The back to school season is officially ramping up, but this year (2020) things are looking very different from seasons past. Not everyone is going back to a physical school, some are staying at home and taking online courses while others (younger ones) are being homeschooled.
Here are some tips and products that can help ease everyone (parents, teachers and students) back into the learning mindset.
Set the Schedule
Children (and adults) should continue to follow a set schedule. This will help keep children informed and manage their expectations. But it also keeps the format of school schedules. Plus, you (the adult) will be able to slot in some personal time and not feel overwhelmed by all the added responsibilities. Chapters-Indigo has great tips on how to create a fixed or flexible daily schedule.
Computers and Laptops
More than ever, desktop computers and laptops are a critical part of learning. But that doesn’t mean you need all the bells and whistles of the most expensive ones on the market. There are more affordable options depending on your needs. Both Lenovo and Acer have great systems anyone can use.
Working at a desk is not only better for your posture but helps keep you focused. A desk that fits the space while big enough for learning will be critical in making sure your student gets the most out of their at-home experience. Desks are available at various price-points and some are even specifically designed for distance learning and homework. Kitchen tables are a great alternative, just try to ensure no one gets distracted by the cookie jar!
If your child (or you) are going to be learning online, it’s important to have a pair of headphones that is comfortable (they’ll be on for a long time), offers great sound (there’ll be lots of listening), and that may even drown out ambient noise to avoid distractions (like your 10 am Zoom conference). Bose headphones are a great option, or you can shop Best Buy and The Source for a more diverse selection.
Educational DIY, Toys and Games
There’s no better way to learn (or teach) than to make it and interactive experience. Kids of all ages love when learning doesn’t feel like hard work. KiwiCo is a monthly subscription box (that you can cancel anytime) that allows you to pick an age-appropriate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) hands-on project. While HearthSong offers educational games in science and nature, music and STEM (STEAM minus art) for various age groups. If you prefer to DIY the activities, Chapters-Indigo also has you covered with 25 at-home kids activities.
Stationery Supplies for Students and Teachers
The best part of back to school (whether it’s at home or not) is always shopping for school supplies. Whether it’s pens & pencils, highlighters, notebooks or glue, Staples and Walmart have you covered.
Being at home makes it easier to ensure your kids are eating nutritious and delicious meals. But with the added task of being a homeschool teacher, who has time to cook multiple meals a day? For healthy alternatives that are quick and easy, consider ordering a meal prep kit from HelloFresh or Chefs Plate.
Podcasts for Kids
Staples has curated a list of 10 podcasts that are kid-approved. These range in topic from education to music and stories (and more!) They run from 6 minutes to an hour or more per episode. Depending on how much time kids have, there’s plenty of content to keep them occupied and entertained. (Psst: this is where those headphones come into play.)
For Parents and Teachers
The times are weird. And require parents and teachers to step up in ways they’ve never had to before. First – thank you! Second – don’t forget to take some time for yourself. Whether you find a book club to dedicate some you time or give yourself an at-home spa treatment, you deserve it. It’s also important to find others in your community you can share your stresses with as well as your hard-learned lessons, and wins!
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