School assignments

The assignment itself looked innocuous enough... a sheet from school asking my son to bring a family heirloom to school (or a photo of one), tell about the history of the item, and describe world events in the era when the item was made. Quite a creative way to have students give oral reports about different time periods one would think.

The problem with homework assignments is how often parents get coopted to participate. I thought an antique clock that has come down to me from my grandmother would be a nice item for Daniel's oral report. It's a lovely little item, that plays "The Blue Danube" when the alarm goes off, while an imitation "record" spins around, and the couple on the record spin around too... a very clever mechanical music box/clock combination. As it turns out, my mother doesn't remember (or know) how it came into the family, although she said it may have been a wedding present for her mother, who was married in 1915.

This has sent me off on an internet search trying to narrow down a date for the clock so Daniel can work on the rest of the assignment. So far nothing has emerged from a Google description, and two clock experts from the "All Experts" website have drawn a blank (although one of the experts has sent me some useful links). So the search continues.

I think I deserve an "A" for Daniel's assignment from my levels of effort so far. If any antique clock/music box experts happen to visit this site, your clock dating advice would be appreciated. Failing that, I'd be interested to hear how much time you devote to doing your children's homework! Or "helping"!


AbiSomeone said…
LOL, Janet!

Just last week I got sucked into a project with my oldest son ... a timeline with pictures from five past events (including his birth), five current events (high school era), and five future events (including his death). We were up until 2:45 am finding and printing pictures and talking about stuff. It was precious and I was exhausted the next day, but I treasure those kinds of times.

Last year we did a Family Culture project like this and did it on my grandfather's anvil. Alexander did a great job putting it together and gleaning information from my father's memoirs and talking to me about my uncle (the only son who was also a blacksmith) and how I ended up getting possession of this heirloom.

...I just try to get them to make sure we have lots of time!!!

;^) Sorry, I can't help with the clock. Too bad the Antiques Road Show doesn't come to your neck of the woods, eh?
Janet Woodlock said…
2.45 am? Oh my... there does seem a point where a parental note to the school seems appropriate! Mind you, when you find out about the assignment the night before it's due it would be a pretty lame one:

"Please excuse my son for his lateness and grant him an extension.... although he has had all term to complete this assignment, and although he's old enough to know better, the Chief Nagger and Assistant of All Things Homework was only informed of this assignment last night and she was too tired to stay up all night completing it."

It does sound like a lovely bonding experience with your son ... if only it had occured at civilized hours!

I'm assuming you took a picture of the anvil, not the anvil itself to school last year!

Nice to hear from you Peggy!
AbiSomeone said…
Hehehe, Janet...he gets no notes for anything -- it's all on him! I only did it because it was fun ... and because I am naturally a night owl.

He had to do a table-top 3-fold presentation. The left fold had information about his Great Grandfather, the original owner of the anvil. The right fold had information about his Great Uncle, the second owner of the anvil, and the middle section was about the anvil and me and how it came to us and about him and his plans to apprentice to the blacksmith at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, which they allow at 16 years old.

Each of the boys has talked about going through the apprenticeship ... and I am encouraging it!

He then had to sit at the table with his presentation and answer questions ... along with 300 other 8th grade students ... in the gymnasium. It is an amazing project the school does.
Janet Woodlock said…
It does sound brilliant... what a wonderful way to integrate family history with a wider context, and to help students to articulate this. Very cool.

Another shameful confession from me... I did all this googling about world events last week because he'd left a history assignment to the last second... now he's lost it and I didn't save this. Grr....

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