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!