This is proving to be very difficult. I'm really furious that they both have projects due right after a week off of school -- that means Julian's 4-week project and Gabriel's 3-week project include a week of vacation time, and right before they're due. Families travel, have visitors, relax, have time off during Thanksgiving. We're not talking about a paper due for a college student; this is time-consuming, labor-intensive work for the parents.
I think this time we need to rebel against Gabriel's "passport" project, partly on principle and partly because it's just too much work and not enough time. It was given Nov. 10th and is due Nov. 30th -- a span that includes only 6 school days -- and it was given concurrently with the main project, the "country study" report.
The "passport" project includes a booklet of questions in which you're supposed to draw a flag of the country of origin (that's a 1-night project right there) and trace your ancestors' path on a map and make a clothespin doll with the traditional clothing from the country of origin and bring in a dish from the country for a multicultural feast (separate from the "country study" recipe).
And answer these questions.
When did your family or ancestors come to the United States? (What year?)
Where did they live before?
How did they travel to the U.S.?
How long did it take them to get here?
Describe the route they took, who came with them, and their traveling experiences.
Tell what happened when they first got to the U.S.
What was hard for them to get used to?
What was easy for them to get used to?
What do you think they miss the most from their old home?
Tell what special traditions and customs they brought with them.
Did they bring any special mementos or favorite things?
Did they bring knowledge of any special skills or languages?
Description of the place they left.
The physical setting (mountain or valley, hot or cold, rainy or dry, etc).
Tell something about what it might have been like to live there.
Make a drawing of the flag of the place your family came from
Name of country:
Color the map to show the place your family left, and the route they took to the United States.
Come to class ready to show something about your family's immigration to the United States! We encourage students to take advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to find out the answers to those questions by asking the family members would would know! Parents should provide guidance in filling out the passport.
This is in addition to the Country Study report, which is the main report!! And regular homework, at least when there's school.
Really, this is too much. Or is it? Do other 3rd-grade parents think this is excessive? What about the assumption that you have relatives to ask these questions of? Or the assumption that this is what you, the kid and the relatives want to be doing over the holiday?
I don't know, I'm starting to think the only thing that Gabriel should turn in is a note from his parents saying this is too difficult for Americans who have assimilated, and is too much work in too little time. But I don't have the gumption to rebel against teachers and stick Gabriel in the middle of it.