Sealing my fate as one of the most-hated parents at my kids’ school, I sent this letter via email this morning:
Dear Second Grade Team -
Lilah is the fourth of my children to be assigned the Turkey Project. Frankly, I still do not understand the point of it. What is the point – the educational value – of dressing a paper turkey in human, ethnic clothing? This isn’t even a project that a second-grader has the fine motor skills to accomplish. I am concerned because the instruction sheet is actually addressed to the parents, and not the students. Am I to assume that means that I, the parent, am actually the one being charged with dressing a paper turkey in ethnic, human clothing? Because I’ll be honest: I paid my dues in school already, and as a very busy mom of seven kids, I do not have the time or the inclination to do projects on my child’s behalf – something she will be graded on, and of which I am having great difficulty even seeing the educational value. If I am to do it for her, where are the lessons in responsibility and independent learning that are so frequently touted as benefits of homework?
I understand the value of the social studies portion of this assignment. Certainly, learning about one’s heritage and about other cultures is valuable. However, Lilah has not been taught how to conduct research, either. This leads me to believe that either I am also supposed to do the research for her on this project, or teach her how to conduct research. I am not a teacher; this is something she should be learning in class. In fact, this entire project should be done in class with the teachers’ guidance. It’s a burdensome (and not enjoyable) “family project.” I’m not even sure a research project like this is appropriate for second graders.
(I might as well warn you that I have the exact same thoughts and concerns about the Pig Project that is a second grade staple in the spring.)
I am asking you, the Second Grade Team, to please reconsider the value of this project, and in the future, if you insist that it does have value (which hopefully can actually be explained), to make it an in-class project so that you can guide these little students properly.
I’ve been given lots of advice, some humorous, some serious, on how to get this project done in a way that shows how ridiculous it is, but I’m of the mind that unless it actually has educational value which the teacher can explain clearly to me, this isn’t a project that should be undertaken at all. Parents have to speak up – if we keep going along with things that we question or object to, nothing will ever change.