Parent B: “Wow! Another school project? Come on, son, let’s do our best!”
These are two very diverse viewpoints of parents who are required to help their children with school projects. Over the years school projects have assumed a great significance in the lives of students in India and around the world.
They were started with the idea of encouraging a holistic approach in students who normally study compartmentalised subjects in school. Over time, projects have become an integral part of the school curriculum, including the annual school report.
Not only does the student need to put in a lot of hard work, parents too need to spend a considerable amount of time assisting their child, who may not have the resources to garner all the relevant information.
This puts tremendous pressure not only on the child but also on the hapless parent. For, school projects are supposed to reflect creativity in the way they integrate information from the various vantage points of subjects like history, geography, science, music and literature into one seamless theme.
Looking at the positive side, projects give children a chance to study topics that interest them while enabling them to explore their research skills. Your involvement in your child’s project can turn a potentially stressful experience into an exciting learning adventure.
On the other hand, projects make many parents turn pale because they are assigned far too frequently and expect a high degree of perfection that has no connection to the level at which the student is able to see the world around her/him. In a family where both parents work, the task becomes more difficult – and fearful.
The following guidelines might help both you and your child to explore the joy that comes from discovery, without the pressure of winning a competition. A lot of learning and togetherness takes place when children and adults work together. Working at home gives children a chance to have a hands-on, one-on-one experience with a parent or caregiver.
There is a way of making the whole exercise more interesting. It is to tread the path of discovery together as a team – parent and child. Working on a project at home gives children a chance to have a hands-on, one-on-one experience with a parent or caregiver.
- Help your child choose a topic from her or his varied interests. Make sure it’s one that s/he can physically complete and you can manage financially. If it’s too big to complete in the time allowed, explain why, and help your child find something equally interesting.
- Resist the temptation to take over the project. Your role is that of a friend who jumps in to help when asked by the child. If you get too involved in the project, your child misses an opportunity to discover hidden skills.
- Keep safety your number one priority. If your child’s project involves working with electricity or sharp tools, be prepared to supervise.
- Consider volunteering your time for a child who may not have anyone to help with her or his project.