Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dear God, not ANOTHER science fair!

My oldest on her first day of Kindergarten.  That backpack is
almost as big as she is.
  I used to think I was going to homeschool.  I even wrote a little essay back when my oldest was around 2 (before blogging was even a thing) entitled "why I choose to homeschool".   Now I just look back on that and laugh.  Little did I know that by the time that two year old hit kindergarten age I would view public school and her going to it with as much joy and excitement as a child being told that they were going to Disneyland. (Well, not me, because as a child I did not enjoy Disneyland, but that is an entirely different blog post for another day.) I love my children, but there is no way that I am equipped with the patience, motivation, and organization that it takes to be a successful homeschooler. (To clarify, I am not against homeschooling, I am against me homeschooling.)  Fortunately we live in a very nice school district and in the last 9 years of public school education with 6 of my children participating in it I haven't had a bad teacher experience yet.

  However, in light of transparency, I can't say that all of their teachers would say the same about their experience with me and my children.  My children are well behaved for the most part and don't cause trouble in that way, but when it comes to homework, well that is an issue.  Our family struggles with homework.  I struggle with homework.  I struggle with having the patience to get my children to understand and complete their homework.  The school sent home a notice about homework one time saying that if a parent was unable to stay calm during the homework it was best for them to walk away from it so that the child would not get a bad

photo credit:
attitude towards it.  (That is a very loose paraphrase of what it probably said, but the same gist of it.)  Patience is not one of my virtues and listening seems to not be one of my children's virtues and that combination is like a flame to dynamite, throw in being pregnant most of those years and all that emotionally goes along with pregnancy and my kids were little lit matches to my dynamite.  Since my husband was mostly gone with work he was not a viable homework help option, so I took that note to heart and avoided homework like the plague.  I thought that for the emotional well being of my children that was the best solution. (This is not ALL homework, just the homework that they were not able to do on their own, because many of my children also struggle at school with understanding.  The ones that understood their homework on their own got it done.)

  By the time kids enter fourth grade though, there is one thing in particular that can not be avoided.  That thing is the SCIENCE FAIR. *cue the scary horror movie theme music here*  I don't do science.  Imagine if you will the screen turning hazy and time traveling backwards to the year 1987.  I was eleven years old.  In December my family had moved from one side of our state to the other.  I went from being in sixth grade at an elementary school with an emotionally unstable teacher who cried in the classroom daily and was basically unable to teach us anything to a middle school with 6 different periods of education where teachers actually had been teaching for the first 4 months of the school year.  Culture shock does not even begin to describe that experience.  I was completely lost and out of place; add in a horrible perm and things were just NOT pretty that year.  One of my classes was science and a science fair was coming up, participation mandatory.  I had no scientific experience so I thought piece of cake my grandma has a book on science stuff, so I picked out an easy "science" project and did that.  People, I chose to iron flowers between two sheets of wax paper.  That was it.  Imagine my surprise when I go to said science fair with my lowly little wax encased

Me in the back circa spring 1987 check out those bangs
flowers and poorly handwritten paper explaining the process of said flower preservation.  One of my friends (read the nice girl who would talk to me) had a display showing the effects of soda pops on teeth.  She used REAL baby teeth and everything.  Let me tell you, this was not a good experience.  I stood there with my horrible perm, ill fitting dorky clothes, in my 50 pounds too many body with my rag tag "science experiment".  I think anything that could have been scientific about me died that day. Now fade back to present day.

   My oldest daughter has had to do three science fairs so far.  In fourth grade we grew sugar crystals.  I felt fairly sciency and avoided having a panic attack.  In 5th grade I have no recollection of what we did, so it must have been something brilliant.  In 6th grade she was on her own and I was able to avoid the stress of "being scientific".  Once she hit Jr. High she didn't have to do science fairs anymore, Thank you Jesus!  But the next two kids down the line had hit 4th grade....eek! Will my science
affliction ever end?  Two kids means two science fair projects.  I survived it.  We microwaved soap for one of them (let me tell you the house smells amazing afterwards, 
We found that the Tone soap smelled the best it is the
one that made a puff ball the hole in the middle
is from a pencil poking it.
STRONGLY amazing, but it takes a lot of scrubbing to get the soap smell out of your microwave) and for the other we decomposed cereals and used a magnet to find the iron content in them.  Again, I survived it.  Now this year they are both in fifth grade, it is Spring, and you guessed it, science fair time again.  The projects are due this coming Tuesday. 

   Currently we are living at my parents, my husband has been working from 5 am to 10 pm when he isn't out to sea, which he currently is, and we are getting ready to move across the country in 4 weeks.  The last thing this girl needs is another science fair.  This year we are observing the decomposition of various fast food burgers compared to a homemade one and the effects of varying liquids on pennies.  Not horrible projects, but here is the problem......I keep forgetting to have them actually OBSERVE these things.  I woke up early this morning having a panic attack because their projects are due in two days and I am just not sure how to pull it all together.  They will have boards, with sciency stuff on it to represent themselves with and it will be better than my ironed wax paper coated flowers, but it still sends me back to that gymnasium from 26 years ago.  At least this time around I don't have horrible perm head.  I checked in the mirror this morning just to be sure. ;-) 

   *I am linking with Emily and her love dare, because I am choosing to love myself despite my science fair/homework affliction instead of bashing myself for it.*

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