Wine Projects for Your First-Grader
I started school when I was 5, continued on through college (go, Tar Heels!), have worked in the real world for a decade-and-a-half, and am not currently pursuing higher or continuing education.
Today my life is contentedly full with the roles of wife, mother, writer, cook, housecleaner and dog poop scooper. Given these facts, will somebody please tell me why in the name of Sam Hill I am still involved in school projects?
School projects. Blech. Building solar system models, making exploding volcanos, and examining backyard biodiversity (huh?). These activities are the bane of many a parent's existence.
Well, I suppose there are a few parents who actually live to do that stuff - I mean, undertake these wonderful educational endeavors. For the most part, though, parents do not like school projects.
These projects put parents in an awkward spot. They know they shouldn't help their child, but they simply don't know how to restrain themselves. How can you stand by and watch when you know your child is about to crash and burn?
It's especially hard when a project is in the parent's area of expertise.
I panicked when Isabella's teacher told me she would like Isabella to enter a writing contest. Lord, help me, how was I going to let my daughter write (write!) without interfering?
Isabella was going to be pecking away at the keyboard, which would remind me that I needed to teach her the proper touch-typing method, and how on Earth was I qualified to do that? Then Isabella would invariably misspell words. That's to be expected of a first-grader, but would I have the self-control not to correct her?
Don't even get me started on the story arc. What if it didn't flow? How would I keep my mouth shut?
The dear teacher saved the day by telling me Isabella could work on it during school hours. Whew.
There are, of course, times when a child really does need help. Last week, Isabella had an assignment to find 100 things in the house and glue them onto a poster board.
At first, I misunderstood the assignment and thought the 100 things had to be uniform, and of course, Isabella doesn't have 100 of anything. So I thought and thought; what did we have in the house of which there was a quantity of 100?
All I could come up with was an impressive collection of wine corks that I hold on to in hopes of one day doing something crafty with them.
Chances are slim I will, though, since my first attempt at a wine cork craft was a disaster. I made one of those clever wine cork bulletin boards. I repeatedly burned my fingers with hot glue, and the finished product is so ugly and amateurish that it is tucked in the attic, too hideous even to donate to Goodwill.
Still, I persist in saving corks, which means I probably have enough corks to do the collection of 100 things project for every student in Isabella's class. Only problem is I'm sort of thinking it would be inappropriate to send in a bunch of wine corks to a first-grade classroom.
I thought and thought some more. Of what item did I already have 100? No way was I going to go buy something special to glue onto a poster board that, by the way, costs $5. Really? Pay $5 for a piece of -cardboard that is bound for the recycling bin when the same $5 could get me my grande-soy-skinny-peppermint-mocha-no-whip latte at Starbucks?
Then I got clarification on the project and found out that it could be a combination of any 100 things glued to a poster board.
Oh. The only assistance Isabella needed on this project was for me to go to Staples and buy the blasted poster board.
The school project ended up being a pleasant time of togetherness for Isabella and me. She sat at the kitchen table and glued an assortment of buttons, paper clips and pictures of Katy Perry to her board. Meanwhile, I made dinner and added to my own collection of 100 things by opening another bottle of wine.
I tossed the cork in with the others and reconsidered. Maybe I will do something crafty with the cork collection after all.
I'm thinking a trivet is more my speed than the adult-sized chair made entirely of wine corks.
Contact Melanie Coughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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