Learn how to get organized, reduce stress and survive back to school in the age of COVID-19.

It’s fair to say that this year’s back to school is unlike any other. Whether the kids are heading back, studying online or a combination of both, we’ve curated practical tips and tools to help you and the kids survive (and thrive!) in these uncertain times. 

1. Always plan ahead.

Always plan ahead

Professor Nora Alva, Ph.D., recommends using a lesson planner to help you plan the upcoming week every Sunday. Whether you are homeschooling or doing distance learning, and especially in times of uncertainty, planning ahead with an organization tool designed for educators, tutors and homeschooling parents will help keep you organized, reduce stress for you and your children and give everyone a better handle on what the week has in store.

The tool Dr. Alva recommends is the Teacher Lesson Planner, which is perfect for ensuring the kids get the most out of every lesson. Explore the 2020-2021 Teacher Lesson Planner collection here (including the all-new Spanish teacher planner)!

2. Add a little of the school schedule to your at-home learning routine.

Middle school teacher, Ms. Gray, recommends creating a weekday schedule at home that’s similar to the school day so that students can have a consistent routine and enjoy activities that they normally would during the school day. For parents who are also working from home, it can be tricky to maintain the kids’ school schedules along with a work schedule, especially when everyone’s schedule has been disrupted during the pandemic; but it’s not impossible!

home learning routine

Start simple and make it fun by helping the kids set up their desks in a designated study area. Back to school is not just for kids! You can get in on the action too by setting up your workspace with new desk accessories that inspire productivity! Then, make a weekly schedule that includes getting up at the same time, having lunch at the same time and going to bed at the same time. Use a weekly planner, weekly wall organizer or even a weekly schedule pad to make it happen. Once you find the right rhythm for your family, try adding recess breaks for the kids and so on.

Give yourself the time (and grace) you need to work out the kinks. And above all, stay flexible so you can adjust your school and work schedules, not your goals, if necessary.

3. Forget trying to homeschool six+ hours a day.

While working the school schedule into your at-home schedule is great for the kids, this does not include an hour-by-hour matchup. In fact, Sally Kim is a teacher-turned-homeschool-mom who recommends not trying to teach your kids six to eight hours a day. A huge relief, right? Here’s why: in Sally’s experience, a lot of that time was due to having 20+ students to educate, motivate, monitor and more. That takes up a lot of time. When you distill a day’s work down to your own kids, whose learning style you know better than anyone, you’re able to cover more in less time.

Forget trying to homeschool

So, the real question is: how will you occupy curious little minds throughout the whole day? Here’s where creative ways to entertain the kids between lessons come in handy. We have a whole Kids Collection dedicated to providing fun and functional ways to keep the kids engaged between lessons (and give you some time to get your own work done or enjoy a much-needed break).

4. Give kids the tools they need to succeed.

Set students up for success, whether they’re returning to school sooner or later, with custom organization tools that help reduce screen fatigue, help them manage stress and make staying organized easier, more fun and effective.

Did you know that writing things down in a paper planner can help students (and all of us!) improve learning, memory & productivity? (NYT)

Give kids the tools they need to succeed

For older kids, age 10 and up, help them organize their classes, assignments, projects, exams and more with a planner they’ll actually use and enjoy. Help them pick out and personalize an Academic Planner that reflects their favorite colors, designs and caters to how their brain works. From streamlined, functional planners with neutral colors to colorful, designer planners that fuse fun with function, there’s a school planner your child can put their own stamp on (they can add their name to the cover too)! Explore new Academic Planners here (now available in Spanish).

Kids Planner filling out routine
Kids Planner filling out routine

For elementary school kids, age 9 and younger, help teach them the basics of time management, keeping a reading log and checking off to-do lists with a starter Kids Planner. The engaging activities, colorful stickers and fun “about me” sections help entertain kids while educating them on age-appropriate organization.

5. Organize school, work & family with a home command center.

Family Organization Using the Wall Organization Center family weekly planning
Family Organization Using the Wall Organization Center family weekly planning

When your house suddenly becomes a school and office on top of a family home, things can get hectic. That’s why it’s critical that you create an organization system tailored to your family’s new (and evolving) needs. Here’s where a custom wall organizer changes the game.

This is a smart way to make the vertical space in your home more functional so you can organize and manage multiple schedules for work, school and family all in one centralized place, without taking up more space. The best part is you can customize multiple insert boards that slide in and out of the same wall organizer depending on your needs throughout the month, week, or even day. From a homeschool checklist chart to an instructional whiteboard to a meal planner, family weekly schedule, calendar and so on.

Explore customization options for your home command center here.

Bonus tips and tools for remote learning during COVID-19 for work-at-home parents, students & teachers

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