Curse of the Holiday Project

Holiday Project, The

Finding the holidays tough? Why not ramp it up by opening the book bag? And realising that you have squandered half the week on having fun when you should have been cracking on with the…holiday project.

“Having fun” is perhaps a little too strong. The bedding-down stage of any holiday is always a little tough on all involved – if also lovely to have your babies home. You’ve all just about settled into being around each other all the time – when you spot something in the hall. Hidden under the detritus of the day trips you have manfully taken your family on, there nestles the source of all discontent.

The book bag.

You open it with bated breath. It’s like remembering it’s spelling day when you haven’t even looked at the list, but many times worse. This isn’t ten measly words we’re talking about.

It’s a …project.

“Oh, look, darling, you’ve got a project on c-c-castles!” I trill at my seven-year-old.

Instantly the response comes:

“It’s not fair! It’s my holiday too! That’s LOADS! I don’t even know what a battlement looks like!”

And that’s just from me.

All I get from my son is a nonchalant shrug as he continues playing Cut the Rope.

That is, until I say, “5 minutes more, and then we need to start doing your writing.”

“I HATE writing! Why doesn’t he have to do any homework?”

He means his brother. Who is 5. But who, oh yes, it turns out, ALSO has a project.

I have a pair of projects. A couple of crammers. A hellfire of homeworks.

Why, why do we have to have holiday homework? I’m not saying my sons don’t need the extra stimulation and practice at schoolwork. But I literally have to coax and beg every written word or picture out of them. The holiday rhythm we worked so hard to establish is shattered by my incursions into their chillaxing time to do written work.

Yes, after many Tangfastics and TV ban threats, we get it done eventually. It’s nice to have a sense of achievement of having completed something more special than the standard worksheets and reading books. My eldest even won a star award from his teacher for his last project. Which made me incredibly proud.

But at what cost? Never truly feeling we can relax, until it’s done. Having at least one extra row a day with my dearest offspring over and above the usual mealtime / TV / putting shoes on rows?

Of course, we could do it all the first weekend and get it over with. But everyone needs a break at the end of a term or half-term, and I feel forcing them to start work when they’ve only just shed the school routine is too much for my pair.

Maybe it’s just us that finds it so invasive? Do you have any tips for making holiday projects painless?

A huge thanks to everyone who supports my blog, and to BritMums – I am thrilled to be through to the Final of the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. 


  • Sam says:

    Projects you say? Thank God my five year old only had a couple of Biff & Kippers lurking in his bag – I’m pretty sure I’ll find this invasive too when the time comes. Funny I don’t remember thinking about how my homework affected my mum back in the day. #thingsnoonetellsyouaboutmotherhood
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  • MummyWrites says:

    Ugh! Totally agree and we always do it the night before we go back (although to be fair, that’s normally when I discover there’s a project anyway as someone on facebook shares a ridiculously smug picture of a scale model whatever). I’m not getting them to do anything school related on holiday and thats tuff!
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  • Claire says:

    I’m with you! It’s with a sense of trepidation I open my daughter’s book bag at the end of term. This time it’s building a model of a landmark. As a full time working mum (through necessity rather than choice) I find it really hard to fit it in to my one day off or weekend when I’d rather be making the most of our limited time as a family. I do enjoy doing them together, I just wish I had more time spend. The volume of homework will only increase and it does worry me that I won’t be able to dedicate as much time to support her with it as I’d like/she needs.

    • Wry Mummy says:

      I know, it’s a shame to fill your precious family time with work, even though I see the point of it. I guess it’s good we get used to it cos, as you say, it’s only going to increase. Hopefully our children will get more willing and able to do it??

  • My daughter just cracked on and did hers over Easter! She did loads of them, too many of them. I was pretty much ignoring her, so she did projects. I felt a bit guilty, but the teacher was impressed.
    It is a bit much in the holidays, though.
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  • A holiday project!!! Do they happen? *runs off to find book bags in dread*. Hope you are managing to have some fun ha x
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  • I couldn’t agree more! We had these dreaded ‘ruin the few days they have off school’ projects too until recently, when the head started half-termly projects i.e. get it done over the 6 weeks (well, its more like 4 actually). I agree, its great to have crafty/project type things as alternatives to worksheets but not when it takes away the precious freedom and non-hassling that is precious, nay, essential for kids and their parents. even if you turn it into something fun, they (usually boys I admitt) will sense the pressure to get it done from you. My suggestion is you talk to the head about it, and suggest what my school has moved to. Let me know how you get on! Sx
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  • Mummy Zen says:

    I feel your pain! My 6-yr old had his biggest homework task to date assigned for this half-term – to write his own magic key story a la Biff and Chip! I tried to break it up and do just two sentences a day but of course we forgot a couple of days and now time is getting on….aarrgghhh! I hate it! x

  • Jude says:

    Blimin’ ridiculous! You know how I feel about homework. Total rebel me. Opt out I say! Is that even a thing? Hope the castles weren’t too much of a battle. x
    Jude recently posted…The Calpol Headlock and other illness lows.My Profile

  • Suzanne says:

    With you all the way on this Jess, I think getting holidays homework is ridiculous. The clue is in the title – holiday!!!! What kind of ‘holiday’ involves work? It also ruins any kind of relaxation for us mums. Grrrr!
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