Second Grade Tightrope for Parents

OK, parents, I need some input. And if you happen to be a teacher, I especially want to hear from you.

Krystal’s second grade class was given an assignment during the first week of school to create an “All About Me” poster to share with the class. Each student will have a week during the school year where they are “Student of the Week” and their poster will be featured on the classroom wall. Some suggestions for items to include were their favorite things (color, food, books, movies, etc), pets, family information, baby pictures, what they want to be when they grow up, etc.

I bought Krystal a poster board to use, and helped her brainstorm categories to include, but otherwise left her to her own devices. Her poster has meaningful content and it looks like it was done by a 7 year old.

On the handful of occasions I’ve been in her classroom since, I’ve taken note of the student’s poster featured. It was obvious to me that one of two things was going on. Either Krystal’s classmates are exceedingly artistically gifted, or they had significant parental help. I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to go with that second option.

And I’m feeling really conflicted about this!! Krystal has not expressed any dissatisfaction with her poster in comparison to anyone else’s. When I saw the first one, I did comment to her that it looked like that student had lots of help from a parent, and she agreed. I’ve kept my mouth shut about the others since.

I feel like I did the right thing, in letting Krystal run with the bulk of this project. I honestly feel like I walked the tightrope between offering support and guidance while letting her have creative control. But I can’t help feeling inadequate on her behalf when I see the other posters. Look, I know this is second grade. And her teacher is seasoned – she knows what 7 year olds can and can’t do on their own. But will she feel like Krystal has a parent who doesn’t care because her poster isn’t as polished as others? Or will she be relieved that at last a student did their own work?

How the hell am I going to handle the high school years??

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4 responses to “Second Grade Tightrope for Parents

  1. Here’s the deal (as I see it) having a current and former 2nd grader. With 2nd graders often parents need to be involved in the homework. Whether it’s being read to or quizzing on math or whatever. I’m LUCKY in that my 6th grader needs very little parental involvement in homework. But my Princess needs help with some stuff.

    There is certainly stuff that parents should not be involved in (you really should not be writing her book reports for her), and there’s stuff that parents can run with. After all, the “student of the week” poster isn’t “homework” it’s not graded so it doesn’t matter if a parent does the entire thing. I know did for my son when he was in 1st grade — and again for my daughter (we do that project in 1st grade).

    But if your daughter *WANTS* to do it and is eager and willing to run with it and you don’t need to do anything — think of it as great training for later and know that sooner or later (and with Krystal it sounds like sooner) you’ll be able to have her cut the homework cord.

    And if that’s the case — probably Belle will cut the homework cord later :}. Just to balance things out.

    If you’re concerned that the teacher will think you’re a sluff off — you could always send a note (or email) saying that K wanted to do the project for herself so you let her. Let her be proud of her accomplishment and find a wonderful place on the kitchen wall or fridge to proudly display this masterpiece after her week is over (and post it to your blog).

  2. I think you did the right thing. It is a poster about her and her likes/dislikes, family etc…you helped guide her through the brainstorming process. I applaud you for letting her take control. I am a mom of four ranging from 15-8 and I have had numerous “all about me” posters to do. The kids take so much more pride in what they have created. It gives them ownership. I don’t think you need to worry that the teacher will think you are a slacker! The teacher will probably be thankful that you let the child do the project which was his/her intention in the first place. I have found that all too often these types of activities become fodder for the parents to “one-up” each other rather than really make it about the child and what they want to show their classmates…

  3. I think you were right. And I think the teacher does NOT think you’re a slacker. She probably has more regard for you than the parents who do the work for the kids. I think all those children whose parents “help” do things for them are going to be in bad shape when they have to do something on their own. We aren’t in school yet, but the library holds gingerbread house contests for the little kids and it’s very obvious which houses were done by parents. Fortunately, the ones that win are the ones that LOOK like they were done by a 5-year-old, so maybe that trend will slack off.
    All that being said, I’ll get back to you when we’re actually in school and encounter this. 🙂

  4. I think you definitely did the right thing. I also think that you should slip a note or email to the teacher and discuss your concern. We ran into this a lot with both my kids. It was especially “in your face” in Cub Scouts, when my son built his own Pine Derby racer and was faced with racers that were so obviously built by a parent it was pathetic. Why should our kids be penalized for following the rules, actual or implied.

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