The 2020-2021 school year is going to be an unprecedented one. Many kids, who normally would have been sitting in schools across the world, are virtual learning from home or homeschooling, either by choice or by force. But no matter the situation, summer is coming to an end, and it’s time to get ready, whether we like it or not! So let me help you get ready for school, no matter how unconventional, so you and your family can feel prepared and positive about this strange school year to come.
Let’s talk about feelings:
There are LOTS of them. From everyone. From a mom dealing with anxiety, there are hundreds of things that could go wrong with this new setup. Our school is planning to learn in-person. And my kids (3.5 and 4.5 years old) are expected to wear masks all day long, when they’re inside. Parents aren’t allowed in the building, where our usual presence and volunteering is normally so vital to the school’s success. And even the sniffles could keep our kiddos home from school, when we used to never think anything of it. Of course, there’s always the chance that we’ll have to go virtual, but hopefully, with these measures we won’t have to do that.
I know so many parents have different feelings on virtual vs. in-person learning, and nobody is wrong. It’s just a matter of what feels right for you in this really strange and uncertain time. My reasoning? We’re doing everything we can to be safe by wearing our masks and social distancing, but we can’t stay cooped up and afraid inside of our homes until there’s a vaccine. So my family and I will continue to do what we’re advised by healthcare professionals, but we’ll try to live our lives as normally as possible in the meantime.
I have to say, after more than 5 months at home, I’ve never wanted to get rid of my kids more. But I digress. To each his own.
Learning tools to support parents:
- Teachers, Therapists and Parents alike all love the sequencing and matching cards from The Spark Innovations. They’re great for speech and language development, in addition to developing language arts skills like storytelling and site words.
- I follow a family on Instagram, Five Mary’s. They are a ranching family in Northern California, and I love learning about homesteading. Since there are so many families that will be homeschooling this year, they’ve created a Ranch School, and if we were homeschooling, I would TOTALLY sign up for it. Registration is open until 9/30.
- We were recently gifted the SquarePanda learning keyboard. It’s a learning companion used with a tablet, where kids from 3 years and up can work on their phonics to site words to spelling words in school.
Bulletin Board Supplies:
When the Quarantine started back in March, and I was suddenly homeschooling two toddlers, I created this space in our family room to support our daily learning. Now that my kiddos are going back to school in person, I want to use it as a message board and a place to support the learning they’ll be doing in school.
Target has some amazing bulletin board accessories that would be great for teachers too.
Calm Down Corner:
Yeah, yeah we know it says “The Calming Corner”, but I like “Calm Down Corner” better, so that’s what it’s called. Emotions have been flying high in our house lately, and I’ve wanted to introduce a space where our kids could go, take a moment and regroup. I’ve been working hard to give them tools to manage their emotions instead of exploding, so I really liked this set I found at Target.
Each circle gives your child a different choice to help them calm down. I equipped the space with some of the tools to act out these choices. We have your choice of stuffed animal to hug, paper and crayons to color a picture, a book to read and directions for deep breathing.
It’s actually been working so far, and at least for the moment, my kids are pretty into it. I hope we’ll continue to use the Calm Down Corner and that our calm down skills will become second nature, as we grow this year.
I’m glad I was able to make a corner in a central part of our home. I didn’t want to have to send a kid to their room to calm down because they often don’t want to be alone when their emotions are running high. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
School Snacks and Lunches:
This is my first year packing school lunches, and I’ve done my research. I found my favorite bento boxes, lunch boxes, ice packs and snacks. So let me share them with you.
These lunchboxes (at a great price, I might add) are the perfect fit for the Bentgo Bento Boxes with one of these skinny ice packs. It’s the perfect combo to keep your lunch cool, and the Bentgo boxes don’t have a handle, so it’s easier for your child to carry that way. I tried a number of different bento boxes throughout the summer, and this is, by far, my favorite.
Favorite Masks, because it’s 2020:
Hanna Anderson is also making super cute and affordable masks for little kids that come in 2-packs. They’re $10 per pack.
But my FAVORITE masks for me and the kids are from ReneuEarth. The kids’ ones come in a 10-pack, and I got 2 for our family because we go through SO MANY MASKS. And I expect we’ll lose more now that school has started. Miri says these ones are her favorite. She can breathe easier in them. I got some for myself too, and I really really like them.