How Much Should Parents Be Involved in School Projects?

Project assignments.

It would be easier (and faster!) if I do it myself but something tells me not to.

My daughter is in 1st grade and since there are MORE grade levels to come, I thought I’d set the expectations early as to how much (or how little) help she’d get from me.

Well, how much help should we really give?

I’m on the camp who thinks as little as possible. ?

Project making can teach kids so many things – hard work, responsibility, self-reliance, creativity, resourcefulness etc. and we don’t want to rob those learning opportunities from them.

So even if it takes a loooonger time for Mia to finish, I let her be.

I just GUIDE.

“Mommy! Why did you cut those? I wanted to be the one. I wanted to be the one.”


Ok, so I wasn’t a very good guide in the beginning.? 

It was easier said than done.

I was impatient. I wanted to finish fast.

I also wanted her projects to look presentable, which is why I could not resist getting my hands on some parts.

And this is when we start to argue.

Given that she’s 6 years old, her handwriting would SKEW up and down, she’d make MESSY erasures, she’d put too much glue, she’d make CROOKED cut-outs, she’d draw smileys everywhere, and she’d put a gazillion star stickers to every empty (boring) area she sees.

And none of this bother her of course. It’s all fun!

But this is very uncomfortable for supervising adults. Especially for OC ones!

It’s hard not to take control when we see objects misaligned or when cutting seems to take forever.

When Mia showed me this, for example –

I said, “Oh, scribbles!” ?

She could see I wasn’t very pleased so she defended it and said,

MIA: I did it using different colors. ?

JING: Right….

MIA: Mommy… It’s my project…

She’s right… Why do I get irked if it doesn’t look nice to me…?

Am I scared to be judged that I didn’t guide her?

JING: Okay, I’ll step away for a while. You do the designs that you like.

Am I worried she won’t get a good grade?

Am I concerned it won’t measure up to other parents’ works?

She followed me and asked,

MIA: Are you upset with me, Mommy?

JING: No… I’ll stay far so I won’t interfere with how you want it.

MIA: It doesn’t have to be too neat… It’s my chance to be creative.? Remember you said, you trust my taste?

JING: Yes. Don’t worry. I’m okay. I’ll join you again in a few minutes.

I had to remind myself that adults and children don’t share the same standards as to what is presentable and what is not.

They picture it differently in their minds.

And when we take over or dictate ideas, we are unknowingly sending the wrong message that they’re not capable. Or that their ideas are not good enough. Eeeeek!

So I had learned to step aside.

And not doubt her abilities.

And just be around for support.

Because when I don’t let those little things get to me, that’s when project making becomes fun and less stressful for us.

Pictures will be off centered, they will color beyond the lines, they won’t draw very nicely, they won’t cut perfectly, they’ll play with glitters, they’ll make a mess, and they’ll most definitely add to our clean up chores.

And it’s OKAY. ?

If your children are in grade school, I hope you get to read this.

Remember to keep it fun. ?