As I sit here typing the blog I was supposed to post this morning (it's been that kind of a week), I can hear my daughter up in her room practicing her history project. Snippets of a presentation that includes Queen, David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust and Aerosmith filter down from her room into the living room, and I must admit that I'll be a little bit sad to see the research portion of this project end.
Tomorrow, my daughter and her friends will give the last of three presentations on music in the second half of the twentieth century. This "Decades Project" required the kids to research one aspect of history, reporting on trends and changes (among other things) from the 1950s through the 1990s. My daughter was thrilled to get music as her topic, and it has been such fun watching her immerse herself in the music that was part of my history. For once, I didn't feel the need to groan (inwardly, of course - I wouldn't want to be a bad role model) when I heard the word "presentation" or its cousin, "project." We were all over this one.
So much so that a conversation over dinner about one of the decades resulted in my husband hauling a milk crate full of albums out of the basement, which led to an excursion to Target to find something to play them on. For the duration of this project, the ratio of retro music to current music has been about 50:50, and not just because of the research. While some of the "classics" have inspired mocking and raucous laughter (rightfully so, in some cases), other songs have made it onto my daughter's playlist alongside current favorites that her children may be researching (or mocking) some day.
I know that teachers try to make projects relevant and meaningful. Still, the facts and details of many well-researched presentations dissipate moments after the last word is uttered. But this project, a blend of two things that really are relevant and meaningful to my daughter - music and history - is likely to echo beyond the sighs of relief that conclude her final presentation tomorrow morning. These songs and their influence on the music she listens to have found a place of honor not only on her iPod, but inside her as well, and I'm grateful that she was given an assignment that will have such a lasting influence.
Even if it means she'll beat me in my own categories on Song Pop.