Finishing Those Unfinished Projects

Today was the last day of our writing camp. It began on Monday and ran for two hours each day. By the end, every child had a completed story in a folder, with the folders acting as the cover of their books. They had designed and colored a picture for the front of the folder, as well as created a title page, a dedication page, and an author page. We also included an author photo. They had completed two author’s bookmarks and a painted picture frame which contained a photo of the child holding his or her book.

While most of the children finished everything, a few didn’t complete all of the illustrations for their books. Two of my children who were at the camp ran out of time, and one of them was quite upset. “Don’t worry, ” I told her, “We can finish at home.”

Now comes the tricky part — setting aside time in the very near future to get those books completed all the way, especially during the summer when there are a lot of other things going on. I have a shelf full of my children’s unfinished art pieces, so I know it’s going to be a challenge. If you’re like me and want to help your children finish those unfinished projects, here are some ideas for you (and me!) to try:

  • Get back to the project right away! The longer it goes unfinished, the less likely your child (or you) will want to work on it again.
  • Set aside a particular time — a day, a morning, an afternoon — to work only on the project. Don’t worry about other schoolwork you may have had planned; finishing a project is a lesson in itself.
  • If your student is reluctant to finish it, give him smaller intervals of time to work on it, such as 20 or 30 minutes. Provide him with a timer, so he can see just how much time he has left. Challenge him to get a certain amount completed before the timer goes off.
  • Create a place for your student to work on the project and ONLY that project, such as an extra desk or worktable. That way, if it’s still not completed in one sitting, your child can return to it and easily pick up again where he left off.
  • Provide a reward! When the project’s completed, celebrate by showing it off to family and friends or sharing a special dessert or treat.

Now go get started…and get finished!

Photo by JDurham

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