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Tips From Teachers to Keep Kids Learning at Home

By Mochi Bear
Many parents are stepping into the shoes of teachers, and for some, it’s foreign territory. We’re collecting tips and tricks from educators across the country, so we can try to soak up some of their superpowers!

Quick Tips
Be patient and understanding (you got this!)
Set up a learning environment with readily available materials and limited distractions
Create a realistic schedule to establish a structure
Integrating learning into everyday activities
Try swapping screen time with physical activity, but also don’t be afraid to allow some in doses
Deeper Insight from Teachers
“Understand that it will be more challenging to get your kids to participate like they do at school because you are their unconditional loving parent. So, be kind to yourself and try not to do too much!”
– Ms. Campion, 2nd Grade

“Kids are used to learning in little blocks of time at school. Don’t expect to sit them down for seven hours or even two hours; we don’t! And please be patient with them and with yourself if they have difficulty focusing. This is a tough time and they are feeling the same feelings you do. Take it slow and mix it up with plenty of fun.”
– Mrs. Burton-Smith, 3rd Grade

“What a great chance to let your creativity and imagination take over! There are so many neat ways to bring practice and learning to life by integrating it into your everyday activities. Check the mail? Hunt for sight words and spelling words in magazines! Doing laundry? Count by 2s while pairing up your socks! Cutting vegetables? Group the pieces by 5s! Challenge kids to turn a task into a learning game!”
– Miss Erika, Kindergarten

“Make sure to prepare the environment. Your kids want to do their schoolwork (kids love learning!), but one of the biggest impediments to their work is if their work materials aren’t freely available for them. Set up the workspace so they can freely get anything they’re expected to use, and you’ll be amazed at how dedicated they’ll be with their work. And the reverse is true too – don’t have things out you don’t want them to use, and they won’t.”
– Mr. Morrill, former teacher & current KiwiCo editor

“Set intentions daily! At the beginning of the day, take some time to chat with your kids to establish expectations and goals for the day. When you wind down in the afternoon, have them review what they did and the goals they met. You can create a reward system for achievement. For example, kids can earn a point for each day of completed learning and then they can spend accumulated points to get their favorite meal or some other reward.”
– Ms. Boampong, 2nd Grade

“Limit screen time by requiring intermittent physical activity. Children need to concentrate but need to get up and move too. Let them walk the dog or ride their bike around the neighborhood. It’s important for them to get the academics, but it’s just as important to get them outside for some vitamin D and movement to avoid the depression and anxiety that comes from being cooped up inside. Their mental health is as critical as their physical well being or academic growth.”
– Ms. Kiene, 3rd Grade

“Shifting to a remote learning environment leaves many students feeling adrift – especially those with learning differences who rely on the structure and accountability of the classroom. While adolescents may initially revel in the opportunity to sleep in, they need a routine to stay healthy and feel safe. Each night, sit down with your student to make a schedule for the next day – be sure to include a mix of focused academic blocks (45-90 minutes each, depending on your child) and breaks to move, eat, or socialize online. In the morning, get them up to walk the dog or help you with a project around the house. Eye rolls aside, they need your help and appreciate your attention.”
– Ms. Senn, Middle School Humanities

“Have your kids use a journal or binder to keep track of all the work that they do along the way. That will help with organization and give kids a feeling of accomplishment. The more they see how much they did, the more they’ll want to do!”
– Mrs. Tedesco, 4th Grade

“When it comes to keeping up your language practice there are many apps and online games (duolingo, conjuguemos, quizlet etc.). In my classes, I’m hoping to use zoom and other video platforms so we can keep up our oral conversations!”
– Ms. Ruiz, High School Spanish

“Find ways to incorporate movement and creativity into the learning process. Adding even one kinesthetic, tactile, auditory, or visual element to a learning task can make it feel more engaging. For example, if your child is learning vocabulary words, you could have them create a silly dance move to help them remember the meaning of each word in the list. To memorize the coordinating conjunctions, make them into a song with a funky beat. Or, to aid in reading comprehension, instead of a written chapter summary, try having them create a one-page comic strip (stick figures are fine!) that breaks down all the important events in a given chapter.”
– Ms. Law, former teacher & current KiwiCo editor

“As a teacher I would say set a schedule, lots of reading (silent, shared, read aloud), journaling, (kids should write every day), and computer programs (ixl.com, epic.com, scholastic.com). Make sure there’s some physical activity each day. As a parent I would say screen time, snacks, netflix…The struggle is real!”
– Mrs. Famiglietti, 3rd Grade