School Projects Suck

Do you want to know what I just love? Yes, that is the sound of sarcasm you hear. I love when teachers send home projects for kids that they know damn well the kids can not complete. I just love that.

I understand family projects, which my kindergartner has one monthly, that we, as parents, help complete. These are still a big pain because the parent ends up doing 90% of said project and if you are anything like me you are busting your ass so your turkey or snowman or pumpkin looks better than the other ones in the class. It goes from a family project to a flat-out balls to wall competition between parents.

Alas, these are not the projects that I really love, okay despise. The ones I hate are the ones where the teacher, school, whoever, want the kids to make something that they know the kids have no ability to make.

I want to insert a disclaimer here that I truly LOVE my kids teachers. They are amazing and they do great things for my kids. So I really like them, just not the projects, just to be clear.

For example, Joey's preschool class is having a curriculum night this week at school. Since his 3 year old preschool class has been reading the Eric Carle books (you know the ones, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Busy Spider, etc.) the teacher asked that the kids make one of the animals from one of the many Eric Carle books they have read in class. There was a recipe for a modeling clay that you could make at home included and they asked that you make an animal out of the clay and then paint / decorate the animal to match the story. They also wanted you to take (and then provide) pictures of your child working on their project. Which makes perfect sense because it wasn't as if the project itself was a lot of work to begin with, best we add the task of photographing it and then dealing with getting the pictures printed as well.

Since the recipe involved cooking the ingredients (which I had to modify because I ran out of baking soda) on the stove top, right then and there my child's participation was out. For anyone that knows my son, Joseph, you also know he is not allowed near the stove. The kid is a hot-mess. I don't need to let him play by fire. This means I am the one cooking the play-doh concoction. Fine, no big deal.

We decided to make The Very Busy Spider, which I kept referring to as the Very Angry Spider which then had Joey yelling at me every 5 seconds for calling it the wrong kind of spider. He was quick to explain, Mom, there was a hungry caterpillar, a grouchy ladybug and a busy spider. No one is angry, Mom, just hungry, grouchy and busy. Noted, thanks Joe. After that I kept the angry to myself and started referring to his creation as the busy spider. Stupid spider has no idea what busy is.

Then the directions say to sprinkle some cornstarch on the counter, then have your child roll the ball of dough until smooth and then make whichever animal they choose. Seems easy peasy, right?

The minute the cornstarch was sprinkled on the counter it was also all over the floor, my childs' clothes, my kitchen walls and myself. He begins rolling and patting while I was taking pictures (I still haven't gotten the cornstarch residue off my camera.)

This is before I let him really touch it.

Besides making a large lump for the spiders body, the kid was pretty useless. Since the "clay" was nothing like the play-doh he's used to he quickly became disinterested. While rolling the legs they kept cracking and breaking, which I realize may be due to my slight alteration of the recipe, but the stuff was just hard to work with. Needless to say I was quick to get some sort of spider looking creature built so he could sit out and dry overnight.

By morning he was dry, but almost all of his legs had fallen off his body. This then required me to attempt to glue the legs back together and then glue them to his body. Mind you, my 3 year old wants no part of this and is sitting watching Dora while I am swearing, covered in Elmer's, trying to attach dry, crumbling, crappy spider legs.

The glue was not really working so I skipped right to painting. From my memory, I thought the spider in the book was all brown. So out came the brown paint and I put Joey to work painting.


He was over the idea of painting his spider about 3 minutes in. He informed me he was done and the spider was hardly painted at all. He went back to Dora and I got painting. While the paint was drying I constructed a cardboard piece and planned on covering it with tinfoil. As I am unrolling the tinfoil, the roll runs out, well because of course it does. Why wouldn't it?  Since I only have one small sheet left I chopped the cardboard piece smaller, prayed our spider would fit and had Jason draw a spider web on it because I will be damned if I am the only one suffering through this project!

At some point during all this I decide to google The Very Busy Spider and come up with an image of the book cover. This is when I wanted to shoot people. Obviously my memory is not what I thought it was because the freaking spider on the book cover has a red body, green head and brown legs. Did I mention how I just got done painting our entire spider brown? Out came the red paint and I was able to make the body appear red by sch lapping a very thick coat of paint on him. It took 3+ coats of green on the head to cover the brown and it still doesn't really look green. 

At this point the spiders legs are still not attached and he still needs to make it to the tinfoil / cardboard display without crumbling into a million pieces. I yelled for Jason and told him he needed to get this spider put together and on the tinfoil or I was going to kill someone and since Joey goes to a Christian school Jesus was definitely watching and we would be screwed later if we didn't pull this off.

I left him alone with a bottle of Elmer's glue and the spider and came home to this:

Ta Da! Our Very Angry Busy Spider

Now all I have to do is print out the pictures and attach them neatly to construction paper to tell the story of my 3 year old creating the spider. Pictures obviously lie.