It’s hard to believe, but we’re in our fourth week of virtual learning! I still remember those first week jitters and feeling so unsure of how it all would work. But now, nearly a month in, we’re finding our groove. Since many schools have just begun, I wanted to share some tips and distance learning necessities that have been a working well for us and our remote learning pod.
Distance Learning Necessities
Early in August, we still believed that our kids would be going in-school for learning. But less than two weeks before the big day, our county switched to distance learning. At first I was frustrated and overwhelmed (like so many other parents!), but now we’ve found a great system that works for us. Our kids are thriving, and we’re being flexible to take changes as they come!
There have been a few items that have been instrumental for our remote learning success this year! Hopefully sharing these distance learning necessities will also help you and your family feel more confident learning from home!
- An iPad/Laptop – This is probably a no-brainer, but after teaching a group of 4-5 little girls each week, it’s apparent that each child needs their own individual device to complete assignments. Our county provided each child with a school-issued iPad, which made things a little simpler for us. But if you are in need of one, we personally own this iPad and love it. This Chromebook is a super-affordable option as well, doubling as both a laptop and tablet.
- Wireless Headphones – Several of our kids started the year with wired headphones and made the switch within a week. With wiggly kids, having wireless headphones is a must! This also allows them room to move if they are participating in remote music or PE activities! Our kids have a daily dance party with their teacher at the conclusion of each day. They need those wireless headphones to really boogie! 😉
- Wireless Internet Extender – Are there areas in your home that don’t get as good of a signal? This extender has amazing reviews and is under $40. Since our home is three floors, we have three extenders throughout the house. This helps everyone in our home work from their respective workspaces with full wireless signal!
- Yoga Mat – I can’t take credit for this one. My sweet neighbor came up with the idea to let our girls work on a yoga mat to switch things up and the kids LOVE IT!! They each have their own dedicated mat with a lap desk!
- Lap Desk – We snagged ours from Hobby Lobby, but it seems like most craft stores are sold out online. It may be worth calling your local store to check! But I really like this version I found on Amazon. The top lifts up for storage space!
- Crayons and Markers – Creativity is not canceled, y’all!! 😉Our girls still have a remote weekly art class with their art teacher. But having your basic arts and crafts supplies is always a good idea in my book! We also snagged this construction paper set!
- Bento Box – Even if your kid is staying at home, packing their lunch ahead of time is such a game-changer! On the days that our learning pod is at our home, I still pack Layla a full lunch and snacks. That way when they have breaks or lunch time, there is zero scramble. Everything is laid out for her and I don’t have to worry about putting anything together midday.
- Timer – With our daily schedule, the girls have four 15-minute breaks throughout the day. They have become super-skilled at setting timers to know when to come back to class! This helps them be more independent so I’m not stuck watching the clock for them. You can also use a timer to help get the kids to focus on an activity for a short amount of time. I’ve found when I tell my daughter that she only has to do a certain activity (even cleaning up!) for 5, 10, or 15 minutes and there is a timer set, it gets done with less complaint!
- Wireless Printer – Our printer is not wireless, so I specifically linked a wireless one because it’s a pain in the booty to have to go hook up every time I need to print an assignment! 😝Don’t forget the printer paper!
- Notebook– Our kids still need to pick up a pencil and write! I prefer composition books (and so do our teachers!) since they don’t get tangled like spiral-bound. But really any paper will do. With our kids being in first grade this year, working writing skills is so, so important. We’ve also been doing supplemental writing assignments from sites like TeachersPayTeachers.com.
- Pencils – Another no-brainer, but I had to specifically link these fun rainbow pencils. I snagged them at Target recently, and my daughter flipped for them! You would have thought it was Christmas. 😂I’ve always preferred fun pencils but regardless of the type, pre-sharpened with little kids is the way to go!
- iPad Stand – For my iPad users, this stand is a big win. My daughter has been using it daily. It’s sturdy and adjustable. I also bought both my girls these soft stands that would also work for a tablet computer like the Chromebook!
Remote Learning EXTRAS!
Another resource I have to recommend is Teachers Pay Teachers. The site has resources for every subject and every grade level. We have been using them for supplemental assignments that can be printed out. There are some free resources and others are paid, but the payment goes directly to the teacher who created the item!
My experience is limited to the younger elementary school set, but for older kids an external hard drive is another top recommendation for saving work! There is nothing worse than having a computer crash and losing all of your files saved on your hard drive. I use this small portable one to back up all of my image files!
How many of you are distance learning this year? Do you have any tips to add?!