So Done with Science Projects

I was so happy when Oldest One finished her science project in eighth grade. One done with the dreaded science project! My hopes were dashed her freshman year of high school when I found out our school required a science project through twelfth grade.

I know that science projects have merit, and kids do learn from them. But I have yet to see one that doesn’t require some sort of parental involvement, even if it is just running around town frantically buying needed items to finish it in the next 24 hours. This year doesn’t look any different.

I walked into the house after work to find Oldest One unhappily glaring at the computer because she couldn’t find a project she liked. She decided not to work with a group this year, but to do it on her own, and she wanted something exciting and big. I told her I didn’t see how she had time for a project like that, and maybe a scaled back one would be better. That was shot down. I had sent her, at her request, several websites with science projects for twelfth graders that had some (to me) cool looking projects that weren’t going to take the next two years. She didn’t like any of them. She left for cheer with no project.

Little One had wanted to do a science project determining what kind of food a bunny liked better, using from homemade to bought organic to bought bagged bunny food. Her teacher said that was too easy, and instead assigned Little One’s group of three the science project of seeing which paper towel was the strongest. What? For eighth graders? Apparently the teacher hasn’t seen what happens when food doesn’t agree with a bunny, and the bunny doesn’t quite make it to its litter box. Not pretty. I decided to let this go, buy every brand of paper towel there is, get some rocks from the yard, and let them have at it.

Last year Little One and her group did a maze and determined which animal, a dog, a cat or a chicken made it through with the best time. I had two kids and a chicken spend the night for that one. Husband helped with the maze to make sure it was sturdy, and I downloaded the pictures (and offered the visiting chicken some food). That was a fun one to watch; three seventh grade girls trying to herd a dog, a cat and a chicken through a maze several times.

Oldest One, with me sitting at the table for support (because the projects she was looking at were beyond this administrative non-science person), finally decided on two projects she would discuss with her teacher at 10:30p last night. She had realized that she didn’t have several months, and wasn’t trying to win a scholarship for her project. I admire she wanted to do something exciting, with anatomy or neurology or cancer (and Husband and I said no to doing anything with mice and cancer cells), but it wasn’t practical. She told me this morning she would be doing an experiment about blood coagulation. I even think I can help her, by ordering the materials she needs, and cleaning up after her.

Only four more years of science projects to go after this one. Well, if Oldest One does research in college, great, I’ll just hear about it, not have to live through it. This will not be one of the things I look back on sadly when it is over.

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My (unrealistic) Budget

When I did the budget last Friday I calculated all bills, groceries and gas through the month to try and scrounge up a bit more to buy some Christmas gifts for the girls.  I even added extra into the food budget, figuring a bonus on the 23rd (yes, I’ll probably be shopping then) would be nice.  That was blown to bits by Sunday evening.

This week is Spirit Week for basketball season.  For $5 each the girls get to dress down all week.  At a school with uniforms this isn’t to be missed.  So I made sure to have $10.  Then Little One needs something camouflage for Tuesday.  She has a shirt with Bambi for animal print day (the school mascot is an animal), and she thinks she has red day covered, but nothing camouflage.  So I bought her a shirt at Wal-Mart.  Done!

No, not done.  Oldest One gets home, and she said she is going out to buy shirts for Spirit Week with her friend, and she has money on her debit card.  She has her gas money on her debit card, as I mentioned to her, and got hands thrown up in the air in response.  Then her friend cancelled, and there have been a few friend issues there, so as I am getting ready to go shower, I get the “Mom, please go shopping with me.”  7:30p at night we got into my car to find yet another camouflage shirt and an animal print shirt.  I did talk her into wearing a panda shirt she had, so I only had to buy her one shirt…plus the eyeliner, new shadow liner and a liner brush at Target that were really needed.  Okay, we did have a good talk, and we did walk arm in arm through the stores and laugh a lot.

I can work with all that thrown in to the budget – kind of.  But wait!  I get a text from Little One this afternoon that her pink dance tights are ripped and she needs another pair for dance class.  Oh, and Husband said we are going to go buy a prime rib for Christmas dinner (his parents enjoy it) tonight so he can do his aging thing with it.  I’m waiting for Oldest One to need one more thing tonight so I can hit the trifecta.

This isn’t new, and why I thought I could make a budget that wouldn’t get dinged I have no idea.  I know better.  And it’s not like they won’t have gifts.  Husband and I have some creative ideas and we are making some things the girls have asked for.  And some they haven’t.  Oldest One didn’t ask for a letter box for her varsity letter, but since she didn’t want a jacket, and because I don’t want it to get lost one day, we’ve decided to do that with it.  She’ll like it one day when she has teenagers.  Little One wants a bow holder (cheer bows multiply at night) and we are making that since I want a bigger size than we can buy.

So tonight, after we get done at the stores yet again, I am going to go home and pull out my budget that I so carefully put together.  And I am going to rip it up and throw it away.