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Learning Outside

Now is the perfect time to get outside and leave the stresses and confines of quarantine at home. While we may still feel the pressure to socially distance and be mindful of our health, especially at this time, enjoying all that nature has to offer is a great way to calm the mind and ease the spirit. Learning is happening all the time, but it is important to draw your child’s attention to the world around them in unique ways. This doesn’t have to be explicit, formal instruction (although there’s undoubtedly value in teaching skills like planting a flower or drying herbs), but a way to open the door to further inquiry and discovery. Here are some ways you

Summer Learning

As schools have made the transition to virtual schooling, many parents have told me how overwhelmed they’ve felt. You may be feeling the same way. Whereas your child had previously been responsible for following directions and bringing homework home to complete, they are now responsible for maintaining a schedule, checking for their assignments, completing the work (often on their own), submitting assignments, participating in online classes, and troubleshooting tech issues. At school, children are told when to sit, stand, do work, play, talk to each other, etc. Everything is dictated for them. No wonder families are feeling stressed! I do believe that students would have adjusted better to this new level of independence had it been given in smaller

Teaching Subtraction

Teaching subtraction to young learners can be difficult. Unlike addition, where items/time accumulates, subtraction can represent taking something away, as well as the difference between two numbers. This can conceptually be difficult for young children to understand. Then, when you get into subtraction problems with borrowing, such as 45 - 27, you have to borrow a ten to do subtraction in the ones column, and children can be equally confused! Most parents of public school students have felt the frustration of trying to help a child with homework when the teacher insists they use "new math" or Common Core Math. But with quarantine, now parents across the country are feeling the pressure of picking up where school left off!

April 18th, 2020|Homeschool, Math, Parenting|

Teaching At Home

As an educator, I subscribe to a lot of teacher sites and blogs. Over the past week, my inbox has steadily been filling up with email after email directed at parents who are now staying home. These emails are typically offering to instruct parents how to teach. While that is helpful for some, that content may not be realistic for all parents, and may even be overwhelming. A lot of parents are working from home, dealing with the transition to their new setup, and do not have time to learn how to become teachers. But here’s where parents have a leg up: every parent is their child’s first teacher. Any parent can do the basics, and going back to

Student Writing: Puppy Mills

Viva 7th grade 3/12/20 Have you ever wondered where your dog came from before you found it in the window of a puppy store? Well chances are they came from a puppy mill. So what is a puppy mill? Imagon metal grates stacked on top of each other for rows and rows in those grates are insane numbers of dogs with little to no food, shelter, water, or adequate care, this is a puppy mill, those dogs in the grates have no human interactions and are forced to breed over and over again. I believe people shouldn’t buy a dog from a place where you can’t verify where it is from such as puppy mills. In places like puppy

March 12th, 2020|Student Writing|

Helpful Handwriting Hacks

I often get requests from parents to teach their child proper handwriting techniques. Achieving legible handwriting can actually be quite challenging. If you suspect your child is having serious challenges with the physical act of writing, getting an evaluation from an OT (occupational therapist) could be helpful. I have included some of my favorite resources for handwriting here. I am not a specialist or an OT, so I will leave it to the experts!  Your child may have already developed a pencil grip that inhibits proper letter formation and ease of handwriting. When a child has not achieved appropriate pencil grip, they may tend to hold the pencil awkwardly or with an especially tight grip. This can lead to

10 Ways to Manage Behavior

Helping children develop appropriate behavior and ways to self-monitor is one of the most important aspects of raising a child. It can be an exhausting, consuming, and frustrating task, but when done well and with intention, it can be rewarding. Behavior management is also what takes up the bulk of a school day for young students. Imagine trying to corral a group of 20 adults into the same task or command a room of your peers, and how hectic that could be. Now imagine you’re a Kindergarten or first grade teacher with the same amount of people, except these people have had about 5-7 years on this planet, practically 0 social experience, and are still figuring out how to

January 22nd, 2020|Behavior, Learning, Parenting|

Student Writing: Police: An Exploration

Olivia 13 years old  7th Grade (Homeschooled) Police:  An Exploration  Introduction The word ‘police’ comes from the Greek word for city, polis. Over time it developed into the Latin root politia, meaning civil administration. Since then it has become the French word for regulating and controlling a community and later turned into the word we know today. Police. When we think of police, we think of men in blue uniforms, maybe with guns or even in a crisis, saving lives or other times interfering with things they shouldn’t be. We hear a lot in the news today about how police saved the day, how police risked their lives to save an individual or a group but we are also

January 2nd, 2020|Student Writing|

I “Literally” Don’t Get It

Words are not always used with the literal meaning intended. Strong readers are able to understand the figurative meaning that often eludes readers who struggle with comprehension. In fact, you can have a large vocabulary, strong decoding/word attack skills, and good fluency, yet still misunderstand an author's meaning. The dictionary definition of a word is know as the "denotation". I teach my students to remember that both start with the letter 'd'. But that is only a piece of the puzzle to understanding the deeper meaning a word can possess, depending on how it is used and the context. The "connotation" tells us a word's intended or suggested meaning based on the ideas and feelings it evokes. For example,

December 11th, 2019|Reading|

Tips for Reluctant Writers

Make a List For some writers, starting with sentences is too overwhelming. Making a list of words associated with a topic may be an easier place to start. Begin with a basic writing prompt such as, "What should someone pack for a day at the beach?" or anything you know your child/student has solid knowledge of. Then, support your learner with making a list of items that are related to a day at the beach. For example: towel, swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. From there, you can move on to a new topic and continue practice with list making, or if your learner feels ready, choose an item on the list and see if they can generate a sentence about

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