Navigating the transition from in-person education to online learning in the time of quarantine has been a struggle for students, teachers, and parents alike. Across the country, the format of delivering public education has been altered to solely online programs. However, there are still physical school supplies that may aid your child’s success outside of the classroom environment.

Tools for organization

When it comes to online learning, organization is key. In order to keep from losing track of assignments and deadlines, investing in a physical planner or a calendar is a game-changer. What makes a planner more successful than a typical to-do list? It’s a way for students to organize their responsibilities in a way that lets them assess the work on their plate and upcoming deadlines. This aids them in practicing effective time management.

Another tool to aid successful organization habits is a set of folders. Folders can keep notes and assignments separate for each class, particularly for students that prefer printed papers rather than text on a screen. If you have space, file racks can help keep these folders and documents well-sorted.

Backpacks are also useful, even in case of online schooling. They can help your student easily transition their workspace items (notebooks, textbooks, laptops, etc.) throughout different parts of the home if necessary. In addition, a school bag can be a place to tuck away schoolwork or supplies when a lesson is up so they have the chance to separate from their work during times of rest. Having to engage with their school materials constantly can send them into burnout.

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Creating a successful workspace

A classroom environment is designed to keep kids focused, on task, and cut off from distractions like cell phones. Unfortunately, most households aren’t built with a distraction-free model in mind. To ensure that your child is able to focus on their online schoolwork without getting sucked into social media, toys, or other distracting items, setting up a productive workspace is essential. This workspace should have a limited number of essential items that keep your kid on task.

What should this workspace consist of? You should try to find a flat surface like a desk or a table that is in its own, separate space in the room where they can work at a laptop or desktop computer. In this space, keep snacks and water on hand, as well as writing utensils, erasers, and textbooks that your child may depend on to take notes, work out solutions, or check their work. Try to provide a comfortable chair for them to work in since they’ll be spending long hours at the computer until in-person school resumes. If your household is noisy or highly occupied, they may also appreciate a pair of headphones to view their lectures or video assignments.

Meeting the teacher halfway

In a traditional school environment, teachers often require supplies specific to their courses. This may remain relevant even as they transition their classes online. Do a check-in with your student’s teachers to see if there are any textbooks or class reading materials that you may need to order online in advance to prepare your kid for upcoming units. There is also a chance that teachers may require a student to print and scan assignments, so having access to highlighters and colored pens to fill out multiple portions of an assignment or mark important content can be helpful.

In addition, you want to make sure your student is working on a computer with reliable internet access. If poor internet connection gets in the way of your child attending a virtual lecture or quiz, there isn’t always an opportunity to make that time up. Ensure that the computer is fully charged or plugged in and connected to a stable network and that they’re working on a reliable browser. This helps limit the online barrier of communication between students and teachers as they are adapting to the new format of virtual learning.

The classroom staples

Even outside of a normal classroom environment, the typical classroom school supply staples still come in handy. Having pens and pencils at the ready is recommended, especially for those who struggle to learn from home. According to Scientific American, handwritten notes aid learning, memorization, and comprehension more successfully than typed notes. Your student will likely be spending much of their day on the computer, yet they may find physically writing their notes to be more helpful in their learning process than typing them up.

Items such as notebooks and binders can be useful for students who prefer hand-written notes over typed notes. You also can’t go wrong having scissors, tape, and colored pencils/crayons nearby, especially if teachers plan on having their students produce any visual projects in place of other assignments that they cannot successfully move online. During this transition to online learning, not every essential school item will be obvious upfront. However, learning your child’s needs in a virtual classroom setting can help you supply them with items that aid their productivity, focus, and online success.