So this is the third time Rex has done a science fair project for this school district. Technically, entry into the actual science fair is optional, but all the students are required to do a project (in both third and fourth grade Rex has tried to deceive us, claiming that he didn’t have to do anything)
Let’s review some of Rex’s past efforts …
3rd grade: Worked with Karena on some sort of sundial, which her father ran over. I then helped him put together a crappy solar system replacement at the last minute, printing Excel spreadsheets and drawing circular circles for him during the super bowl.
4th grade: Karena helped him construct a hovercraft out of a CD and a balloon. I printed charts for him and even proofread a little, but refused to help him cut or glue so he just glued the raggedly cut-out charts haphazardly onto the trifold* poster board like he was drunk.
* You have to have a trifold poster board to actually enter the fair; if you’re not doing the fair, regular poster board is fine.
This led to the following conversation:
Me: Why are you all sad?
Rex: I didn’t win the science fair.
Me: Of course you didn’t win, your project looked like crap.
Karena: DON’T SAY THAT
Me: What? You know it’s true (long winded diatribe about the cult of self-esteem and declining standards in American education)
Karena: HONEY, WHAT YOUR FATHER IS TRYING TO SAY IS…
Rex: Can I have money for the book fair?
Recently on a Sunday night, Rex remembered that this year’s science project was due Tuesday. They’d had almost a month to work on it. He was moderately concerned about this and by moderately concerned, I mean he didn’t seem to really give a shit.
After he went to bed…
Karena: I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. IT JUST SAT CRUMPLED UP AT THE BOTTOM OF HIS BOOKBAG FOR THREE WEEKS. ALL THIS WASTED TIME… AND THERE’S BOY SCOUTS TOMORROW NIGHT – I’LL HAVE TO CANCEL THE MEETING…WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO
Me: You’re saying it wrong… You mean what is he going to do. You’re going to boy scouts.
No, it was time for my son to man up and learn a valuable lesson about procrastination and consequences.
I’m not a monster though – I told him I’d pick up some poster board at the store for him.
Rex: oh, make sure it’s trifold or i won’t be able to win
(Fortunately for him he was running towards the bus stop and out of arm’s reach when he said this)
He came home the following afternoon and produced this masterpiece, in time to eat dinner and go to Boy Scouts
Karena: WHAT’S UP WITH THE BLANK SPOT IN THE MIDDLE
Rex: It says pictures should go in the center but I don’t have any pictures
Our family and friends placed bets on what grade he would get:
FIL: he’ll probably get a zero; you should have helped him
Karena’s BFF: 40.
Me: The standards at that school are so low. MY fifth grade teacher wouldn’t have even let him turn that in (nostalgic diatribe omitted)
Every day for a week, eagerly anticipating this blog post, as soon as he got off the bus, I asked him what grade he got. Today the answer arrived:
Above: Yes, 9 x 10 = 100, yes, she teaches science AND MATH.
This would be a good place for a rant about lazy teachers, or failing public schools, or why America is going down the toilet, but I thought about it and I’m actually very proud of Rex. It turns out he taught us a valuable life lesson: Why waste time on things that you hate, especially when it doesn’t matter? It’s like trying to have the best tax return.
Above: two top-scoring science projects