This term’s project is the Stone Age. It’s been a struggle. Project-based work sounds fun – to parents – but it doesn’t seem to be the same for children.
Only son has been musing on life in general. He came home the other day and said he had spent lunchtime wandering around on his own. “What happened to your best mate?” I inquired. His best mate had been round for a sleepover only on Friday and all seemed well. They did dancing, painting, Stone Age pictures, word searches, computer games and watched The House with the Clock in the Wall. They had the traditional pizza followed by cheese on toast for breakfast. Both were up at the crack of dawn and we did some trampolining to boot. What could have gone wrong?
“He decided to play with the year Rs,” said only son. “I am not playing with people who eat their own bogeys.” Oh dear. So he tramped around the playground on his own instead. “I am very different from everyone else in my class,” he stated. I wondered what was coming next. “Everyone else has parties in swimming pools and I don’t,” he started. Only son had been on my whatsapp messages and seen a mention of a swimming pool party which he had promptly invited himself to. “xx would love to come and he has just reached genius level in TT rock stars [a times table app],” he wrote – in my name. “Would you like a swimming pool party?” I inquired. “Not really,” he said. “If I have parties they involve people coming to our house and I find it hard enough just dealing with my sisters.”
Only son has always been a bit of a loner. In year R his teachers remarked on it, but said he seemed perfectly happy. By year one, however, he had discovered his best friend, who shares his huge love of the imaginary world. Listening in to their conversations is possibly the most entertainment I have all year. Ditto watching them do Let’s Dance.
Only son also has very forthright opinions, most particularly about school, which he thinks is a very bad idea. Homework is a particular bugbear. This weekend we had to do a Stone Age project. He’s been putting it off for weeks. We got some books from the library and I suggested several options. “What about you write a Stone Age rock song?” I suggested. “Rocks, stones, you get it…” Only son looked extremely unimpressed. “I am not writing songs or poems,” he announced.
He had done a picture of a sabre-toothed tiger and drawn some flint tools and he felt that was adequate homework. “Don’t schools make us work hard enough without making us do more work at home?” he asked. I suggested a newspaper report on the Stone Age might be fun. “Newspapers?” he said with scorn. I have previously attempted to get him to join newspaper club at his school and extolled the wonders of journalism. He knows I am a journalist. “I do NOT want to be a journalist, mum,” he said. “They work too hard.”
Eventually we settled on a Stone Age word search, a day in the life feature and something about the paleo diet after reading some of the library books. The main point of the day in the life feature was that Stone Age people did not generally eat the kind of delicious nutty paleo bars currently found in health food shops, but were more likely to chomp on raw eyeballs or whatever they could get their hands on. Only son is very glad not to be living in the Stone Age.
He clipped all his work together, stuck it in his school bag and went back to reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid.