The Dreaded School Project

Other than a letter from the school nurse notifying you of a lice infestation in your child’s classroom, nothing rattles parents quite like the dreaded school project assignment.

“Guess what, Mom? We’re doing a super fun project in school. It’s gonna be great! The teacher said we might need a little bit of help from our parents at home, ok? Oh, and by the way, I kinda sorta forgot the assignment in my desk for the last three weeks, and just so you know, it’s due tomorrow and counts for more than 1/2 our grade. Here’s the list of everything we’ll need for the project. Thanks, Mom. You’re the best!”   

Dear Parents,

The following is a list of supplies that will be needed for your child’s school project assignment. Please note, little to no money will be required to complete this project and most items on the list should easily be found around your home.

Thank you in advance for your help.

  • shoebox
  • markers & crayons
  • construction paper
  • poster board
  • molding clay
  • glue sticks
  • stickers
  • calligraphy pen
  • empty coffee can
  • staple gun
  • rubber gloves and protective eyewear
  • striped paint
  • truck load of 2×4’s in industrial grade lumber
  • power tools you currently do not own or want
  • one female mosquito carrying the West Nile virus
  • blow torch
  • fire extinguisher
  • 20 cleaned carcasses of assorted road kill, sorted alphabetically by their scientifically recognized Latin or Greek name   

Your child will hand you the list as you begin to feel the first symptoms of the dreaded stomach virus that’s currently rumored to be running rampant through the school district. You are fully aware that this project will not be “super fun” just as you know that it will not be “super fun” when, in less than 24 hours, you will end up close and personal with the porcelain throne when the stomach virus hits.

You take the list and glance over the items knowing that missing from the list will be… 

  • crying
  • cursing
  • loss of sleep

You decide to immediately check off one of the missing items by quietly cursing schools, teachers and principals everywhere. You even curse the President and Santa Claus, not because of politics or commercialized holidays, or even because it’s anyone in particulars fault, but because it makes you feel better and that’s how you roll.

You then proceed to yell at your child for the next 30 minutes for being irresponsible and waiting until the last-minute. Of course, she cries and apologizes profusely, but not completely convinced by her sub-par performance, you ground her from all fun activities for the next year, knowing full well you’ll never follow through.

You take your child and the list to the nearest craft and hardware store where you load your cart with the necessary supplies. At the checkout counter, you pay your bill by sliding your credit card through the card scanner and take note of the smoke billowing off your credit card. You briefly wonder if you’ll be able to feed your family for the next week.

Throughout the evening, you will have flashbacks of your own last-minute school projects, especially the one that involved your mother assembling an intricate diorama of an old Hollywood movie set and you going to school dressed outlandishly as Lillian Gish…”Mom, who the heck is Lillian Gish, anyway?”  

You will shoot daggers out of your eyes when your husband yawns and announces he’s heading to bed. You might even chuck the staple gun at his head as he leaves the room. You will then poke your child, a little too hard, with a 2×4 in an effort to keep her awake and prevent her from drooling all over the project.

You will end up typing the entire written portion of the project because you can no longer bear to watch your child’s painful hunt-and-peck typing, plus you’re afraid her hysterical crying will ruin the keyboard, not to mention that it’s way past midnight and you’ve begun to hallucinate.

In the morning, you will end up driving all of your children to school, not only because they missed the bus, but because there’s no way in hell you’ll risk damaging the project that kept you up most of the night. As you pull out of the carpool line, you will secretly give the school the middle finger, under the dashboard, of course, and then vomit all over the front of your bathrobe.  

A few weeks later, when your child brings home the graded project marked with a B+, yourLillian Gish self-esteem will be shaken. You’ll wonder where you went wrong and how’s it’s possible that a 40-year-old, college-educated woman is incapable of getting an A on a 6th grade school project. As you shake your head, your youngest child will hand you a paper and say…

“Hey, Mom! Guess what? We get to do a super fun project in school.”

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About youngamericanwisdom.com

A mother's plight to find the funny in the frustrating and save her sanity.
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33 Responses to The Dreaded School Project

  1. kate says:

    That was truly hysterical…scary to think that that is my future, but hysterical just the same 🙂

    Like

  2. O, my gosh! My son brought home the information for his project a week before Christmas! And of course it’s nothing that could be made with flour and water. I was so mad!

    Like

    • It’s really a no win situation for anyone involved. The kids that do it on their own just end up feeling badly because their projects don’t measure up to the kids that get tons of help at home. And the kids that get all the help don’t learn a damn thing.

      Like

  3. ryoko861 says:

    You must have been a fly on the wall here at my house a couple times! I guess you didn’t read the parent’s manual that comes with your child when he/she is born.
    Page 1,496 – School projects: You will be required to assemble and complete in 12 hours school projects.
    My son pulled one on me once that kept me up all night. Five in the morning I was printing out the final copy. He got a “B” on it. I almost went in and gave the teacher some shit I was so pissed!

    Like

  4. statues should be erected to mothers. period. continue…

    Like

  5. And then there are the science projects that involving growing things…potato vines, plants from a bean, crystals, mold on bread (actually we do that all the time unintentionally). I can’t tell you how many I’ve accidentally thrown away thinking they were “done”.

    Great post! I’m in the thick of it now so it’s nice to know we’re not alone. 🙂

    Like

  6. muddledmom says:

    Hilarious. Describes every project I ever did as a kid.

    Like

  7. Laura says:

    Really enjoyed Dad heading off to bed! I know we have all seen these times and another universal experience – the 830pm : “Hey Mom, what time does AC Moore close?”

    Like

  8. Lenore Diane says:

    We have one looming … due the end of this month. We knew in advance – way in advance. Sadly, our son, much like his parents, is no where near the end of the project. Fine Nancy, fine – I’ll be honest, he has barely started. There. *sigh* I keep telling my husband he needs to get Joe motivated and working. Rob looks at me like a deer in headlights. Our poor kids are doomed. Doomed! We are lazier than they are!!

    Like

  9. I guess the teachers want to find out what the parents kan do at home?

    Like

  10. breezyk says:

    haha love this!

    Like

  11. Dad says:

    You deserved the “A”. For what its worth, I just laid in bed with my eyes closed and waited for you. I didn’t sleep a wink.

    Like

  12. The God Mother Role is more Fun says:

    Who is Lillian Gish?

    Like

    • Lillian Gish was known as “The First Lady of the Silent Screen.” I take it you never did a project on her?
      Rumor has it that your mom was Queen of the School Project. I bet she’s happy to have those days behind her. 🙂

      Like

  13. O. Leonard says:

    Been there, done that, as they say. That was hilarious, and brought back horrible memories, especially not getting the A I so richly deserved.

    Like

  14. Tony McGurk says:

    Ha Ha Hilarious well written post Nancy. Due tomorrow must be a parent’s most feared statement.

    Like

  15. Karen says:

    WooHoo! Been there done that! And just recently my boy was home sick w/ said vicious-stomach-bug for an entire week — too weak even to water & measure his plants (that have claimed the entire dining room table) for his science project. 🙂

    Like

  16. Jackie Cangro says:

    Brilliant, Nancy! My stomach started feeling a bit queasy just now and I don’t have a school project due. 🙂
    PS – I hope you get an “A”

    Like

  17. They never give out A’s without poof of significant blood loss.
    It’s true.
    I heard it on the bus.
    🙂

    Like

  18. dragonfae says:

    Simply brilliant Nancy! 🙂

    Like

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