In the midst of this fall's craziness, your teachers handed us the homework bag with a smile. "Oh please no. Is it possible to give us a homework bag another week? We're traveling this week...& things are just crazy." To your disappointment, they were amazing & agreed to give us the homework bag another time (It was quite a wake up call for me that we're going to have to drastically adjust how many things I try to pack in our schedules once you start getting homework on a regular basis).
When your teachers gave us the homework bag again in the middle of yet another crazy, they smiled. "You have to take it now. You are the last one to create a family tree." Whoops. Just like that I became the class slacker.
This is our third time making a family tree. In past years, I may have forgotten that our family tree was your homework. The first year you were 18 months old. I think you sat with me while I made your family tree until I got frustrated that you were touching everything, & I finished the project solo.
The last family tree "we" made also came during a hectic time. "We" may have started working on it after you went to bed (I know, I'm awful). This time, the last time we made a family tree for this school, I wanted it to be a project we worked on together.
Luckily your teachers gave us the weekend to finish your assignment, because I had big ideas for this one. Your teachers may have included a tree that we could use for the project, but, like I said, I had ideas. As you & I went to the store to buy more sturdy poster board, you sighed. "Mom, can't my family tree just be like all my other friends' family trees?" What would be the fun in that?
Here's what we used:
- 1 piece of white posted board
- 4 leaves in different shapes & sizes
- green, red, orange, yellow, & brown acrylic paint
- paint brushes
- two little hands
- letters found in magazines
- craft glue
- printed photos
- a computer & printer to make captions
First we made our own tree. We found four differently shaped & sized leaves in our yard. We painted one side of each leaf a different color & used the leaves as stamps. It gave our tree a really textured look, & the colors made perfect fall foliage. You still wished we could use the tree that was provided, but you had a blast helping me stamp our leafy tree.
We waited for the poster board to dry overnight. The next morning I painted your cute little hands brown, & stamped them into the bottom of our painted leaves. They became the branches of our family tree & the starting point of our tree stump. I painted the tree stump the rest of the way down & we waited for it all to dry. Once it dried, I cut out our whole tree.
Not only did I not use the tree that was kindly provided for us, but I also don't follow directions well. We were supposed to make a family tree of family members who live in our home. I couldn't not include your grandparents & aunts & uncles. They may not live with us (although some do during some parts of the year), but they're such a big part of us. We had to include the whole gang (You pointed out that your best friend S is as close to a sister as you're going to get & should be included in the tree. I didn't have any printed pictures on hand, but I promised to add her as soon as I did). We're a small but all inclusive family.
I printed out bunches of family photos & let you pick which ones you like best for your tree. Then while I cut the photos & started to arrange them on the tree, you & your little best friend scoured magazines for the perfect letters to use in our family tree title. I gave you a list of the letters we needed, & you checked them off as we went along.
I arranged the letters into a title & created captions for all the photos. Em, what do you think?! "Well, I still think you should have used the tree they gave us." Sigh. You're probably right. Clearly I could use a lesson or two about following your homework directions, but I love our tree. This tree is a little more than a homework assignment. It's a project we truly worked on together that I hope we can display in our home.
I promise to work on following directions if you promise to keep filling up our tree with love & joy.
I love you so,