Getting Insomnia Under Control


I spent almost my entire afternoon helping my 16 year old son with his US History project that is due on Friday. This project is worth 1/4 of his overall grade – so I’ve been riding him for weeks on making good progress on it. The basic idea is a chronicle of the years of his lifetime – so 1989 – 2005. During those years, he has to pick 10 historical events that happened in his lifetime, write a factual summary of those events, and then include an opinion summary based on what his opinions are about those events. He chose:

  • 1986 Challenger Explosion
  • 1989 Election of George Bush (Sr.)
  • 1990 Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait
  • 1991 The US and Soviet Union sign the START I treaty
  • 1996 Olympic bombing
  • 1998 Clinton denies having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky
  • 2000 George W. Bush is elected – and the whole 2000 election debacle
  • 2001 September 11, 2001 – The terrorist attacks
  • 2003 Columbia Explosion upon entry to the Earth’s atmosphere
  • 2004 Return of sovereignty to Iraq (Whatever that means – my son notes in his essay)

He also needed to pick 10 personal events in his lifetime and write a summary about those events and how he feels about them.

Then, he also needed to interview an adult. He was provided with 10 interview questions and had to come up with 5 more questions on his own. He interviewed Chris on what life was like when he was his age, what he feels is wrong with the youth of this generation, what he feels is right….how he feels this generation differs from his own generation .. pros and cons….what he’d like to see happen in this generation of kids and how he sees life will be like 20 years from now, from a technology standpoint. It was an enlightening interview – and if I can get Chris’s go ahead… maybe I’ll post the results of that here someday.

Then he had to write a 2 page introduction to the chronicle project, and a 2 page conclusion.

All of this has to be packaged up in scrapbook form. He had to design a creative cover and each summary has it’s own page, that has visual representations of the events, as well as the summaries. Pictures mostly, but other items need to be included, as well – to provide a diverse visual representation of each event (like concert ticket stubs, old ski pass tickets, drawings, etc).

Whew! Try keeping a 16 year old kid with ADD focused on that project!

We’re having fun with it, though! I took him to the local hobby store and picked up some neat scrap booking supplies to help make his project more creative and individual to him. Those scrap booking supplies are really neat, a lot of them – but I have to say, most of those supplies are geared toward girls. It was somewhat hard to find scrapbooky things with a grunge, skater feel to them. But, we prevailed and brought home the supplies to put this monster together.

So far, he has all of his historic summaries written and ready to go. He has the draft of his personal summaries written – – but I gave them back to him with some edits that need to be made on spelling and the length of them.

I’ll tell ya, it was really hard NOT to interject myself into this project, constantly reminding myself that this is HIS project where HIS opinions are asked for…. not mine.

So, when he wrote his opinion on the Iraq War and stated his opinion that GW took us to war for oil … or that he took us to war in vengeance for Saddam’s attempt at his father’s life – – it was really hard for me to hold back. It did spark quite a few interesting and lengthy discussions on the topics at hand, but ultimately, I had to let go and just let Ben be Ben . . warts and all.

The title of his chronicle project says it all. “US History Chronicle Project: 1989-2005. Just me being me”

He had to say, “Mom . . . back off” any number of times during the past several weeks.

Except for the scrapbook part of it. Ben and I have a date on Wednesday night to assemble this whole thing – – and he’s asked for some help and creative input. I just need to remind myself to make him do it . . and not to do it for him, as I am want to do. It’s a fun project . . and it’s been great fun taking a walk down memory lane with my son. That’s been the best part of it all!

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13 thoughts on “Getting Insomnia Under Control”

  1. I just need to remind myself to make him do it . .

    Glad to know that I’m not the only one who has to face that challenge. 😉 As difficult as it is, the best part is when they bring home the grade for the projects. Greg has had two this year that I had to “just back off!” from and ended up getting 105% on both of them. Hope you take pictures of the scrapbook when it’s all finished!

  2. Insomnia – a subject I could talk about that … all night …

    I for one would be interested to read the interview. A hell of a lot has happened in the past twenty years or so (although plenty of other stuff has remained the same).

    BTW, why the Clinton thing in italics …?

  3. Nothing special on the italics, that’s just a direct quote from his chronicle.. it’s how he chose to title that event.

    I’ll talk to Chris on the interview thing. It’s pretty interesting. One of the questions Ben chose to add to his interview was “How does the UK view the US in terms of politics and foreign relations now? How has that changed since you were my age?”

  4. These kinds of projects are good for kids to see how much has actually happened in their own lifetime, and hopefully will inspire them to find out more about history (not unlike the inspiration for Billy Joel’s We didn’t start the fire)

    Regardless of the political spin put on stories today, it will be interesting for him to look back in 10, 20 years at this work to find out how (if at all) his opinions have changed over time. Heh, at one time, I even thought President Reagan was going to push us to war with the Soviets.

    Insomnia: in my not-so-humble opinion, sleep is a necessary evil, one that I would give up in a moment, but can’t.

  5. Very cool idea for a project. He picked Chris? Wouldn’t he want to interview somebody with some well developed opinions on things like that???? ;):d

  6. Lisa, you sound like a really awesome parent! What a great project and with the two of you working on it together you are both getting something so valuable from it. The really cool thing about this is that your son will treasure not just the book, but he will have fond memories of you.

  7. Thank you, Lori 🙂 My hope is that he has fond memories of it. . rather than remembering those few weeks in his sophmore year of high school when his mother just would not let up on that stupid history project!

    I know, myself, I have miserable memories of one weekend of my sophmore year . . . the WHOLE weekend…me, the kitchen table, my mother, my older sister and my Algebra book.

    Oy! b-(

  8. Pingback: Just A Girl » Blog Archive » Just In Time - Thursday 13

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