science projects

I hate them. I always put them off. I remember my first project in fifth grade. I did it the night before it was due while watching TV. It was clay study of the parts of the flower. I think my dad put more time into the project backdrop. (That was when they were made of wood and three dimensional.) I got an honorable mention. The next year, I copied one of my sister's projects and got a second place. I tried to copy her a second time and barely passed. Then I copied myself in the eight grade and got another honorable mention. I was lucky. In those four years, we had four different science teachers who didn't realize I was recycling my projects. I did do the work, I just wasn't original. I just didn't care.

Somehow, this apathy was passed onto my son. And the poor kid had to start early, in the third grade. We also share the tendency to procrastinate as well as not ask for help. In my case, I probably would not have gotten any help, just a lecture that I should have started earlier. In Ryan's case, he is worried about rejection so he won't ask.

I try to let Ryan do as much as the work himself. I get involved when I have to help with ideas and prod him along. I usually get frustrated with Ryan and my dad. My dad likes to chime in with complicated ideas. He doesn't understand that Ryan does have the drive or motivation to push himself to do more, to do his best. And Ryan will not say he doesn't understand so my dad thinks he has gotten through. The one year I let my dad type out Ryan's charts, Ryan got his lowest grade. He could not explain what was going on.

I do help Ryan with the presentation. Only because the artist in me cannot help it. I try not to do anything more than could be expected from him. I am sure other parents are helping out more than me. But Ryan has no interest in entering the science fair. He just wants to get it done and get a good grade.

All this leads us to this week when Ryan is conducting his experiment on water evaporation. He tried it last night and it was a failure. Ryan thought he would see results in an hour. He didn't see anything after four hours. The due date for the trial work is Thursday. A failed experiment is OK and acceptable but not to Ryan. He teacher is letting him rework and redo the experiment and turn it in a few days later. Ryan started this morning and planned to check the results this evening after 12 hours. I came home to see that my dad was checking every hour. I tried to explain that it wasn't necessary nor wanted since it was supposed to be Ryan's work and how could he get those readings while he was at school. This fell on deaf ears. Then I asked my dad if he was planning on getting up every hour during the night. He understood and stopped.

Getting Andy to do a book report seems so easy.