Projects = HW for parents.

(47 Posts)
Startail Sat 09-Mar-13 17:46:17

DD2 has to build a weather station.
Why, I thought this rubbish ended in primary school.
Models of Castles and doodle bugs are bad enough, but at least they are just cardboard.

This needs more craft skills than she has, and bits and pieces that mean DHs shed. DH has real work to do to earn actual money.

When we have built it she's supposed to take a weeks worth of data. Not a chance she'll remember, more HW for me!

Just why? She might learn a bit watching met office videos, but she really isn't infused.

BackforGood Sat 09-Mar-13 17:50:50

Because this practical sort of homework inspires some dc - maybe not your dd, but some children who might really struggle with written stuff, really come alive when given a challenge like this.

It's not homework for you though - she needs to leave herself notes or whatever to remember, or take the consequences. There's no incentive for her to learn if you and dh are planning to do it for her. Indeed, it's pupils that get their parents to do it, that make the dc who have done it all themselves, feel inadequate sometimes - although of course the teachers know the child's not done it, it can be a bit depressing for other pupils to see something that 'dh has made in his shed' sat next to their solo attempts.

Startail Sat 09-Mar-13 23:41:20

She can't do it her self except in the most Micky mouse way. That's the problem. Even the most primitive weather gadgets need a certain amount of engineering and bits finding.

Even a simple rain gauge with a funnel and a narrow measuring tube needs maths she doesn't know.

It would be ok if they had done it a bit in class and a bit in school like the long history projects, but they haven't.

I suspect it's just a very poorly thought out sop for the fact that geography normal give out almost no HW at all (hence me forgetting it).

Startail Sat 09-Mar-13 23:42:20

Bit in class, bigger bit at home, like history.

Kez100 Sun 10-Mar-13 01:43:29

You are thinking it as an adult and that's not the point.

She could make a rain gauge using a open top vessel and ruler taped to the side. So long as she has thought of the correct testing conditions (I e make sure the ruler is at 0 at bottom and where you would place it so you didn't get an inaccurate reading.

Obviously it can get a lot more complicated than that but that is putting a different persons view on it and that's not the point.

OnGoldenPond Sun 10-Mar-13 18:09:30

As you are posting in Secondary education, I presume your DD is at least in year 7 so should be perfectly capable of doing this project.

Maybe you could offer some practical ideas on how she could approach it, but the actual doing should be down to her.

Certainly she should be capable of remembering to take data for a week, she needs to be organising her own work schedule at this age. If she forgets, that is down to her and she will have to explain the absence of results to her teacher.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 11:29:40

Yes she can do something by herself, but she won't learn anything, except that geography is annoying.

Without support and discussion a Y7 isn't going to learn the science behind making accurate instruments.

A pot and a ruler will probably teach her drizzle evaporates away before you measure it.

My scientist Y10 could probably make a pretty good attempt, but without guidance and a much more structured outline of the write up required DD2 is really struggling.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 11:32:03

Absent results, come off it?

DD2 may be awful at craft and practical things, but she's a wiz at google and writing fiction!

ThingummyBob Mon 11-Mar-13 11:33:58

I agree OP I hate homework for parents. Some of it is very lazy teaching imho.

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 12:37:36

It does feel rather lazy HW as it's geography for the half term, with no staged input at all.

History do something similar, but it's really tightly tied to each weeks lessons and they ask the DCs to bring stuff in to show they are doing it.

This is just, we're doing climate, go forth and build a weather station and bring in a few photos.
This would be fine if it didn't also say - this is the whole 1/2 terms HW, therefore a few photos and a few scribbled results won't do.

ByTheWay1 Mon 11-Mar-13 15:20:07

it is a standard Y7 project - parental input is not needed.

Rain gauge - straight sided jar with a rule IS fine,

thermometer in a shaded spot is fine,

notes taken on weather 2 or 3 times a day for a month, in a spreadsheet - including a photo of the sky at the time - analyse cloud types, temperature, levels of precipitation,

estimate wind speed from the Beaufort scale (google) - put flag on a thin stick in the garden/out the window to help this one

take photos of the kit, label it and list any assumptions made - present in a folder with results tabulated for the month.

this is all really stuff that a Y7 child CAN do on their own

Startail Mon 11-Mar-13 16:33:54

Could, but sodding well won't without nagging.

Photos of clouds is a good idea and I meant to say Beaufort to her, I did it at guides a million years ago. Thanks.

"When we have built it she's supposed to take a weeks worth of data. Not a chance she'll remember, more HW for me!"

Christ, don't buy her a goldfish or a guinea pig will you? If she can't remember to do something on a daily basis for a week, she really deserves the crap mark she'll get as a result. Please don't take the readings for her. It will be good practice for her to need to remember to do this.

Blissx Mon 11-Mar-13 18:35:22

You doing your DD's homework for her in the past has obviously resulted in this current situation. Are you telling me that she cannot put a ruler in a jar, or put a thermometer up and then taken readings over a few days. Good grief.

OddBoots Mon 11-Mar-13 18:40:25

"Could, but sodding well won't without nagging. "

Don't nag unless you want to nag her through her GCSEs and A Levels and beyond. Let her do her best, whatever that is, and let the school deal with her weaknesses. By all means have a talk to her and explain this plan and ask her if she wants any reminders at any point but give her the control, she is old enough.

Sparklingbrook Mon 11-Mar-13 18:45:35

Bet you feel much better now you have started this thread Startail sad I know exactly what you mean if that makes you feel any better.

OddBoots Mon 11-Mar-13 18:48:58

It probably sounds like I'm having a go but I promise I'm not, I know how hard it is to let them stand on their own feet but it is worth it, so worth it.

Sparklingbrook Mon 11-Mar-13 18:50:58

perhaps if the thread was in Chat it would have been different? I don't know, maybe a bit of 'i know they are a real pain aren't they' and then the suggestions.

bonzoed Mon 11-Mar-13 19:00:40

It's interesting to read this. Both my DCs are still at primary but they do their homework and projects themselves although we will source what they need once they have decided what they need. Invariably any 'making' type project they do is the worst in the class because there is minimal/zero adult input. They have never won a prize because their's looks the least professional. Our motivation for doing it like this has been so they can use their initiative and learn from the exercise. I hope this will pay off by the time they get to Yr7.

Sparklingbrook Mon 11-Mar-13 19:03:16

I find that with DS1 unless it is a fascinating subject for him these projecty things can be hard going.

Having just chosen his Options he has been able to drop some subjects that require this sort of thing.

Geography coursework taught me the importance of being able to make up convincing data. Obviously there are lots of internet sources of weather data available. All your DD needs to do is find a reasonable source of data and if she forgets to make her recordings she can just use the internet data.

AScorpionPitForMimes Mon 11-Mar-13 21:34:38

I sincerely hope DD1 won't get this as we are away over Easter. She could certainly do it herself, but like the OP I think it is lazy, pointless homework. With the cake castle we at least ended up with something edible at the end of it all.

tiredaftertwo Mon 11-Mar-13 22:03:50

OP, I agree. And not only is it not edible but you will never use it again and it will get filled up with horrible green slime. At least a castle is something nice to keep.

I wish my house had all the bits and bobs needed for this sort of thing in one place, constantly replenished, next to an always functioning printer that never runs out of ink just when you need it. But we don't. And that is down to us, as parents. If it is so quick and easy, and the children can do it on their own without adult input, why don't they do it in school and bring the nice tidy worksheets that don't involve tools and parcel tape and jam jars home?

I'm impressed that so many year 7s can plan work over several weeks. I've never met any. My dc get on just fine independently with written homework including longer projects, now they are older, but in year 7, in a small chaotic busy house, they needed help. Which I was happy to give them, occasionally, but I am not sure the teachers realised how long it could take to work out which printer settings you needed to reduce photos so they all fit on one page, if that is not your bag, and it is not geography either.

Startail Wed 13-Mar-13 15:56:05

"I find that with DS1 unless it is a fascinating subject for him these projecty things can be hard going."

Sparkling You have hit the nail squarely on the head.

The rest of us are scientists to the core, she isn't. She can do it and do it well if the subject catchers her imagination, but if it doesn't its a real uphill struggle.

Frustrating in the extreme, because she's very clever and can do it.

I just feel, that a bit more input from the class teacher, brain storming ideas in class and generally encouraging them, would in Y7, have been nice.

Sparklingbrook Wed 13-Mar-13 16:46:27

Exactly Startail some projects children will find fascinating, others will leave them cold. I get fed up with the endless trips to Hobbycraft for bits and pieces that will be used once and cost £££££s. sad

The project hangs over us until it's done, generally all over the dining table/kitchen.

Haven't had one since the 'Model of the solar System' one. There must be one due......

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