Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whose Homework is it Anyway?

In 2nd grade in our town, the kids do a unit on their heritage.  Every family has to send in a list of what countries their ancestors are from, and the teacher picks one for the child to do research on.  JC did England, Rachel did Canada, and William got England again.

The parts of the project have not changed much over the 7 years between JC and William.  There's an oversized postcard (actually, that one I don't remember with the other two, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen), where they have to create a collage of pictures from the country.  There's a family shield, which has to include country flags from all your claimed ancestors, pictures of your interests, a family picture, your last name in big letters, etc.  This has shrunk by about half over time, which isn't a bad thing.  And it now includes not only the outline of the shield, but specific areas for each section, and a fancy banner at the bottom for the name.  There used to be a lot less guidance and a lot more area to fill.

And there's the food for the "international festival".  We haven't gotten a notification about that part yet, but I'm assuming it's coming.  It's always the hard part for most parents.  Some countries are easy, in terms of characteristic cusine; we have lots of Italians in our area, and there's lots of choices for Italian foods and desserts.  England is a little harder, as most Americans don't associate the English with a particular cusine, or if they do, it's not necessarily a good association.  And I'm not making bangers & mash or fish & chips for a 2nd grade class.  The only fact that William has come home with from his research is that the English tend to call dessert "pudding".  And that there's one called spotted dog.  So I may try to come up with a pudding or trifle when the time comes.  Although bubble & squeak would be fun just for the name.

(The hard food was for Rachel.  Name a typical Canadian food (most people I asked said, "beer").  After some research (yay internet!) we came up with a Canadian cookie called a butter tart.  Very yummy, by the way, and I was looking forward to making them again.  Oh well.)

But the thing you'll notice about all the projects is that they are impossible for a 2nd grader to do on their own.  I suppose if provided with magazines and such to cut up, they could pretty much handle most of the collages by themselves (except for the lettering, probably).  But I don't have magazines with pictures of England lying around, so we're stuck with the Internet again.  And the instructions specifically ask for parental help.  Ok, William and I did some Google image searches and he picked out which pictures to use with some guidance.  But in the process of printing them out, I realized it was more efficient to arrange them on a page to fill the space.  I was going to have him cut them out and glue them on the postcard when he said, "we allowed to print them right on the paper".  Oh.  Well, ok, I added a nice fancy font "England", and printed it right on the (letter-sized) postcard.

So far, all he's done is pick out the pictures (mostly) and I've done the layout and printing (and eventually the baking).  Does this mean I can pass 2nd grade?


Jill in MA said...

So what did William (or your other kids) learn about their heritage when you did their homework for/with them?
I looked at the recipes for Bubbles and Squeak and they're all different. Appears to be potatoes with leftovers mixed in. Now I wish you got to make the butter tart. Now THAT looks delish!!
Yes, you pass 2nd grade.

Suburban Correspondent said...

That drives me crazy! I was thinking that while I was reading the post: "How the heck is a 7-year-old supposed to draw the shield and do the lettering and all that?" My kids would definitely fail 2nd grade in NJ.