This year, many students are beginning the school year in virtual classes. For this new and unchartered world of online learning, they'll need all the normal supplies — and then some. Notebooks and pencils have always been crucial tools. Now, strong WiFi, Bluetooth headphones, and a webcam are key elements for education, as well. There are also items like long-term planners that offer a sense of normalcy and blue light glasses that address remote school-specific issues. To help you navigate this new landscape, we've gathered just a few back-to-school essentials to help make your semester of virtual learning a little bit easier.
The best way to make it feel like an ordinary school year is to look ahead. Planning for the future implies that it will be bright. Keeping a calendar will also help with organization and accountability, which can be challenging for newly independent students. Fill this festive, 17-month planner with assignments, activities, and important dates so there is always something to eagerly await. If productivity is down, schedule times for outside play, exercise, activities with friends, and more to give the whole family more structure.
When classes are entirely online, weak connectivity can be extremely stressful. To maintain strong WiFi, you must invest in a powerful single router or a mesh system like the Eero, which is speedy and easy to set up. The technology that's best for you really depends on your home configuration — a mesh system works wonders in large, multi-level houses and those with old, thick walls. By placing an access point in each area that needs it, the mesh system will ensure quality internet.
Blue light, which is emitted from computer and laptop screens, is proven to have harmful effects. With online school requiring hours of dedicated screen time, eye protection is key. These adorable glasses, which can be ordered with or without prescription, filter blue light and eliminate glare, helping to prevent dry eyes, eye fatigue, headaches, and blurred vision.
Since the pandemic hit, most of our days have started to resemble each other. With minutes and months blending together, keeping track of time is difficult. To avoid unnecessarily entering another piece of technology into the mix, opt for an analog clock or hourglass to stay on schedule. This warm, sunny piece from HAY doubles as desk art and measures 15 minutes of time to help kids stay on track.
If you have space for it, a dedicated desk for learning will provide a useful transition from home to school. This IKEA number is simple, reasonably priced, and appropriately sized for both children and adults. It has drawers and shelves for storage and a clever construction to hide cords and cables.
New supplies and textbooks mean that clutter can pile up quickly. A convenient, portable utility cart is the optimal way to store all school items in one place. It can move around the house as necessary, fitting in tight spaces without creating a mess.
In order to attend class, students need to have video conferencing abilities. Being able to see and interact with teachers and classmates through a webcam is the closest thing possible to in-person education at the moment. This Aukey version clips onto both desktops and laptops for high-definition streaming. A noise-reducing microphone allows for clear sound to accompany the visuals.
These Bluetooth, wireless headphones are engineered specifically for kids and teens to get in the zone. They feature a volume limit that protects young eardrums from damage and offer 82% noise cancellation, so that ambient sounds are significantly minimized but the effect isn't completely isolating. Compatible with most devices, the pair has a 30-foot range for free movement and 20 hours of active battery life.
This handy dry-erase pad is designed to maximize a workspace. Place it between the keyboard and monitor, a typically under utilized area, to jot down quick notes and reminders throughout the day. Beneath it, a hidden drawer provides extra storage for writing utensils and small objects. Though unexpected, it's a sleek and extremely functional item.