School projects – arg

solar system, space, planet


The local primary school has issued new homework books. They seem to focus a lot on projects, a word that inspires dread in the heart of this parent. Minutes after getting the books only son decided he was going to devote a lot of his time to projects and got the paints out. Daughter three is studying the solar system so thought it might be a good idea to make a model of it. We spent Sunday painting polystyrene balls and attaching them to sticks. Daughter two lent her glue gun, but was working on her own project – a giant bean bag which she decorated with patchwork. Meanwhile daughter one was doing an art assignment – creating junk food shoes. We spent a long time trying to rip the heels off a pair of charity shoe stilettos so that she can replace them with chips, her theme being fish and chips.

So far, so artistic. The only problem was that the planets were not sticking onto the drawing pins properly so Saturn was listing a bit. Only son then decided to test the purple sponge daughter three had used for Jupiter on the wall. Things deteriorated as they so often do. Daughter three flounced off as Saturn imploded. Only son said “I’m very, very, very sorry, mum” several times and then decided to do a project on hammerhead shark pups with a large amount of blue paint.

Saturn was eventually restored to its former glory and I advised daughter three to make some playdough in case of similar collapses en route to school. Everyone went to bed happy. I wrote down some important facts about hammerhead shark pups and we imagined what it might be like to have 360 degree vision and live in a lagoon.

Homework day is Tuesday which meant keeping the planets aligned for a full 48 hours. I had an exclusion zone around the tray they were on. Tuesday dawned and it was wet. We had to carry the entire solar system into school, keeping it upright and dry. Daughter three was in a positive mood, though, and asked lots of questions about whether the sky would be black if you looked at it on the moon even though it was blue on Earth and the moon wasn’t that far from the sun.

Only son sat in the back singing a 1D song and then he piped up: “Mum, you know that Lego Avengers kit you said you would buy me. When is it coming?” I had no recollection of ever saying I would buy a Lego Avengers kit. “It’s not your birthday yet,” I replied. He asked several more times, trying to jog my memory. It seemed very unlikely I would have agreed to such a purchase, I said. A pause. “Ah, I think I dreamt it,” he said and went back to singing “Up all night”.

We arrived at school and daughter three gently extricated herself from the car. Oh dear. Saturn started wobbling and crashed into Jupiter just as daughter three was telling me how long it took to get to Jupiter and how she’d like to go, being a fan, as she is, of transport. I got out the playdough. Unfortunately, being home made it was more like soggy mashed potato than playdough and Saturn was slightly tilting. We made it to school with the other seven planets still standing. Daughter three’s teacher said it was amazing. Daughter three was very proud. She is now contemplating becoming an astronaut.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Picture of the planets courtesy of Wikipedia.

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