Distance Learning: The 5 Amazing Outcomes I Could Have Never Anticipated for My 1st Grader

This post is sponsored by Montessori One. We at ABQ Mom strive to partner with businesses we feel bring value to our readers.

Like most parents, the idea of virtual learning came with all sorts of question marks. Above and beyond the generic safety, I had no clue how my 1st grader (or myself) was going to not only survive, but thrive with online learning. My honest thoughts from last August:

How would he learn to log-in or turn in work? 

Would he stay focused if I can’t be right on top of his work all day long?

How would he communicate with his class and teacher given he isn’t an avid reader yet?

Will this experience have him behind the curve given he’s so young?

And even worse, might he lose the love for school without attending a physical school? 

Boy was I in for a treat and worried for no reason at all. Here are the 5 AMAZING outcomes I wasn’t ready for that changed my opinion, our lives, and his academic trajectory.

1. Overt Independence in Completing Work 

When I get on work calls, my colleagues often say, “I have no idea how you manage teaching a 6 year old.” To which I proudly say, “well actually he goes to school while I’m at work and other than lunch, I don’t interact with him much.” Seems impossible but it’s not. One of the fundamentals as it relates to Montessori style learning is that independence is expected. With me and the teacher aligning and making it clear that he is in school, my son quickly learned how to dial his teacher or mentors (older students) when he has questions or needs help. His skills to navigate Microsoft Teams was a quick adaptation and understanding the assignments tab and how to call is all he needed. 

2. Incredible Technology Skills

On the topic of technology, your suspicion of what I’m going to say here is right. He learned to navigate both Microsoft Teams and Zoom better than me. And I host no less than 8 zoom calls per day. He identified features and functionality quickly both on his own and amongst his peers. But it stretched so far beyond being able to answer a call from his teacher. He tracks his time perfectly, understanding when his next lesson will begin. He leverages the date we each see at the bottom right hand corner of our screen to write his name and date on assignments. He scans and saves files like a ninja, knowing exactly which folder he stored his document and can upload it and submit it seamlessly. He can troubleshoot audio and video issues, minimize his screen, and yes even Google words and terms needed for his larger projects. All of which would not have happened in a physical school setting.

3. Presentation Skills Unmatched

While I have many favorite things about the Montessori Method and learning from home, this tops my list: Presentation Skills. Most of us working adults are still working on this particular skill and the students, especially my student, have mastered the skill. Each Friday, the students are asked to present work that they have done through the week. This could be a large project or a writing they completed. On Thursdays, my 1st grader is ready to practice his pitch to me asking for feedback and working through it until he feels super confident. He has done 30+ presentations this school year, learning and growing each time. Understanding the importance of welcoming his audience to his presentation, introducing the topic he will be speaking on, delivering, and thanking the class. Life skills at its best.

4. A Love for Learning

Daily journaling, reading, and math are each cornerstones for our students to carry through life and while I of course LOVE LOVE LOVE these, sometimes our children are not complete fans. His journals are always fun, different challenges. On weekends, he will sometimes ask if we can do a journal together. He started the year being able to read short 3 and 4 letter words and now can rock any book and the reason is not just repetition; it’s the time his teacher took with him to build confidence. She found the books he liked, downloaded them, and spent 1:1 time with him exploring each book as if it was an adventure. Lastly, math, which is his jam in general, has accelerated with his Montessori materials in ways that are honestly remarkable. Just this week he was working problems with his checker board and beads to find the answer to problems such as 31,462 multiplied by 42. And got all 6 problems correct. Not something most of us were doing back in first grade.

5. Advanced Science, Music, Spanish, Art

And there are the incredibly fun parts of learning topics that stretch past the writing, reading, and math. Our school, Montessori ONE Academy, has this covered. My son spends 2 hours a week in science and has a blast learning about magnetics, physics, gases, and biology and reports out his scientific method for each lesson. He has learned the recorder and can play us Christmas tunes and the ever-so-famous Mary had a Little Lamb. He takes Spanish lessons each week, another highlight he talks about endlessly. He has taken virtual field trips to museums learning new forms of art and even painted like Marc Chagall after learning about the artist’s life, practicing his style of art, dressing up like him, and (yes, you guessed it!) presented that information to the class. I had no clue about Mr. Chagall until that moment.

His accountability to make it happen and desire to learn more and more and more is all ANY parent can ask for. His daily check-ins with his teacher to gauge progress and interest is how a student teacher relationship should flow both in-person and virtually (yes, another Montessori fundamental). Everything that I listed would not be possible without a village to help and continue the academic excellence for our students. Montessori ONE has led its parents, students, and staff through this pandemic and virtual learning experience while exceeding expectations. Parents meet with the school on a weekly basis to check-in, garner feedback, and quickly make adjustments as needed. The Distance Learning program is now a fine-tuned, well-oiled machine and the outcomes have left me feeling not only proud, but already secure in how my student will achieve great success in life. I am so grateful to Montessori ONE Academy for bringing out the absolute best in my 1st grader despite what the world throws our way. 

For information on Montessori ONE Academy’s Distance Learning program, visit montessorione.net/distance-learning or call (505) 822-5150.