Monday, January 23, 2012

Science Fair and other tragedies

The enthusiasm is fake
Okay, so I don't want to give you the impression that I don't support the public school system.  In most cases I can happily coexist with someone taking my kids for lots of hours during the day and sending them home smarter.  Ok, maybe not always smarter, but at least more educated.  But I really have to dig my feet in when it comes to Science Fair.  Just the words make me feel sympathetic to how the Grinch must feel at Christmas.  I hate Science Fair.  I abhor Science Fair and I really detest so much more that my third grade boy this year had to do stinkin' Science Fair.  After all, who are we kidding?  No kid does Science Fair solo!! It is basically homework for mom and dad.  Own up to it educators!!!  And if by chance you have gone to a Science Fair with your kids you know what I mean when you see these beautifully laid out and decorated, detailed, so extremely ingenious project that no kid could honestly say that he did on his own!  To make things worse, my husband came from a family of Science Fair phenoms!! His brother went to Nationals for Science Fair (who does that?!)  So clearly the bar has been set thanks to my dear mother in law who actually confessed to me the other day that she loved doing Science Fair boards.  That is all fine and dandy but when we first started with projects my husband wanted to endorse and encourage a project that had more science than most college classes,  then it would land in my lap to see it to fruition.  He learned right away that if mom was doing the support he'd better dummy thing down like a hundred times.
I believe that if a child is doing a project, (hold on now) HE or SHE ought to do the work!!!  That in itself is mind boggling, I know but before you get the impression that this would absolve the parent from doing the work, let me follow that up with the fact that just getting my boy to work on his project this year became more exhausting than reasoning with an Alzheimer's patient.  Now I don't rule out that Chance may have a little ADHD when it comes to focusing on school work, but at any rate the process was EXTREMELY PAINFUL!! So when I asked him what the title to his project should be he looked at me like I was asking him who painted the Mona Lisa.  My teenage daughters kept suggesting the title "Science Fair Sucks"... so naturally we named it "Science Fair Suds" tying in the soap he had used in the project along with our tongue in cheek to the whole system.
Painfully, like pins under my fingernails, we plodded through the writing/board summation last night.  Chance would type two letter, erase, type three letters, play with the printer, type a word, erase three letters, talk to the dog ........are you getting a visual?  Keep in mind that I am the kind of person that when I do something, I do it fast.  I really can't spend more than the essential time on a project and fully believe that I can cram four hours into one.   So you might as well have been doing chinese water torture to me. 

Trying to hold it together

waiting for each page
In the end, we managed to get 'er done.  I survived -- just enough to move onto my daughter's research project and her tears and frustration.  But at the end of the night I have one consolation; I have survived Science Fair for another year!


  1. Perhaps we are kindred spirits. At least as far as science fairs go. Oh boy, don't even get me started. But I will say I had a HUGE part in getting the science FAIR optional this year, and instead my 4th grader only had to submit a short one page report of his project.

    Glad to have you on board as a Power of Moms trainer!

  2. Once again Taunie I am truly amazed at the "truly amazing" person (wife, mother, sister, daughter) that you are! I have been trying to clean up the horrific backlog of emails on my computer and came across your blog announcement so have spent the last several minutes reading through it--it will be regular reading for me now! I love you even more! I learn so much from you. Thanks so much for filling my bucket this morning.