Planning a Big School Project

Get involved with your child on large assignments and help her to get the most out of them. Having a vision of the project from beginning to end is crucial to success.

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Whether it's the first big assignment or the twenty-first, there are some crucial steps your child needs to go through to complete it with success. Get involved with your child on large assignments and help him to get the most out of them. Having a vision of the project from beginning to end is crucial to success. A great way to start is to envision the final result. Some students don't do this automatically and it's unfair to expect them to. Help them come up with the idea. Then work backward, mentally going through each of the steps that produced the result. Write it down, use a calendar or assignment book and be sure to space out all the necessary steps into manageable blocks of time. Here are some things to consider when helping your child plan a big project for school.

The topic

Is it assigned? If so, your job is done. But if not, the task of choosing can present a real challenge. Help your child decide by following her interests. Ask her what she knows about the material she's studied. A topic she remembers more clearly than others is one she found interesting. Choosing a topic of interest will pay off by preventing boredom and keep the student's interest throughout the course of the assignment.

Research

Finding the right information can be challenging. Sifting through large amounts of information can be a chore. Keeping a clear idea of the topic is the tool for cutting through it all and finding out exactly the facts that are needed.

Materials

Is it more than just a term paper? Maybe she needs to build a model or create posters. Gathering materials in advance will help speed the process along.

The Outline

This is the overview written down and refined. It's a crucial stage in the project. Ideas for visual aids and models may arise during this phase. It's also a great time to regulate the scope of the project and determine if your child's expectations are too big, or if they might do with some upsizing.

Rough drafts and sketches

It's all about revision. This phase is a great exercise in not placing too much weight on the first pass. Few things are more frustrating than putting in a lot of time and energy on something that won't work in the final result. And it's rare to hit it on the first try. Remember to keep a positive attitude and to take breaks when you become frustrated. This is why time management is essential. Leaving everything until the last minute is a recipe for disaster.

With each assignment your child will get a better idea of how to handle projects. But he should not be expected to know without being taught and you should expect to have to repeat yourself. You are just as responsible for your child's educational success as your child's teacher, or your child herself. Be involved. Your participation will give your child a confidence that can't be replaced or found anywhere else.

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