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Monday, March 16, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Spring is in the air and as the daffodils begin to bloom and the birds begin to sing their sweet melodies,  4th grade students across our Golden State are beginning their California Mission projects. Thankfully, my daughter's teacher gives the kids a choice to build a model or replica of an aspect of California history--it doesn't have to be a Mission (whew!).  

I've been through this rite of passage before and as I did two years ago, I hoped that my daughter would want to do ANYTHING but a California mission.  I've seen the missions that  "kids" built in years past and it is hard to believe that the kids did the majority of the work on their own--I'm talking mucho parent involvement.   My "assisting" in my son's Adam Smith biography pales in comparison to these mission projects where I'm sure an architect was consulted and power tools were used.

Imagine my surprise, when my darling daughter came home announcing that she would like to do a mission with her good friend (initially they were going to do a rancho but then they changed their minds--I think we dodged a bullet there too).  I quickly tried to play up the creative aspects of building a gold rush scene.  She didn't seem to want to budge.  I thought, o.k. she must have her heart set on a particular mission.  I can go along with this.   But when I asked her which mission she'd like to build, she had no idea.  I immediately thought fantastic, she can  still be steered in a new direction!  

I don't want to seem unwilling to let my daughter make her own choices, but I know first-hand how time consuming and difficult these projects can be.  I want her to do this project on her own (or with minimal involvement from me-- I have learned my lesson) and two 9 year olds, attempting to replicate the San Diego Mission (or whichever one they would have picked) in all it's glory would be difficult to pull off.   So after a quick phone call to my friend (who's daughter is my daughter's project partner) we agreed, that we would gently nudge the girls towards the excitement and thrills of the gold rush or to the mid-1800's mode of travel--a covered wagon.   We knew that these two options would be easier for the girls to build on their own and that all we would need to do is provide the materials and a little verbal guidance.

Mission accomplished, the girls decided to build a covered wagon scene.  They have until May to complete their project.  I'm sure they will meet several times to create their masterpiece, (which I'm sure will turn into more of a play date).  It may not be to scale and it may not actually roll, but at least it will be a project they will proudly call their own.

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