Project Volcano

WonderBoy's 4th Grade Science Project was due this week.

It's a good thing that I review WonderBoy's assignment book and search his backpack with an iron fist fine tooth comb because left to his own devices, he'd have told me the night before the project was due that it had to be done...or worse, he'd have forgotten about it altogether.

Since I saw the assignment I was up nights with flashbacks of my own 4th grade (mis)adventures and I kept replaying the deadline in my head over and over again. The stress of the deadling trumped all of the deadlines I had at work and I could think of nothing else. It just had to end. So, the weekend before last I insisted that WonderBoy start and finish the project. He darned near had a nervous breakdown as to how I could require such a thing so far from the actual deadline.

Somehow, I as usual won the argument. We went over all the instructions line by line and lemme tell ya' there were plenty of ways you could lose points if those directions weren't followed precisely! WonderBoy got to choose what he wanted to create involving the module they just completed about the mighty volcano. He could make a poster or a diorama (a.k.a. a shadowbox for those of us who remember when there wasn't a fancy name for it) but he had to use color, create interest, incorporate all the main parts of the volcano, label those parts, answer one of 8 topic questions and base the project theme on that question AND put his name in the lower right hand corner (an old teacher's trick old as the hills of my own youth in which teachers always subtract points if the students don't following directions)

We only had a tiny shoebox that Big Foot's Sweetie Pie's new sandals came in. The shoebox really was tiny, though, by WonderBoy's standards and he was not impressed with the magnitude and potential impact that my boring "mom idea" of using that tiny shoebox might have. He woefully stared at the large, rectangular hunk of green florists' oasis, the brown tempera paint, the 3 pack glitter glue and the lonely piece of scrapbook paper that we had picked up at the dollar store and hung his head. Oh, the poor fella looked so downtrodden, he of little faith!

He kept trying to make his case to me that the project wasn't due for another week and that is was painfully unfair that he was spending his Sunday working on it so far in advance. He painted a pathetic picture of himself stuck inside with his mother as the other kids who were out running and jumping somewhere around town free from such worries as working on their project so far from the due date. I told him that I was LOSING SLEEP over this project and it just had to be completed or I was certainly going to lose what was left of my mind.
Luckily, WonderBoy took me seriously. It may have been that steely look in my eyes and that clump of my hair in my hands from pulling it out...but I can't be certain.

We carved up the oasis, lined the box and covered the outside with black construction paper. WonderBoy wasn't happy. He sighed heavily (just enough to annoy me) as he grabbed his glue stick and said it would never work and anyway the box was way too small. Somewhere between his painting the oasis "volcano" brown on a paper plate, chipping away at the oasis "rocks" left behind from the carving and painting them brown too to serve as bits of volcanic rock and making the ash cloud from some cotton...WonderBoy began getting very excited. It was fun to see the look on his face when he actually saw that his work was taking shape and yielding a very fun project that he could be proud of.

The pinnacle moment for him was when he got to use the 3 colors of glitter glue for his own interpretation of hot lava and fire and poked the toothpick flags into his homemade rocks.
Heck, we were both having so much fun that neither of us even noticed that Sweetie Pie had opened the top of the Elm*r's Glue and dumped it on her head (no, I am not kidding....I wish I were) and then proceeded to wipe her little white glue hands on the only upholstered item in the room. (And, no, I don't have pictures of that since it's difficult to scream hysterically, grab the child, grab a cloth, protect the project from tumbling off the table and hold a camera steady all the while making sure the metering is right and the perfect composition has been achieved)

By the time the afternoon was over, WonderBoy couldn't contain himself. He was so proud of his work and said those 6 little words that every mother longs to hear; "You know, Mom...you were right."
A veritable symphony for my ears!



Turns out WonderBoy went to school the next day and chatted it up so much to his Science teacher that she emailed me midday to tell me about his exuberance and to have him bring it in early, 'magine that!
And I've been sleeping like a baby ever since!


  1. You are one smart mommy! Oh how I hate those last minute projects that leave me doing all the work just to get it finished in time.

    The project turned out great! Hopefully one day the glue incident will be a funny memory! :)


  2. ROTFLMBO!!!! Oh how I remember these days with many of the kids....projects, projects, PROJECTS! There were times I felt I was living at the craft store!

    Looks like a job well done if I do say so myself! ;) Way to win the battle mom! ;)

  3. I can so relate and I had a flashback to when my oldest son was in 5th-6th grade which seems to be the 'peak' of the diorama creations...what IS the deal with that?

    Good job momma, teaching him to be organized and get his project done early. Still wish you could have got a pic of your little angel covered in glue!

  4. Oh, my. It's nice to know that my "together" cousin has these same type of experiences as her "not so together" cousin. I laughed and laughed. Tell Wonder Boy, the little darling, that I am VERY impressed with his work!


  5. Oh, my. It's nice to know that my "together" cousin has these same type of experiences as her "not so together" cousin. I laughed and laughed. Tell Wonder Boy, the little darling, that I am VERY impressed with his work!