As soon as the school year ended in June I started to imagine what our next school year would look like. I anticipated continued distance learning in some format and my suspicions have been confirmed. For much of the spring trimester, our family was operating as if distance learning were something we needed to get through. We didn’t make any changes to our spaces, our supplies, other than attending school in pajamas regularly.
As we prepare for the new school year, I want to make our home setup the most comfortable and efficient that it can possibly be. I’ll have two children working from home, and my husband will be teaching from home full time. While we know that some districts are working hard to allow in-person instruction, it seems likely that most of us will be dealing with at least some level of distance learning and I’m determined to make our setup the best it can possibly be.
I’m a big fan of starting as you mean to go on, so organization is at the top of my list.
Distance Learning Organizational Tools
Distance Learning Organizational Tips
- Baskets and bins are your best friends for corralling papers. Consider having one for each kid, perhaps one for every subject, or one for work in progress and another for work that is complete and ready to turn in
- Go analog! We’ll all be spending so much time on our screens once we return to school, we plan to embrace as many screen-free alternatives as we can. That includes using paper planners, calendars, and even whiteboards.
- I love the idea of whiteboards for leaving notes for family members who are in the middle of a call or class. A family whiteboard in a central location can track schedules, due dates and dinner plans
- For older students with multiple classes and teachers, a paper planner is a great way to keep track of daily assignments in one location.
- Decide where everyone’s workspace will be now. Make sure there’s easy access to outlets for charging devices, plenty of light and a comfortable chair.
- Similarly, decide where you’ll charge your various devices. I found that our kitchen counters were COVERED with devices and cords at the end of the day. We don’t let the kids keep their devices in their rooms overnight, so we’re setting up a charging station in our room.
Distance Learning School Supplies
In many ways school supplies will be the same as always. Even with a largely digital curriculum in the spring, we still found ourselves using paper, pencils, crayons and the like. However, you might want to consider a few additions to the supplies you keep on hand. We’ll definitely be leaning hard into fun supplies like cute notebooks and colorful pencils to make this experience as much fun as it can be.
Distance Learning Supplies for Home
- A few years ago we purchased a wireless laser printer and it is definitely one of our better purchases. Being able to print from any device (even my phone!) is truly magical. While a laser printer is more expensive at the outset, we print quite a bit. I find that I only replace the toner once a year. I anticipate the ability to print easily will be a huge bonus once we return to school.
- HEADPHONES. I spent so much time hunting down earbuds for everyone daily. Where did they go?! We had one pair of these over-ear headphones from J-Lab and everyone (including my husband) fought over them. They’re comfortable with great sound quality and they include a microphone. As an added bonus, they come in several colors so everyone will know which ones are theirs.
- If you have multiple pairs of the same style of headphones, consider labeling them with washi tape.
- An electric pencil sharpener will change your life. Trust me.
- Do you have a device for every student in your house? Hopefully school districts will be providing the devices needed to complete distance learning. If not, be sure to order yours soon before they’re hard to find like they were in the spring. Chromebooks are great for students.
Masks for Back to School
If your kids are going to be spending any amount of time in a classroom, they’ll likely need masks. Given that we lose jackets and water bottles, I know we’ll also lose masks. I want to be sure we have plenty on hand, so we’re not scrambling to find one to wear. I’ve been pleased with the quality, variety, and price point of the Target masks, available in multiple sizes.
Back to School Lunch Box Supplies
While I am looking forward to a break from packing lunches, that doesn’t mean our kids won’t need to eat. I’m going to consider the advice I’ve gotten to pack lunches while I’m making breakfast. That way they’re ready to go when the kids decide they’re hungry. Pre-packed lunches also make it easy to grab your lunch and get some much needed fresh air in the back yard.
Packed lunches are also a great way to bring a smile to the faces of your kids with our printable lunch box notes.