It’s halfway through August and students everywhere are preparing to head back to school for their autumn terms. With the pandemic, schooling this year will be quite different for many students, involving distance learning from home. We went on a Pinterest spree and added tons of great ideas to our Back to School board. Today we’ll share some of the best ideas we found on how to prepare to hit the books in 2020!
First we started by looking for essential supplies for students. Of course, these will vary a bit by the age of the students involved, but we love Our Must Have Supplies for Distance Learning from Mama Cheaps as a place to start. She suggests that at a minimum you have:
- A Computer or Tablet for virtual learning sessions with teachers.
- Headphones for each student so that they can listen to content without disturbing other students or members of the household.
- An array of standard back to school supplies as appropriate for age level. This could include: pencils, pens, calculators, crayons/markers/colored pencils, glue sticks, paper/notebooks. If you want to keep these supplies corralled you should also think about a caddy – you can purchase one or there are tons of fun tutorials on Pinterest to make your own. We really love this Upcycled Lazy Susan School Supply Center from Surviving a Teacher’s Salary and you can even upcycle used Eucalan bottles and decorate them with washi tape (we’ve got a tutorial for that) as containers!
- A calendar of events and activities, or a daily schedule. This can be a prominent display, an electronic calendar or checklist, or a notebook or printed sheets. Again, this will vary depending on the age of your child, but each day should have learning times as well as breaks built in.
- A timer to track study and break times. This can be as simple as a cell phone or an egg timer, but especially with little ones this will come in handy.
- A printer to print out assignments, worksheets, study aids and the like.
- Options: A chalkboard, dry erase board, or a bulletin board for sharing ideas, explaining concepts, posting the daily schedule in a visible way, etc. and appropriate supplies (chalk, dry erase parkers, pushpins) to use those tools.
Dedicated Working Spaces
Once you have your supplies handy, you need a work space for your student. If your living space permits, it’s best to create a permanent work space. A dedicated space gives your student a place that feels comfortable and familiar, and you escape the hassle of constantly shuffling supplies. Again, we perused Pinterest and found tons of great inspiration for workspaces, including 35 Homeschool Room Ideas for Small Spaces from Homeschool Superfreak. The ones below are our favourites for repurposing small spaces into lovely learning environments.
Since many are becoming “first-time teachers” to students at home, we turned to home school parents to find other resources on how to help your children learn and thrive during these uncertain times. While your school will likely provide you with assignments, virtual learning sessions and the like, we love the tips in Homeschool Resources for Parents During Social Distancing or Summer Break from Apple Slices.
In addition to specific links to learning resources, she highlights how to fold every day experiences into home learning. For example, reading is learning! It doesn’t matter what your student is reading (comic books, fiction, nonfiction, etc.) just that they ARE reading. If your local library is open and you can do so safely, build a weekly or bi-weekly trip in to gather new reading materials. Or find a little free library near you, or swap books with other families in your neighborhood or school!
Struggling to teach math skills? Cooking together involves lots of measuring ingredients. Shopping for groceries or other supplies also involves math. And you can teach simple math skills just by playing card games!
Need to encourage writing skills? Let them write anything they want! Get each student a notebook and if they’re interested, use a tutorial like this one to help them build them their own unique place to write!
We hope we’ve given you a head start on building distance learning into your back to school routine. We’ve got tons more great ideas on our Back to School Pinterest board and we’d love to hear your favourite tips and ideas!
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