Simple Back to School Tips for 2021
2020 for most people was a year to forget. It was a year full of lockdowns, sickness, frustration, working from home, schooling from home, and even in some cases unexpected family loss. For those that had to do the whole schooling from home this was a new experience and presented a long list of hurdles. Trying to juggle working from home and helping with schoolwork. Or maybe you had to go to work and deal with the school work after you got home. But now that we have a vaccine and more and more people have already experienced this virus, here is to hoping we can get back to some normalcy in 2021.
A new year brings new hope. And a new year also brings kids having to return back to school. Some states are allowing kids to go back with little to no social distancing. Other states are doing a hybrid approach where half of the kids go two days a week and the other half go another two days a week. And then you have states still on full lockdown so all kids must continue to do virtual learning. No matter what your situation is here are some back to school tips to get back to school on the right foot.
If going back in person
Catch up on any new policies
Even with schools going back in person this doesn’t mean things are back to normal. Some schools are making adjustments to schedules and requiring students to wear masks at all times. Our school had to make adjustments to drop off and pickup times to help with new protocols. School bus schedules may also have to change so if your child rides a bus to school make sure they know what bus and the schedule for pick up and drop off.
Don’t send your kids to school sick
Most schools are now checking temperatures before they even let kids come to school now. But even if your child is not running a fever you may be tempted to send them back to school when they are showing symptoms. If you haven’t been to the doctor to verify it is just a cold or allergies it might be best to keep them home. This isn’t just to protect others it also protects your child from receiving scrutiny because they show up and cough all day through school. I myself had a round with a cough and the death stares I received everywhere I went was enough to make me stay home.
Make a schedule
Even when things were normal having a schedule for you kids is just a wise decision. Kids thrive when things are consistent and predictable. When we get them off schedule it can lead to uneasiness and irritable kids. The kids are not just affected by getting off schedule. Each night I have a routine after my kids go to bed. I will relax with maybe a show or a video game and then walk the dog and go to bed. And if my routine is messed up I usually don’t go to sleep as easy as I normally would.
Make sure you have needed supplies
Remember in a typical summer you would get a nice little list to tell you all the supplies your kid needs for the upcoming school year? Well in all craziness of this year this list might not have made it out. Or it might not be easy to find. So make sure to contact your kid’s teachers and see what they will need. It doesn’t hurt to stock up on the basics such as pencils, pens, paper, binders, glue, crayons, and such depending on their school age.
There may also be some new things on the list. Masks might be required. Maybe the teacher is requesting some hand sanitizer or cleaning supplies. Just verify all that is needed before you send them so you don’t have to scramble during the first week.
If going back virtually
Make sure you have good internet available
This may not be possible for some people. The current state of internet availability in rural areas is disappointing. We were promised long ago that new technologies would fix this but sometimes those newer technologies just don’t work right or are too expensive. If you can get a good cable or fiber plan then go with that. As a last resort you could always try to go satellite but doing video with satellite is not going to be a fun experience.
Make a schedule
Depending on when you will be available to help your kids, you should make a schedule so they know when they are expected to do work on their own and when you can be available to help them. Make sure to set boundaries if you are working from home. As the parent you have to get your work done so you can pay the bills. And then in the evening if you have to help out with additional work set that time aside to focus on that. Don’t let them get behind.
Have a reliable way to access content (and maybe a backup)
Hopefully if your child is going virtual the school will provide a computer or tablet to access content and schoolwork. I have found that the equipment they provide is not always the best they can use. Luckily we have a PC that the family shares for them to use but if that is not an option have a backup plan. You might be able to find a cheap Chromebook that can work to access content as a backup or maybe even a cheap android tablet.
We had a situation one day where the charging cable on the school laptop had failed and we didn’t notice until it was time for my son to do a Zoom. Luckily I had an old laptop that used the same charger and we could get by until he could get a new one. Just be prepared for technology to fail.
Regardless of if your child is going back to school in 2021 virtually or in person the priority doesn’t change. Stay on top of them and make sure they are keeping up. Teachers are having a hard time navigating the new normal. And I have been hearing more and more about kids falling behind. But to that I would say it is our responsibility as parents in the end to make sure they are keeping up with their work and understanding what they are learning. Do you have any more tips to help navigate this school year? If so drop a comment or let us know on Facebook.