New Normal Strategy for Back to School By Katherine Young

As an educator and parent, I can truly attest to being overwhelmed and filled with so many decisions regarding my children’s education in these unprecedented times. Whether our students are learning virtually or in a blended setting, it is important to reevaluate our “Back to School” strategy. Besides picking out binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, and art supplies, you now have to really consider a central product: TECHNOLOGY. Some questions that could have you frazzled are centered around trying to help you find “The Best” tech for your students so that they may continue to excel. What’s the best product? Should I buy a laptop or a computer? How fast should my internet be? What’s the best type of headphone with a mic should my student use? The questions can go on and on giving you a headache. I applaud you for doing your best in investing time and resources to ensure that your child is prepared to continue to learn. Be mindful to be patient and gentle with yourself and your students while you research, and in addition, hopefully this list of tips can help point you in the right direction.

  • Consider investing in a higher bandwidth internet connection with at least 25 Mbps (megabytes per second) (source: Students will be expected to download documents and view various types of media, so it helps to have a fast internet connection to keep your student in class and able to fully access all of their resources.
  • If at all possible, if your student is working from home in a virtual setting, it is really important that there is very minimal to no background noise. The noise is a distraction to your student, the instructor, as well as other students in class. In addition, please consider investing in headphones with a mic so that your student can stay laser-focused on their studies.
  • Create and discuss a routine with your school-age child. A routine will help your student stay focused because they are starting their day off right with structure and consistency. Waking up, taking care of their hygiene, eating breakfast, lunch, and later a healthy dinner, will help all school-age students be more successful. Moreover, don’t forget that high-schoolers need the proper amount of sleep just as much as young students. Even having a steady routine with school work will help your student be more productive versus procrastinating and making excuses. And PARENTS: Please do not complete your student’s school work. This is a form of plagiarism (i.e. cheating). It is wonderful to review work and give constructive criticism, but it does not help your student learn when you are doing their work for them. Allow your student to learn from their mistakes, make progress, and grow.
  • Be positive about the school year. Don’t forget to create and discuss goals (short-term and long-term) with your student so that they have something to work towards during these unique times. Celebrating small victories along the way will help keep your student motivated and help them spark an interest in being a life-long learner.

I want to hear from you! Let me know if you used any of these tips or share with me how you plan to have a successful school year. Connect with me on Instagram at @katherineayoung or Facebook at @katheringyoungpep. Have a great school year and don’t forget to register to VOTE. You can even vote by mail—sign up today (