School Project Purgatory

My cell phone rings. It’s my college Freshperson, who rarely, if ever, calls home. “I need your advice,” he says. Wow. I am flattered. A question about choosing a major, maybe? Picking a course? The meaning of life? Nope. “What do you think about using blue-colored oak tag for my marine biology project – you know, blue like the ocean?”

Whoa. Hang on a minute, I’m thinking. Did he actually just say project? Weren’t we all done with arts and craftsy homework assignments (the bane of many a mom’s existence) by college?

Personally, I think to-be-done-at-home (read: with mom’s “help”) projects should be illegal. But surely by high school, wouldn’t you think that these kinds of artsy assignments would have gone the way of “circle time” and “show and tell?” If so, you would be wrong. One of my kids actually had to create a storyboard with drawings for 11th grade English. But college?

Anyway, the good news was: 1) he had already bought the blue oak tag, and 2) almost finished the poster, and thus 3) there was no need for me to be involved whatsoever. The bad news? I thought the days of annoying school projects – the dinosaur diorama, the sugar cube igloo, the solar system-on-a-wire-hanger mobile – were far, far behind us. Apparently not. My son’s talking about going to grad school eventually (and not for anything remotely related to art, either). Just please tell me he won’t have to pack the colored pencils.

PS: What was your child’s most annoying school project? (Mine was the three-dimensional human cell for 9th grade biology (!) for which we had to cut a rubber ball in half with a meat cleaver – don’t even ask.)

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