Your young child comes home with a Big Assignment: Create a shadow box/tri-fold display board/some sundry Big Project.
You follow the teacher’s directives and let your grade schooler do his or her best and submit the panda project that, indeed, looks like a little kid made it. Yet when you show up at the school Open House to take a gander at all the other students’ work, you notice that half of the projects weren’t made by 8-year-olds but were instead obviously crafted by thirty- and fortysomething parents. Hardly a fair competition.
The Huffington Post’s Lisa Belkin  took on the subject of parents trying (and sometimes failing) to restrain themselves from taking over their children’s school projects, admitting that perhaps she’s over-helped her kids on occasion after seeing other students, whose parents clearly did their projects, get rewarded with stellar grades while the children who did theirs on their own got lesser grades.
As she suggested that perhaps some of these projects are a waste of time, Belkin said: “Yes, I have some regrets about joining rather than rejecting the parenting arms race, about the message that sent my children, about taking the easy way out. But mostly what I regret is that it is such a part of the educational landscape that an otherwise highly principled parent like me really didn’t think twice.”
How much help do you give to your young children with school projects? Do you agree with Belkin that these big projects might be a waste of time?