you help your child with their school project without interfering too much?
Why are class projects important?
From a teacher’s point of view, the whole idea is to reinforce class lessons and foster independent learning. The school project if tackled the right way should develop your child’s work ethic and allow them to start to learn independently – a skill which they will undoubtedly need as they climb the education ladder.
So how can you help your child with a school project without doing it for them or turning homework into a war zone?
1. Point your child in the right direction and be there to answer any questions they have but do not do the work for them. Learning by doing is the whole point of the school project.
2. Discuss with your child the amount of work needed and the time they have to complete it. Set aside half an hour everyday to work on the project and make sure that they will have enough days to finish all the teacher’s requirements.
3. Focus on building their self-esteem through praise. Remember that the purpose of the project is to develop your child as an independent learner and not just to produce a piece of perfection that will herald them a child genius. The teacher will know if you have done the project for your child!
4. If projects are something your child finds challenging, reward them for their efforts no matter how small they may appear on the page. Perhaps negotiate a family treat if they put in an extra effort. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on your child but set goals that both you and they know they can achieve.