Art Project- A tale of woe

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 Zeus 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. 

So, this weekend’s project, due tomorrow, 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.

52 thoughts on “Art Project- A tale of woe

  1. You already know how I feel about projects like this. A dress out of things made in nature? Why? I can’t even imagine the lesson there.

  2. 🙂 I loved art projects, but didn’t have that many during our days at school. And, I agree with you..let your child do it on her own. That way, she will be getting the grades, for her creativity and efforts, not you.
    As far as the coconut igloo goes…well, hmm, …..:D I am speechless! Thank god, Gy has her creative dad to bail her out! Haha, just kidding, S! No offence meant! Both her parents are exceptionally talented!:-)

  3. I hear you! I can’t think of innovative out of the box stuff when it comes to art! So whatever i suggest to T reflects that! I remember him telling me at 8 in the night that he had to take a fairy to school the next day. I panicked more than him.. And although i helped him make one it ended up looking more like the Betal in Vikram aur Betal! He was happy with it and it was put up in his class on PTM so all’s well that ends well. I am so not looking forward to the next one!

  4. I simply, truly hate all the art and craft projects because, of course, I suck big time! I dread when these would begin at the kid’s school. I also dislike fancy dress occasions when all the supermoms dress up the kids to the T with creatively sewn dresses and accessories. I wish they had tuitions for such projects-for the kids..not me!

  5. Shailaja , I too have gone through this rigmarole of project work. I used to guide my son and he would do on his own. But that was not so with some of his classmates who sought professional help to better their grades. That is history now as he is in 11th std and no projects.

  6. My son had an assignment to create something in honor of the 100th day of school. There were all these creative suggestions (build a house out of 100 pretzel sticks! Make a chain of 100 Cheerios!), but we just glued cereal on cardboard. I used the stuff that was going stale. I’m more thrifty than creative, that’s for sure.

  7. Ha ha Shailaja very nice post 😉
    This post reminds me of my days when I was a student teacher ‘s training course . where my friend used to get worried whenever I used enter her house with an art project in hand as my friend used help. Despite the fact that she used to hate doing it 🙂 while I enjoyed going it .

  8. I somehow could never imagine you to dread your child’s art projects. After all, you come across as this epitome of patience as far as parenting is concerned. I mean it as a genuine compliment. I still go through shivers when my son comes home with a school project in spite of me coming from an art background. There’s no dearth for issues on which a mother feels guilty about, eh? 😉

  9. I thought school art if for kids not parents 🙂 and heyyyyyyyy isn’t it trying hard that matters the most 🙂

    good igloo though, I knew it was an igloo the moment i saw it he he he he he

  10. I hated art projects probably because like you, I couldn’t do any arts or crafts to save my life! I think my sister got that talent. 😛 But my parents never really helped us with any of our art work which resulted in me constantly getting something like a C. Oh well, I guess I should be thankful my parents didn’t care about art. {It didn’t help when I got similar marks in Maths though!}

  11. How I hate the dreaded school projects. And I’ve been at it for about 10 years now. But the only good thing is, at my younger one’s new school, the teacher insists that parents should not help out at all. She said even if its torn or falling off or not on the same line, pls let the child do it. And that has given me lot of relief. Hope we have more teachers like her.

  12. Yes, rest your case Shailaja for the coconut igloo…well, yeah you definitely have a gift for the pen! We can’t all be good at everything can we? And perhaps that is one reason you have your husband? 😉 …to help your daughter out with her school projects! 😉 However, I think you are right in that it best come from her directly so it looks like a “kid’s” project…hmmm, maybe that coconut igloo has a place after all! 😉 Oh, and by the way, I don’t think it was my forte either! 😉 <3

  13. When we were in school we did our own little projects. I wonder why cant schools encourage children to spend time at school and let them work on it. This would help children work on creating thinking and moms can blog 😉

    1. Technically, the kids are supposed to do it on their own and the parents are meant to ‘help a little’. By and large , we do that. But seeing other projects she feels sad and asks her dad to help her complete it. So, not really sure what is being achieved by this meaningless competition at a young age.

  14. Hahaha I love that coconut igloo.. reminds me of the bird nest that I supposedly helped D with – have you got that one yet ;). The nest looked exactly like she might have done it herself, of course.

  15. I love art projects but I can’t say I excel at it rather I want to. I have recently gotten into this artistic mode where handicrafts interest me to no extent. So, I told myself to go step by step and started with paper quilling 😀

    Btw, was that a full coconut? I think half the shell of a big coconut would have made your igloo better 😛 Your husband’s art is awesome!

  16. Okay, I am guilty to admit I love art projects – and I’ve mastered the art of making my son do it. Next time you’re in a fix, you know whom to call.

    I didn’t know Zeus was an organizer. I live and learn!

  17. Hi Shailaja,
    I have a little one in playschool (the kind where parents are supposed to join in), and art is his least favorite class. He makes me do his projects, and I have the least creative but the most neat looking project in the group 😀 I can only imagine what my future holds when it comes to helping out with real school projects 🙂

  18. I completely freak out when it comes to Art projects. I tell my kids the same. Even if it is several notches below what your classmates (their parents) made, it is your own effort!

  19. Haha. School art projects. They have ones even for Little R. And he’s not even joined proper school yet. I hate to imagine how it’s going to be when he joins one.

    Good job with the coconut igloo though: sounds like an ice cream

    1. I am officially sending you an invite to feel free to consult me Sid. I am a *&^%$ pro at it. I’ve catered to children of all ages and stages for decades now. The practice did me good 😀

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