Homefront: That’s the way the project crumbles
Stars and Stripes March 23, 2008
For eight and a half years now, my kids have been coming home from school with project assignments. In case some of you are unfamiliar with these monsters from the homework world, here’s the simplest definition: A school project is homework that involves more of the student’s time, so there is an extended deadline.
How much parental involvement is needed depends on if your child is a procrastinator, whether the assignment requires your involvement and if you have any self-control.
I have a hard time resisting “crafty” projects and have definitely gotten carried away in the past, combining my glue gun expertise with enough trips to Hobby Lobby to create some masterpieces.
It has been awhile, however, since I did anything more than some last-minute coloring. Either the boys are becoming more independent or their homework is getting too hard for their old mom.
When Ronnie came home last month with a little blank flag and a set of instructions, a wave of the usual “project dread” swept over me. But it quickly vanished when I realized how simple the assignment would be.
To prepare for the upcoming International Luncheon, my third-grader needed to do a little research, some coloring and decide what kind of food to bring. Neither of us gave it another thought until the first deadline, when he had to select a country, decorate its flag and decide upon the international cuisine he planned to share.
Students were encouraged to concentrate on the countries they had recently studied in class or to pick one where their ancestors lived.
Ronnie wanted to pick a country whose flag would be easy to color.
“How about Japan? Jimmy and Tommy were born there, and the flag just has a big red dot on it,” I said.
“No. I was born in Texas. I wanna do Texas,” he replied.
I reminded him that Texas was part of the United States, which would mean he would have to do an American flag. Ronnie was determined to do the Texas state flag until it dawned on him that he would get a bad grade for not following the instructions.
His enthusiasm for the project declined once her realized there would be no celebrating his birth in the country of Texas.
That’s when I went on the Internet and began looking for a country whose flag was as easy to copy as its food. It didn’t take me long, alphabetically, to decide the perfect country for Ronnie’s assignment would be Denmark.
It had a beautifully simple flag and brought back memories of little powdered sugar-covered cookies I loved as a girl.
Did my love of Danish Wedding Cookies come from sharing them in the kitchen of a Danish relative or friend? No way. The famous Keebler elves got me hooked on them.
As far as I know, our family’s only connection to Denmark may very well be my love of Danish Wedding Cookies. The only thing left to do was find out if Keebler still makes the cookies; I had not seen them on grocery store shelves in about 18 years.
It took only seconds to discover that those elves are still churning out Danish Wedding Cookies.
I decided to order 15 boxes. Surely, I could find something to do with the leftovers if Ronnie’s class couldn’t eat that many.
The look on my face when that first cookie touched my lips must have been one of sheer delight. I was too busy reaching for a second cookie to go look in the mirror.
A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 17 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.