Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lesson Learned- Dirt and Boogers

I just have to say that I love reading and sharing the guest posts for my "Lesson Learned" series. We all have moments that we look back on and know we could have done things differently. Often we feel ashamed of those moments and don't tell anyone about them because we think we have failed. My goal in hosting this series is that we will see that even though we all show the perfect side of parenting, homeschooling, and crafting on our blogs, there is a whole mess of imperfect that DOESN'T mean we have failed, but instead means we have learned a lesson.

This week, Amanda from Dirt and Boogers shares about a lesson learned. Her son, J, is so stinking cute, and Amanda does all kinds of amazing sensory activities with him. One of my favorite things about discovering Amanda's blog, aside from the perfect title, is that she lets J learn through getting messy and has tons of pictures to prove it. Until I started researching homeschooling over the summer, I NEVER would have done most of the things I do with Boogie. But Dirt and Boogers is one of the blogs that opened my eyes to the joys of letting your child get messy, make noise and use household items in a safe and experimental way. Please read her post below and then head over to her blog to find some fun and frugal ideas to do with your child!


I’m Amanda and I blog over at Dirt and Boogers.  I have a little boy, J, who will be 2 in May.  I was so excited about Sierra’s new feature and immediately signed up to post.  Then then dread set in …“What in the heck was I going to write about?”   Sure, I make plenty of mistakes, but I don’t’ like sharing them with EVERYONE!

My first thought was to share an activity gone bad…which I have several…but I thought I’d get a bit more personal. 

When J was 14 months old I decided to start doing “lesson plans” with him.  I picked a theme, checked out books from the library, and made up art projects that all went with the theme.  Sounds wonderful huh?  The problem was that I was doing activities that were way out of reach for him developmentally.  The sad part is that I have a degree in child development, and I knew better.
You see, J’s been a bit slower to talk than the rest of his friends.  I thought I’d move things along by doing more structured activities with him.

Our theme about Zoo Animals was about the time that I knew I needed to change something.

I decided to do 2 full weeks of activities on zoo animals and focus each day on a different animal.  At the end of the 2 weeks, we had a fridge full of zoo animals.

The problem was that out of all these animals, J only made two of them!  I did all the other ones while he watched!  GASP!!!  He was able to color the tiger and giraffe by himself, the rest of them required a lot of “assistance” from me. 

I wanted him to do them correctly, so I forced him to create the way I wanted him to create.  It wasn’t fun for him and it wasn’t fun for me. 

Here’s me helping doing his craft activity.

I still feel really silly for trying this with J.  I would never have done things so developmentally inappropriate with the children I used to work with.  It’s amazing how someone can throw all their education and experience out of the window when it comes to their own child!

I can’t say that he got much out of doing these craft projects.  He just wasn’t developmentally ready to do crafts.  Young toddlers really need to be doing a lot of sensory activities and open ended art.
Since then, I’ve changed things up and we do more free, child-centered, play.  I’m happier and J’s happier.


If you would like to participate in this series (running on Sundays), please email me at hisforhomeschooling {at} gmail {dot} com!  


  1. Thank you Sierra, for the kind words and the opportunity to guest post. I'm so grateful that you are doing this series. It's actually made me think that I need to be more transparent on my blog about the mistakes I've made.

  2. Oh Amanda I can relate so much. I went through a whole period of doing craft stuff that was more about me than Goblin (In fact I still do from time to time). But at least now I do mainly focus on open ended art and allowing Goblin to lead - which is why we run out of paint on a regular basis - his idea of art is taking a bath in the stuff.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Hi gals! Thanks for sharing your heart with us! I agree I don't share my mistakes on my blog too often either and loved when Sierra shared this series idea with me. I too am still learning to allow my boys to lead our learning and to make sure our activities are developmental and age appropriate. As I former teacher, I know better too. :)
    Learning along the journey,

  4. Love this. I appreciate the genuineness in what you shared. Ive done this too. I had this idea that I needed to actually see something hanging on the fridge or bulletin board in order to show others that we are doing something and not just playing. But I've learned that my kids learn best when we are playing!!

  5. Honesty! This post made me smile. Yes, we've all fallen for this at least once where we plan a "cute" activity-typically crafts- where it tends to be the adult doing most of the activity. But on the bright side, you can use those lovely animals for vocabulary building and story making since they are already made! :-)

  6. This is a fantastic post. I would bet that EVERY parent has done something like this before...trying to get your children to "do" things that they simply are not ready to do yet developmentally! I know I have! Thanks for sharing!


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