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What to Organize Now Back To School Technology and Apps

what to organize now back to school technology and apps

 

This year we have seen a major shift in the use of technology and apps. As corona home school began, we all had a crash course in Google classroom and more.  Most of us felt overwhelmed and behind the curve. Get in the Back to School groove with technology apps that can help you and your student do your best work this year.

 

Digital planners

MyHomework

Your students can use a digital version of their planner. MyHomework offers ways for students to track their assignments and get due date reminders.

 

Google calendar

Favorite because it integrates with all things Google, your kids can use this as their planner with easy access.

 

Trello

Trello is a visual tool that works using boards, lists, and cards to enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible, and rewarding way. It’s like shuffling a set of cards and laying these out by priority and project.

Kid Productivity

Time Timer

This app is a visual timer to use to help you student stay on track and stay focused. It works by visually showing time elapsing. It’s especially helpful for students with ADHD.

 

Pomodone

Much like the Pomodoro Method, this app helps student set up work and free times. It helps student keep from procrastinating and learn time awareness by knowing how much time they are spending on studying.

 

Focus@Will

Personalized focus music to help you get stuff done by customizing music at intervals.

Freedom

Freedom helps your student stay focused by blocking distracting websites and apps.

 

Favorite learning apps

Quizlet

Quizlet makes repetitive studying fun and effective. Many classes already have set up their vocabulary and your student can find existing study materials. This app has video and audio components to make learning more interactive and engaging. There’s also an option to create your study materials with flashcards, tests and games.

 

StudyBlue

StudyBlue is similar to Quizlet, offering virtual flashcards, vocabulary review and concept repetition. The study aids have text and images.

Grammerly

If your student needs a spell and grammar check, this is for you. It can be installed on multiple devices.

 

EasyBib

EasyBib helps your student create a bibliography with a free tool to generate citations.

 

Family Organizing

LastPass

So many passwords! Keep these all here on LastPass.  Free and purchase options available.

 

Headspace

Meditation might be just what we all need when it’s Back to School. This app for mindfulness helps you relax and encourage focus.

 

Cozi

Cozi is free, easy-to-use planner for all family activities. You can keep events and activities, set up your weekly schedule, create, store and and share the grocery list in real time.

 

 

To get started, choose one app to start and test it out. See how well you and your student use it.  After 2 weeks, assess if you are feeling accomplished with this. To organize your new apps, group these apps together in a cluster on a single screen for easy access.

What to Organize Now Back to School Online or In Person

back to school

 

This Fall during Back to School time we are again challenged with the uncertainties of online or in person school.  Among the challenges ahead in this situation are work from home and school at home, anxiety about illness and gauging your kids’ academic success balanced with social interaction. Facing these unprecedented times we can be intentional with organized study areas dedicated to learning and forming good habits and consistent routines. Kids needs these certainties to do their best work. As with all organizing, there must be a space and a routine that work together to accomplish your goals.

 

Dedicate a learning space

Whether your children attend school in person or online, they will need a dedicated study area to work.  Many makeshift areas were created this spring. Now is the time to set these areas up for success.

  • Partner with your kids as you coach them and help them be accountable for their academic success. Everyone has their own reasons to be successful at school and hearing these helps you as a parent frame your discussions.  Discuss the positive value of a dedicated learning space and how this helps achieve success.
  • Choose your dining room or kitchen table. These are areas you can supervise while doing your work as well. If you need multiple spaces for your kids, think about other options in your home. The living room or home office can be part of a learning space rotation.
  • Add a cart to hold books and supplies. Supplies can be easily accessed and organized with a 3 tier cart.
  • Add headphones for kids to listen to classical music and block distractions.
  • Set a routine study time.  For online school, begin in the morning and take breaks for lunch and recess. For homework start after a snack and work around dinner.

Create a space that limits distractions and create clarity. For families and kids with ADHD, think about setting up body doubling in your learning space. Body doubling is where two people work parallel. Your home office can have an extra seat or extra folding table to work in this fashion.

 

Develop good routines

There are many important routines associated with school success. Calendaring with your planner promotes good time management and improved productivity.  The best tool for a student is a week at a glance calendar. No matter how big or small, all assignments need to be written in the planner. Students consolidate online or in person assignments to their calendar to see all their assignments together. A week at a glance calendar gives kids the opportunity to plan completing assignments and studying for tests. Have your students  highlight long term assignments and break these into manageable chunks through the week or month. Calendaring  and writing stuff down is the best way to get the grades your child wants.

  • Good routines include exercise, healthy eating and self care.  Your kids and you need a bedtime that gives you all the rest you need. Having a central technology hub offers everyone the chance to recharge their devices and sleep well.  During your family meeting, talk about how to set these guidelines into motion. These are the routines that become life skills for us all.
  • Routines thrive when we help ourselves be accountable. That is tracking our success and tabulating how long we have been keeping consistent.  We want to keep the “chain” of successes moving forward daily.  Also, making the routines visual with notes and charts helps us remember each step. We may have a lot to keep in mind so a chart helps us track each step.  The chart can be digital or paper, just so to keep these details top of mind.

Families with ADHD will find developing good routines to be the most difficult part of work, school and life.  Start small and work in increments. Tag on a routine to an existing routine. Use praise and positivity as rewards for success. If at first you don’t succeed, re-examine where this fell apart.

 

What to organize now for Back to School reminds us, that while there are many things we don’t know and can’t know, there are many things we can do. We can set into motion the positive elements of success.

 

 

What to Organize Now Back to School Kids’ Essentials

 

what to organize now kids' essentials for back to school

There is so much uncertainty with Back to School in 2020. Changes are happening each day.  There are items to organize to get ahead, be prepared and get started as the school year begins.  We always need to organize our clothes, our time and now our technology.

 

Kids’ clothes

No matter if your child is attending online or in a school building, kids always need clothes for school.  School attendance is being delayed for some districts, however your kid will need a uniform and school clothes as the year progresses. Dive into your kids’ drawers and closet and edit what does not fit currently. This will make it easier to get ready every day and there will be less laundry.  How many clothes do your kids’ need for school? I recommend 5 – 10 sets currently so that you have less to purchase and less to store. This will be easier to maintain with your laundry cycle. Set up your kids’ clothes where they can get ready on their own each day and put away their own laundry.

 

Kids’ appointments

Just like every year, you want to start the year fresh with doctor, dental and grooming appointments. These essential appointments have been delayed this summer and now it the time to cautiously attend to these. Be sure to contact your doctor to learn the protocol for the office.  Grooming like nails and hair appointments can be made at low attendance times. Be sure to get your required immunizations and health history records.

 

Kids’ school supplies

Take stock of school supplies already in your home.  We often stock up for more than a year at a time and have an over abundance of supplies. Consolidate supplies to an easy access area for your kids.  Wait to purchase items to see what is required this year. Set up an easy access system for your kids to retrieve school supplies through the first part of the school year.

 

Kids’ technology

Last school year we learned how vital technology is during online school.  Assess what you have and what is needed after last year’s at home COVID school. Were there sufficient computers or devices for everyone to be online at the same time? Did you have enough internet service to work smoothly? Working through your technology challenges early will smooth out your school year. Set up a common charging spot for all devices to be placed each evening. A great night’s rest comes happens in a technology free space.

 

Meals and more

Gather your family together and create a family meal list. On the list are all the easy to prepare meals that everyone loves. Add this list to your online grocery shopping now and test it for 2 weeks.  Add in breakfast and lunch items that you are grab and go to ease preparation. There are many easy ways to be sure that we gather together, laugh and talk.

 

Family Meeting time

Gather everyone together to start your family meeting routine. Setting routines, discussing school success and reviewing family values are important parts of family communication and collaboration.  It’s going to continue to be a different school year and talking about this with your kids helps them and you.  Together you are teaming up to support and nurture each other while back to school.

Now is the time to get back to your family calendar. Add dates during your family meetings and model how to use a calendar. Whether paper or digital, a family calendar keeps everyone up to date on activities and events.  It’s also the time to update your kids on family gatherings and holidays. Most especially this is also time to schedule self care.  Reset and rejuvenate time happens only because it is scheduled into your planner.  Be sure you have added this to your week and your family’s time.

 

While it is going to be a different school year, organizing your kids’ essentials for Back to School give you and your kids a sense of time and purpose. This year most especially we need to intentionally and purposefully focus on personal growth and education. It’s a time to focus on reading, math and science for stimulation and education. The big take away as school starts is to focus on doing our best work, being resilient and that learning as an important part of life.  Being prepared and organized helps us remember that there are consistent, ongoing and important activities that happen regardless of global situations.