Finishing Projects

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There’s a new weekly homeschool/education meme hosted by Fivejs. She wants to know how you fill up your kids’ thirst for knowledge.

In our house, we love doing hands-on projects. OK, let me rephrase that. The kids love doing hands-on projects. I am not so fond of the mess. But, I have found that nothing gets my kids more excited about what they’re learning in their studies than making something tangible.

One of the reasons that I chose Tapestry of Grace as our main curriculum is because it includes so many great ideas for hands-on projects. Some of the projects that we completed this year are:

But here’s my problem. For all the great projects that we completed, we started  2 others that we didn’t finish. I don’t know how to fix this problem. Actually, I’m not even sure if it is a problem.

An unpainted salt dough map of Europe, next to a volcano that IS actually finished.
On the one hand, I think that it’s very important that the children learn to finish what they start. We need to have deadlines and work to bring our projects to completion. BUT, on the other hand, sometimes a project that is started with enthusiasm, for one reason or the other isn’t as great as we thought it would be. Or maybe it would be a good project, but we’ve found other interesting things to study. How should I decide which projects to complete?

An unfinished Roman villa adding to the general clutter of the basement.

Part of the reason this bothers me so much is that I see this pattern in my own personal life, as well as in my mother’s. I have been working hard at finishing what I start, and I do think that I’ve improved over the years. Unfortunately, even though the unfinished projects are hidden away, they aren’t completely gone. They make me feel guilty whenever I stumble across them.

What’s the solution? Don’t start so many projects? Maybe. I think one thing I definitely need to do is evaluate the purpose of each project before we start.

  • What is my ultimate goal in doing this project?
  • Can the project be done in a simpler way so that we will be more likely to complete it?
  • Do we have time to complete this project?

Hopefully, by thinking about projects beforehand, you and I won’t have to look at a basement full of unfinished projects next summer.

I’m also going to throw away unfinished projects that make me feel guilty!

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5 thoughts on “Finishing Projects”

  1. I really appreciate this post!

    Right now, we have a model of a castle NOT finished upstairs in our school area!

    For me, I think I sometimes jump into a project b/c I get a last minute idea and I'm not fully prepared.

    Maybe this summer we'll get it finished!

  2. Joy @ Five J's

    I am not a kinesthetic learning, which is probably why I stay away from curricula with lots of projects. I've found I'm much like you in that I often start projects and don't finish them. I'm one of those people who has to jump in with both feet in a project and finish it all at once or it never gets done.

    I love the questions you came up with to evaluate projects. Very well-said.

  3. Thanks for telling me about this new meme. Our problem is getting the kids to let me throw away the project once it is complete and has sat around awhile. I think if the have a clear understanding of the concept it is fine to drop a project that is not complete. If not, going back to it can be a great review.



  4. I think my kids complete a project for about every 10 they've started. However, I there is learning value in every project, whether or not completed. This is coming from the beginning knitter that has only one sock of a pair completed, though I started a year and a half ago! Perhaps I can't wear the socks, but I learned quite a bit making the one.

  5. My dh just threw out 4…that's right…FOUR unfinished models of castles that had been sitting in our garage for over a year. I pleaded with him, as did the kids, but to be honest, over the past 2 weeks I really haven't missed them, and I don't think I will. My house tends to be a conglomeration of unfinished projects too…and some of them are mine. It makes me feel better that others have the same things going on..and they're frustrated with it too. đŸ™‚ Coming to your blog always motivates me to purge a little. Thanks. đŸ™‚

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