Now is the time to get back to basics!
There are still many unknowns about the 2020-2021 school year, but from pre-school on up to grad school one thing you can control is a focus on thoughtful, necessary basics. Items used for remote learning or taken to school will be easier to manage if your student has less. Focusing on necessary basics also allows for efficient transitions if the educational environment suddenly changes.
Keep the focus on learning and simplify as much as possible.
Consider the following:
A = Access
What do students need access to? Besides access to patience and opportunities for stress-relief, remote learners need internet access and a quiet place to consume on-line learning. Some may need access to learning supports. Students attending in person will need access to masks and simple ways to sanitize.
Forget shopping for pink, fluffy locker mirrors and trendy shoelaces for the time being and prioritize safety, learning, and mental health support.
B = Basics
Now more than ever, it is time to simplify. Simplify wardrobe and food choices. Simplify school supplies. Be conscious about purchases and consider ways to eliminate excess.
Will your elementary student will be remote learning at friends house from time to time as a way to share childcare? Prepare a container of basic school supplies, headphones, sanitizer, etc. that stays at the other house.
If your student is in a college dorm, have them prepare a separate backpack of basics (think pre-packed hospital bag for labor and delivery) in case they test positive despite being asymptomatic and are required to live in a separate facility for two weeks.
C = Curriculum
In the past, your family may have taken curriculum for granted. Students learn through their interactions and being a part of the school community, right? This year, make school about the curriculum. What are they learning? What are the students expected to know by Thanksgiving? Help or encourage students to make a timeline of what they are going to learn. Focus on the knowledge and how to master it without the additional help from the typical classroom environment.