How to help your Child Cope with doing a School Project

Don’t you get tired of helping your child get his written school project completed in time, and not just completed in time, but making sure that the project is actually good too?

School projects can be a pain, and what all parents dread, but projects do not have to be so stressful.

You may have to help your child through his first few school projects, but there is no reason to keep on helping him if you use a plan that can be applied to all written projects, no matter what the topic is.  A good plan will reduce stress for the parent, will free up time for the parent, will help the child learn how to cope with doing a project with no help from his mother or father at all, and will result in wonderful projects that please the teacher.

Don’t you find you usually help your child through the same steps, in the same order, each time he requires assistance from you?  Why put yourself through explaining the procedure each time, when you could just write it all down, or type it up and print it? Your child can look at the notes each time he gets a school project.

A notice is usually sent out by the class teacher listing the requirements for the project such as questions that need to be answered and explained in the presentation, and how many marks are assigned to each section of the written work, as well as to the presentation of the writing or pictures, and sometimes includes marks assigned to an oral too.

With the criteria available to your child, there is no excuse not to deliver an excellent project, but this won’t be achieved if not adhering to the criteria.  Time management is also important.  It’s no use trying to successfully complete a task if only starting on the planning of it the night before it’s due!

Sit down with your child and go through the assignment criteria with him.  Discuss what you and he think will be good ways to deliver everything that is required.

This will be the first item on the list that you prepare for use with every project thereafter:

• Look at the requirements

• What comes next on the list?

Think about how best to present the information, and note down how many marks are assigned to each section.  Jot down other notes too such as “Not many marks are assigned to including a map, and I therefore don’t have to spend a lot of time on drawing or finding a very large one.  It can be quite small as long as it is neat and I properly label it. I should rather spend more time on the sections that can get more marks, instead of running out of time to finish the project before it is due, which might happen if I spend too much time on only a small part of the project.”

Just because it’s easy and convenient to do all the research for a school project on the Internet, try not to use only the Internet.  Making use of all resources available better prepares a child for the real world after school. If it’s too much of an inconvenience to get yourself and your child to a public library – although you should make the effort – then invest in various encyclopaedias and other informative books to keep at home, especially if you have more than just one or two children.  Combine information from both books and the Internet.  Always include a bibliography.  With books, write down the pages you referred to too.  With the Internet, save the link of the website page you got your information from.

When using books for retrieving the information you need for a school project, roughly prepare a piece of paper or notebook with headings for the different parts of your project, then jot down information that you find that is related to each part, and include the name of the book and the page that you found the information on.  Always write in your own words.  Use a thesaurus, if necessary, to help you find synonyms for different words or phrases.

If not wanting to spend too much time on the Internet due to the expense or somebody else in the family also needing to use the same computer, then instead of copying and pasting certain sections of online articles into their appropriate folders on the computer, then save whole pages to the various folders you have in the main project folder.  Print out the pages, and go through them with a pencil, marking sections or sentences that refer to each part of the project with a letter or number that makes sense to the child.  If using numbers for example, then the child should have a key saying which number represents which section of the project.  If using letters or short abbreviations, then a key may not be required as long at the child always has the original criteria notice nearby to refer to all the time.  For example the letters NE could represent the natural environment of an animal, M could represent movement of the animal, F could represent the food the animal eats, and R could represent the reproduction of the animal.

Depending on how much time is still available before the project is due, a really rough version could be created on scrap paper before the final is written up or typed up.  This can help get all information, from both the books and the Internet into their correct sections, and can help make it clearer where two sentences are too similar to include both, or can be blended together in some way.  When taking notes from various books, articles or websites, it may often happen that information is repeated, that should certainly not be used all over to merely fill up the pages of a project.  The project should be well written and flow well.

You may need to pin up more than just one list on the wall for your child to refer to when doing school projects. You could have a list telling the child the order in which the steps to complete a project should be done.  Another list can have points to remember when getting information from books, and another one can refer to what to remember when getting information from the Internet.

You may also want to include a title at the top of each list that says “Refer to this before asking Mom!”