Back-to-school season, usually a time of exciting new beginnings, is evoking many different feelings this year: anxiety, uncertainty, and chaos, to name a few.
As schools across the globe are struggling to safely reopen, successfully hold fully virtual classes, and balance in-person and remote learning... parents have a lot more to prep for this year than ever before. Brainly, the world’s largest online learning and homework help community, has some back-to-school tips to help parents prepare for this unprecedented school year-- regardless of their school or situation.
Patrick Quinn, Brainly's Parenting Expert, previously worked as a high school teacher, has three school-age children of his own, and founded the popular dad blog Life Of Dad.
1. Talk to your child about how this school year will be different
Be upfront about the situation and empower your child to make smart choices and do their part to help stop the spread. Things like handwashing, social distancing etiquette, and mask-wearing should be discussed. Having an open conversation and presenting all the facts will make both you and your child feel less anxious.
2. Create a learning command centre
Spend some time creating a space in your home for your child to study or do homework. If you don't have a spare area, or if you have multiple children who want to work together, create a way to store school supplies in a cart or container that's portable and can be used at the kitchen table or anywhere.
3. Build excitement and inspire positivity
While getting mentally prepared for this back-to-school season may be a particularly tough assignment for many people, it still deserves to be celebrated. Consider having a back-to-school themed TV marathon, creating an end-of-summer countdown with construction paper loops, or planning out a special breakfast for the first day.
4. Make face masks fun (and familiar)
For those returning to in-person classes, have a mask for every day for your child, and make sure they like the mask and feel comfortable wearing it for extended periods of time. Cloth face masks come in countless patterns and colors, and kids can use them to express their personal style while staying safe. Pro tip: it's also smart to make sure kids have an extra mask in a plastic baggie every day just in case something happens to the first one.
5. Use tech tools to enhance learning
Students who are starting out the first part of their fall semester online may find themself needing some extra help on assignments, and luckily there are plenty of safe online resources they can utilize. Brainly is a social online learning and homework help community that brings all the benefits of in-person study groups into a digital format. Dictionary.com is perfect for students needing to look up definitions for vocabulary words, synonyms or antonyms, as well as wanting to expand their personal word bank with a word of the day. myHomework Student Planner is a digital resource where students can input due dates of assignments, homework deadlines, and reminders for almost anything under the sun to help them stay on top of their work and feel confident in class.
6. Bake in time for social interactions and study breaks
Some students who are starting virtual classes may be feeling a little down about not getting to see their friends, but there are plenty of ways for them to still socialize with their friends. Encourage your kid to incorporate games into their Zoom calls. For example, he or she can use this no-frills Charades Generator to pick a word to act out in front of the camera, then see who in their audience can guess! And during the school day at home, it's important to schedule regular breaks every hour or so.
7. Meal prep healthy lunches and snacks
Getting organized ahead of schedule makes all the difference in the world. There are tons of online resources for quick, easy, healthy snacks and lunch ideas for kids of all ages (and adults!) such as MealBoard, LaLa Lunchbox, or Cozi. Make things easier on yourself by prepping for the coming week on Sundays and having everything conveniently stored and ready-to-go in the fridge to help streamline school days.