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At-Home Learning Tips From an Educator Mom

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Learning is exploring! As your home is now a classroom and you find yourself facilitating learning, don’t be burdened with the stress of wondering, “Am I doing this right?” “Did I do enough of that?” “Is that how the teacher would do it?” During this time of at-home learning, rest assured, you can do this! Embrace the fact that knowledge is all around us and your child just wants you to join them for the ride! So don’t stress. Enjoy these priceless moments with your little one(s) and check out these awesome resources from PBS Kids that are sure to make home learning epic!

3 Tips to Rock Your At-Home Learning Time 

As a full-time educator mom, let me say you are not alone. We are all trekking through new territory, trying to balance this new normal of working, educating, and parenting… all simultaneously. From a seasoned educator, who is also “teacher mom,” there are 3 things that are sure to make your learning time go FAR:

  1. Flexibility: This is the key! Your home is not a classroom. Learning is going to come in many different forms, shapes, and sizes. It’s ok to read treasure maps, predict moon patterns, and measure ingredients! The “school day” will likely look very different than the traditional 8:00-3:00 that children are accustomed to… and that’s ok. Be flexible! Learning can happen at any time and in a variety of ways.
  2. Attitude: Attitude is everything. Always remember, it is process over perfection! Learning is a building process. Be ready to celebrate the small wins, because small wins build into big victories. This new reality is a learning process for everyone. Modeling is a powerful learning tool, therefore we must model positivity to our children when faced with challenges. Don’t be overcome by stress and anxiety. Greet each day with renewed patience and a positive attitude!
  3. Routine: Our little friends have had their routines pulled out from under them.  Our littles function best when they know what to expect, so try to have a basic, non-rigid routine in place to help these tiny minds feel at ease and have a sense of normalcy. Scheduling every minute of the day is not necessary and will add unproductive stress. Don’t let the perfectly planned to-the-minute homeschool schedules plastered on social media make you feel inferior. Rather than a detailed itinerary, maintain a bedtime/wake up routine, with blocks of time for family meals and interactions. Simple structure is more valuable than you think.     

PBS has a great lineup of resources available to you that are standards aligned and ready to ignite our home classrooms! As a current teacher and proud mom of a first grader, these activities are kid tested and teacher approved. This non-traditional way of learning has broken down the four walls of the classroom and opened a plethora of new opportunities.  

Utilize the Most Effective Learning Time Window

Mornings are proven to be the most effective window of learning time for our littles. They are well rested, focused, and ready to explore. Start off your day of learning by enjoying the fresh, crisp morning air. Nature walks are a great way to relax and get exercise, all while enjoying quality time with your kids. Don’t forget to take Molly of Denali with you on your outdoor adventure! The Molly of Denali Field Guide is a great printable resource that can help your little explorer identify and document the birds in their neighborhood. This field guide includes infographics on 4 different species of birds, as well as space for your child to add the different birds they find while on their adventure. They can analyze the physical features of the birds they see, compare and contrast the different species and observe their behaviors. Your learning will be disguised as an expedition, full of adventure! Want to take it a step further? In true Molly fashion, bring along a device and allow your little explorer to create a vlog of their adventure… just like Molly! The learning doesn’t have to stop there. Bring back your collected data and use your observations to research the names of the birds you found. You will quickly find learning comes naturally and makes a way for itself. The possibilities are endless!

Adjusting Schedules to Fit Your Work Schedule and Let the Learning Lead You

Has your work-from-home schedule made a traditional 8:00 - 3:00 school day impossible? Not a problem, learning can happen anytime! Check out the Ready Jet Go! Moon Journal activity from PBS Kids. On a clear, calm night, snuggle on a blanket on your lawn with your free moon journal template from PBS Kids and gaze into the galaxy with your favorite little people. 

Draw pictures and describe what you see. Critical thinking will go into overdrive as your little one’s curiosity shines bright as they study the night sky. “Mom, why are some stars brighter than others?” “Dad, what are those dots on the moon?” The questions from your little one have the potential to take a simple moon resource and create a springboard into a sea of teachable moments. Be creative and think of ways to illustrate the answers to their many questions. Let the learning lead you. After your outside observations, move the fun inside where you can experiment by dropping different objects into a bowl of flour to create real life “craters.” There will be plenty of fun and priceless memories. Want to make the learning extra sweet? Have your family create different moon phases by snacking on some Oreos! 

When digging into these resources, your littles may have revelations that inspire you to create your own activities and search out new theories and topics. The world of education refers to this as “teachable moments.”  Congratulations! You just hit the learning jackpot. Inspiring your little learner to guide and seek out their own learning is the highest honor!

A Gift of Quality Time 

No matter how daunting the task may seem, you have been given a gift. You have been given the gift of quality time with your most precious possessions: your children! Don’t let stress cloud a beautiful reality. There is no right way or wrong way to help your child learn. All learning is magical, no matter what it looks like. It may be in a kitchen, in the forest, or in a book...many times it may be disguised as play… so PLAY WITH PURPOSE and embrace the experience!

Check out our PreK-K and Grades 1-2 assembled packets of printable activities to download and share with parents and students.

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd Educator Mom Twitter: @juddashley87

Ashley has 9 years of classroom experience. She specializes in elementary education and putting a "techie" twist on learning. "I place great importance on providing opportunities for my students to practice 21st century digital skills, in addition to mastering 4th grade standards in the process." While she currently finds herself using these resources in her 4th grade classroom, she takes pride in generating technology implementation that can span across all grade levels and subject areas! There is one thing she has learned during her tenure: age is just a number! Children are naturally born with a growth mindset and are capable of embracing technology at any age. Regardless of age, kindergartners to seniors, students thrive when learning is paired with technology!

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