Carving out time for a family project for school

When our kindergarten student came home last week with instructions for this month’s family project, I wasn’t too worried. Then I read the instructions.
We had to take a family walk, have Leo fill out a sheet of what we saw, and then decorate a poster board pumpkin. And we had less than a week to make it all happen.
If I don’t sound overly enthusiastic, it might be because we are in the middle of a move and John and I are feeling stretched a bit thin. But an assignment is an assignment. And Leo would never let his mother say we’re too busy. So Saturday morning, while John was busy working on our new house, the boys and I set out on a walk.
We had to identify items that were eight different colors. Then Leo had to draw a picture of each and write the color name above it. Leo kept trying to figure out how the assignments were linked.
You can take a nature walk without light sabers, but why would you?
“We probably have to take the walk,” Leo said, “to see how other people decorated their pumpkins. Then we can do ours.”
We didn’t see any pumpkins, but we saw leaves and trees and cars and dogs and grass and flowers and squirrels.
It was fun to experience nature through the boys’ eyes, and they enjoyed that it was a hunt. We had red—“Grandpa’s car!”—before we left the yard, but blue took us until we came home and Daniel spotted a security sign across the street. I loved that with all the oranges we saw, this was the one the boys picked.
Over the next few days we managed to find time to draw the pictures and Leo painstakingly wrote the color names.
But I still couldn’t imagine how we’d find time to decorate the pumpkin. Then Tuesday morning I realized the boys weren’t eating their usual five-course breakfast, and they were sitting at an empty table talking to their father.
I dropped the pumpkin and a bucket of crayons on the table and went to get dressed.
By the time I came back, a Darth Piggy (from Angry Birds Star Wars) pumpkin had emerged.
I bought some fabric for a cape and Grandma and I taped it on. Then Leo suggested we make a light saber, and Grandpa gave him red and silver duct tape and a paint stick.
Suddenly I realized we had the project ready a day before it was due. And there had been no tears, no fighting, no competition, and no complaining—well, except from Mama.
This morning as we drove to school, Leo was so, so proud. He kept talking about how he was going to show his project to his class. “And for the next family art project, I want to do Transformers or maybe a Death Star….”
Yeah. So do I. Bring on the next assignment. I just hope we have a few weeks to get settled into our new home first.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.