Tag Archives: child

Ways Gardening Teaches Children








Here is a quick, informal list of skills and ideas that gardening teaches. I am sure I missed a few skills. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments section. Happy gardening!

Following through

Following directions

How to be focused and calm

Learning about plant life cycles

Being patient

Learning about the food chain

Learn about genetically modified seeds, heirloom seeds, conventional growing practices, and organic growing practices

Pride in a job well done


Types of insects and annelids

Types of soil

Types of natural repellants


Different plants need different conditions in order to grow

Where food comes from

How pollinators help up and how we can help them

Appreciation for nature

Appreciation for the work that goes into food production


Geographical information relevant to plant needs

Seasons and environmental factors


Mainstream Versus Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Practices

Mainstream parenting and developmentally appropriate parenting tend to be at odds with each other. Parents often take advice from friends, family, and medical professionals. Sadly, not all of these sources give developmentally sound information. It seems the more technologically advanced we become, the less in tune with ourselves and our children we become. Why is this?

Peace, Love, and Developmentally Appropriate Parenting

Peace, Love, and Developmentally Appropriate Parenting

But This Study Says…
Let me tell you a secret that most companies do not want you to know. Statistics can be, and often are, skewed toward a particular bias or result. Many statisticians will tell you that their jobs can be morally difficult because companies may hire them to find a particular result rather than find an accurate result. Does a toothpaste company need a result of 4 out of 5 dentists preferring the product? No problem! Choose a testing sample that is most likely to lend toward the result wanted, then ask as many dentist as it takes to get to a 4/5 agreement on the matter. The sample may be ten dentists or it may be 2,000 dentists. Some sampling surveys may even be thrown out as if they were never received. This is the both beauty and beast of statistics, studies, and marketing.
There are great people who do studies which still have bias without a company pre-determining the result. The truth is that we all have bias and we may miss variables or bias if completing a study because our beliefs are so ingrained in our thought processes. Do you recall science class and the scientific method? It is important to have only one variable being tested at a time. This can be a challenge in the real world, outside of the laboratory. Even above the board studies must be evaluated for bias and multiple variables. The best, most thoughtful scientist can still be biased. After all, they are all human and humans are not perfect.


My Doctor, Teacher, Parent, Friend Would Never Steer Me Wrong.
First let me state that most people mean well when they give advice. However, some people profit off of poor advice. Did you know that crib manufacturers are part of JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) which has donated money to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) in the past? Did you know that the AAP used studies that did not specify which type of co-sleeping was used when children became injured, then told parents to never co-sleep? The AAP also did not look into other factors like recent vaccines, which sometimes cause brain swelling, or formula feeding which can cause deeper sleep rhythms. The AAP did not define safe versus unsafe co-sleeping. Then again, the AAP is a trade organization meant to benefit the physicians who are part of the group. It is not a child safety group, though many believe it is. A well-meaning doctor may not have read through all the research. He or she may repeat what the AAP says which, unfortunately, is highly influenced by biased studies which have many variables and also by donations from lobbyists such as those from JPMA.
Keep in mind that many people have higher degrees or practical experience. These people can be correct. They can also be incorrect. It does not take a higher degree to know that biology and instinct should guide our parenting practices. If someone has experience and urges peaceful, instinctual parenting then that is fabulous. However, do not discredit someone because he or she has no higher degree or a lack of experience with children en masse. Anyone regardless of education level can be correct or incorrect about developmentally appropriate practices with regard to parenting. The key is to look at frame of reference, find out who is sponsoring the information and if they have money at stake in the situation, then listen to your instincts.


I Heard That You Create Your Own Monster.
Very good point! You can create a monster by ignoring a child’s physical or emotional needs. It is not always easy or mainstream, but meeting your child’s needs will help to cultivate a strong, calm, wise person. This is not the same as being permissive. Being permissive is not the answer. It is okay to ask a child to wait a moment while you go to the bathroom or because another child has a need to which you are tending. That being said, ignoring needs, punishing because a child has a need, shaming, and other mainstream practices can damage a child’s bonds with the caregiver. We do not want our children to grow up and have difficulty with relationships because we routinely ignored their needs or punished because of the needs.


But I Need A Break!
Amen! Don’t we all need breaks from time to time? Surround yourself with a village of support. Take small breaks when you can as well. Make sure you take time with friends, to work on hobbies, etc. You can excel if you have a village of support. You can read more about creating a village of support here.


What Will People Say If I Go Against Mainstream Parenting?
Well, my first reaction to this question is “who cares?”, but I realize that the topic is more complex than my response. You may have a significant other who helps support the family and you may take that person’s opinion to heart as well. You may have a co-worker who will bother you endlessly if you voice opposition to a practice that is not developmentally appropriate. I do understand. I have been there. Your doctor may look down on you, which is unprofessional by the way, if you do not wean at exactly one year of age or if you safely bed share. The truth is, though, that you can choose a “don’t ask and don’t tell” policy if that helps in some situations. You can also choose to ignore the naysayers.
I highly recommend creating a village of support around yourself either way. This village can include online resources, friends, etc. It can also mean in person helpers who will give you a break if life is stressful or who will listen when you need to chat. The truth is that we are accountable for the future. We are accountable to our children. What we do to and for them will directly influence who they become and how they will affect the world when we are old and gray. We are not accountable to Aunt Jo or Grandma Julie. They are adults and can do for themselves. We are accountable to the little ones who cannot yet protect themselves from harm and who still need us to model safe, helpful, wise choices. The children must be our priority. Raising them in a developmentally appropriate manner must be more important than our egos and what society thinks.


What Is Your Point, Here? Are You Accusing Me Of Something?
We all do our very best given the information, upbringing, and open mindedness from which we currently draw information. No one is perfect, nor should we try to be. I urge each parent to stop and assess their frame of reference before acting. It is time to set aside the idea that independence as early as possible is the goal. We need to stop choosing ego and society’s approval over instinct. We need to educate ourselves to tell the difference between advice mired in myths and developmentally appropriate truths. We must set aside our, often emotional, first response to information that contradicts the way we currently do things. Then, we can use instinct and logic to change as well as strengthen our ways when necessary.


Resources for Further Study

Castelloe, Molly “How Spanking Harms the Brain” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-me-in-we/201202/how-spanking-harms-the-brain

Dettwyler, Kathy “A Natural Age of Weaning” http://www.kathydettwyler.org/commentaries/weaning.html
McBride, Karyl “Shaming Children Is Emotionally Abusive” http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201209/shaming-children-is-emotionally-abusive
McKenna, James “Safe Cosleeping Guidelines” http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/
McKenna, James “Sleep Research Lab” http://cosleeping.nd.edu/articles-and-presentations/
Newman, Jack “Breastfeed a Toddler – Why on Earth? http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-BT
Packwood, Melissa “Peaceful Does Not Mean Permissive” http://educational-strategies.com/peaceful-mean-permissive/
Sears, Bill “Dr. Sears Addresses Recent Co-Sleeping Concerns” http://www.askdrsears.com/news/latest-news/dr-sears-addresses-recent-co-sleeping-concerns
Solter, Aletha “Twenty Alternatives to Punishment” http://www.awareparenting.com/twenty.htm

14 Reasons to Teach Using Recipes

baking 2A

Students love to participate in hands on experiences. I highly recommend adding cooking, baking, and no bake recipes to your lesson plans whether you homeschool or teach in a brick and mortar school. Below is a list of skills students learn from cooking and baking activities.

baking 3A

  1. Abbreviations (tbsp. = tablespoon)
  2. Cause and effect (What happens if we do not follow the recipe versus if we do follow it? How do the ingredients change each other?)
  3. Cooperation (Take turns putting in the ingredients.)
  4. Division (Make a half loaf of bread. You need 4 eggs for one loaf.)
  5. Following steps in a process (Follow the time and oven setting in the recipe so the food does not burn.)
  6. Forms of writing (Recipes and lists of written directions are one type of writing children will need to use in life.)
  7. Fractions (Use 1/4 cup of butter.)
  8. Healthy eating habits (Discuss food variety and healthy versus unhealthy.)
  9. Multiplication (Make two batches of cookies at once. Each batch needs 2 cups of flour.)
  10. Problem solving (The cookie dough seems dry and crumbles. How can we change that?)
  11. Reading (Tell me what happens next in our recipe.)
  12. Responsibility (Cleaning up the mess and setting a timer help to build this skill.)
  13. Speech and language skills (Discuss each step in detail. Leave long pauses so children have the opportunity to bring up their own topics as well.)
  14. States of matter (Is it a solid, liquid, or gas? How does it change when mixed with other ingredients?)

baking A