Thanks for stopping by! If you are like me, you probably found this blog through Pinterest because you are trying to find yet another activity to enrich the minds of your little ones. (Or you are just looking to keep them entertained for sanity’s sake-that’s okay too!) Let’s face it, parents don’t have time to create lesson plans and design materials in the hopes that it will work out in the end. While I have designed many of the projects I do with my son based on activities I completed with students in the classroom, I have also relied on Pinterest for inspiration. We’ve all seen the Pinterest fails and you don’t want that when trying something out with your kids. I figure why not let me try things for you and let me make the mistakes so that you can avoid them. Hopefully, I can make your life a little easier.
Assuming you made it through the first paragraph, you are now probably asking yourself, “why should I listen to this lady? Anyone can just up and start a blog these days!” Well, here is some insight into my personal experiences and professional background.
I attended a small California public university where I finished a BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in History in just three years. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I am no procrastinator. Why stick around for four years when I could do it in three?) In 2005, I joined a pilot program to student teach for an entire school year instead of the usual one semester. Talk about trial by fire! I found myself in a classroom with 33 sixth graders!
After receiving my California teaching license, I headed off to exciting Dayton, Ohio with my husband and three cats. Why Dayton you ask? My husband just graduated the Air Force Academy and was sent to Wright-Patterson AFB for graduate school. He was originally assigned Hickam AFB. If you are unfamiliar with its location, it is in Hawaii. Yes, we could have lived in Hawaii. We were only in Dayton for a year, so I worked as a substitute teacher, a tutor and I even did a short stint at the Disney Store. Twelve months later, my husband had a M.S. degree and we once again forced our cats in the car. This time we were off to Montgomery, AL. As a girl from Cali, I initially felt out of place in the South, but I must say I met some of the friendliest people down there. I finally completed my first year of teaching, only to fall under dreaded “last hired, first fired” trope. The district closed several schools to save money and all tenured teachers were placed at other campuses. With my position given to someone else, I decided it was time to return to school. With a ravenous appetite for reading, I pursued a M.Ed. in Library Media at Auburn University.
Fast forward to 2011. I finished the degree and this time we packed up our three cats and (our now dearly departed) two guinea pigs and headed off to the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs. (To this day, the cats are not happy about car travel despite having spent weeks in the car traveling across the U.S.). I got a job as a para in a high school library while working to obtain my Colorado licensure. We also got the crazy idea that five furbabies were no longer enough for us and that we wanted the greater challenge of having a baby of the two-legged variety. In June of 2012, our son was born and six days later I found myself interviewing for a teaching position. Silly me, I accepted the position for an elementary technology teacher and administrator. It soon became painfully obvious that I could no longer pull the grueling work hours I had while teaching prior to son’s arrival (starting work at 4 am was a norm for me). My son had chronic symptoms related to a milk protein intolerance and I soon developed some of my own health issues. With an impending move to Pittsburgh, where my husband would once again be a full-time student, we decided it was time for me to stay at home with our young son.
I’ve never been one for sitting around so I found myself constantly looking for things to do around Pittsburgh. I found a weekly story time at a nearby mall, enrolled my son in a music class and went on regular excursions to local museums, farms and the zoo. Despite being a bit behind in communication early on, my son showed a natural curiosity for reading. By two and a half, I began teaching him his first sight words. By three he could read short phrases and sentences. Art projects and science experiments became daily activities in our house.
Fast forward to the present. My husband survived his Ph.D. program and we now live in the DMV (that is we live in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area not inside the Department of Motor Vehicles). Over the years, friends have asked me for advice or declared, “I’m coming to you for ideas when my baby is old enough to do things.” I figure it is time to start sharing our adventures (plenty to do here living near Washington D.C.) as well as the educational activities I do at home with our son.
My goal through this blog is to not only help you take advantage of your child’s natural curiosity to encourage learning, but also to make learning fun. Why the title Edutaining? While in the classroom, I considered myself to be not just a teacher, but a bit of a stand-up comedian as well (turns out kids will laugh at just about any corny joke). While worksheets most certainly have their place in learning and assessment (my son loves them), I find that children learn best through natural experiences. That said, I believe technology can be useful in learning, but it should not be the dominate tool used by children. If you’re learning about birds, go outside and observe them rather than just Google them. Take your kids to the library to find books on birds. Better yet, make them ask the librarian for help with their research!
I hope that by putting projects through trial and error myself, I can make your life a little easier. While this blog is new and a work in progress, I hope to eventually branch out onto other subject matter (time permitting). In the meantime, I look to focus on simple educational activities you can do at home with your children to support their learning as well as give provide some insights on places we travel to (many of them offer great opportunities for learning).