How do you get 4-Hers to finish their projects?

lizzie2June 30, 2012

I am an advisor for a 4-H club and am having problems getting my sewing members to finish their projects before the judging date. They give the excuses that they cannot come due many reasons. Their parents are getting upset and so am I. I do not like all the stress of having 2 or 3 kids completing their projects the day of judging. I do have enough machines for them to use but each one has one they prefer to use. The problem is enough bobbins. I am almost ready to get out the treadle machine and tell them to use it as they abuse the machines the less time they have. No one has damaged a machine but it is upsetting to say the least. Any ideas will be appreciated.

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I think you have to let them learn their own lessons. Their projects, their failures. I would set my own deadline two or three days before judging. If they cannot make your deadline for what you deem a legitimate reason, you can give one makeup date, but not on the day of judging.

Probably scholarships and awards are on the line. Perhaps it is more important to you and the kids' parents than it is to the kids that they compete. You have to let that be as it may.

I am a procrastinator who works best under deadlines, so in a way I
understand the kids . I don't like punishment and recrimination for jobs not done by others. You have done all you could to get them there. It is their loss. I know you will feel guilty if they don't make it, but you shouldn't. They know the rules. Make deadlines and stick to them.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 10:11AM
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They should have their own bobbins for those machines. Next time, assign a machine, hand out a bobbin for that machine so they can fill it with thread for their project and let them hassle it out with each other. Get out of the referee role.

As for their not finishing ... if they are not done, they are not done. Stop nagging, stop stressing and let them fail.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 11:11AM
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I have been doing 4-H sewing for a long time. 2011 there were 6 boys and girls mostly 8th graders and it was challenging. It depends if kids are experienced or beginners and plan the project toward the simple side until you know the member's skill and ability. This year I had fewer kids, but kids with "attitude". I used a kitchen timer a lot to get them to complete small chunks of work in a limited time. I need to remember that 4-h is "Learning by Doing" so perfection is not the goal.
I have 3 machines that are older, but not expensive. One year there was a girl who intentionally threaded the machine wrong and created a big mess. I gave her the choice of going home or doing the tedious repair job. She fixed the machine, cleaned and oiled it! She never did finish anything, but loved to work on the machines and keep everything organized.
I hope that your kids got finished. If not, they learned a lesson. I have a lot of new kids starting this year and the older ones all want to sew quilts. Most of my 4-H kids have challenges at home, but my mission is to promote competence and provide skills that will carry them in life.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:33AM
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