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"!