Why I hate art projects

Why I hate art projects
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Friday evenings in school season swing around and the one sentence I dread hearing usually drops innocently from my child’s lips: ‘We have an Art project to submit on Monday.’

In that second, I want the earth to swallow me up, because I would much rather go to El Dorado and hunt for the mythical gold than actually sit in my living room, surrounded by crepe paper, glue and scissors and stare helplessly at a ‘robot’ that looks woefully like a scarecrow from the land of Oz!

Is it just me or are school projects carefully designed revenge schemes? You go through all your years of schooling, blithely escaping ever cutting a single piece of craft board and then along comes a child and her seemingly endless projects. After that, the tornado of expectations hits you like a ton of bricks. Yes, I am mixing up two metaphors, because that’s exactly how I feel when I am asked to help with an Art project!

The thing is, I fancy myself as a creative person- with the pen, with my voice and heck, even with my organising skills that could put Marie Kondo to shame! But, I cannot do ‘artistic’ fare for the life of me! Buttons stuck together on a sheet of paper, meant to be eyes, look creepily like ghost characters. A ‘simple’ paper plate chicken with clear step-by-step instructions turns out to be a malnourished version of the same species. A coconut shell used to make an ‘igloo’ looks woefully like. . . a coconut shell camouflaged in cotton! (Flip side: That post does rank tenth on my list of most-viewed posts. Go figure!)

So, it’s no wonder that I start looking up weekend getaway options when these projects rear their sneering heads. The only silver lining is that I have a spouse who is artistically inclined. Captured below is a cross-looped mat, made using ribbons and foam, that is meant to resemble a bat in flight. You can just see the finesse in the finished product, can you not?

Seen below is my valiant effort at trying to make a coconut look like an igloo.

I rest my case.

What makes all this exponentially worse is those ‘supermoms’ who go out and buy real lumber and construct a ‘home’ for a freaking third-grade science project. For all those people, I just have one question: WHY? It’s not like your child will love you any less for making a coconut- igloo.

In the last few years, I’ve been reading a lot on how we, as parents, are setting our kids up for failure by never allowing them to fail. As paradoxical as that sounds, it’s true. If our children never stumble and never fall, how will they learn to pick themselves up and move further ahead?

So, the next weekend project, due very soon, is the carefully designed ‘dress’ made from materials found in Nature. I have decided that she will do the project on her own,because it will look exactly like a child did it. More importantly, the grade she gets will be an ‘A plus’ for effort.

That one will come from me.

* A version of this post appeared on the author’s blog.

Shailaja Vishwanath is a freelance writer who blogs over at The Moving Quill and Diary of a Doting Mom. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter too.

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