Amanda / ThisCrazyLife on YouTube
Tips to make Online School BETTER in 2020
I think 2020 will go down as a year to remember for sure! It's definitely thrown several curve balls our way, and one of which is the changes to school. There are a few different school options happening right now & each of them have their own set of challenges, but we have taken the path of "online school" - and I'm going to share some tips that have helped our family make it run a bit more smoothly!
T I P O N E :: SET UP A DESIGNATED SCHOOL SPACE
This is something that will look different for each of us, and there isn't a wrong or right way to do it! We recently finished our basement, and our boys were able to get their own room - they used to all three share a room. So we were able to set up a desk in their bedrooms along with a spot for notebooks, pencils & their other supplies.
If our boys were still sharing a bedroom or didn't have enough space in their rooms for a desk etc, I would instead just set up a shared space for school! I would set up an organized spot, making all of their school supplies easily accessible to them. (preferably close to where they would be doing their online school - like a table or home office with a shared desk) I've done this in our home for our youngest who doesn't have a desk and does homeschool preschool. I've loved our three tiered organizer for this!
It really doesn't matter how fancy this space is, it just matters that it's there! It will help them be able to have all the items they're going to need, but it also helps to get them in the mindset of doing school - because there's a place designated for it!
T I P T W O :: HELP YOUR KIDS BE HEARD
In the beginning of the new school year, I expected there would be hiccups & struggles, but what I didn't anticipate, was my boys not being heard during their online classes. It was a heartbreaking to me as a mom when our middle son, Liam, came out of his room crying after one of his online classes. I asked what was going on, and he said he had been calling to the teacher to get her attention & she never heard him. He is very much like I was as a kid... extremely shy & quiet. At first, I wasn't sure how to help him with this other than say "try to talk louder" - which is very hard to do when you're super shy!
(play video to see the difference in our boys voice quality with & without a Blue Microphone)
A week or so after, we ended up getting Blue Microphones for our kids to use for school. And it's helped them so much, especially for Liam. It's made his soft, quiet voice, so much more clear & loud, & I'm beyond thankful to say that he hasn't come out of his room crying about not being heard again.
A surprise benefit I've seen from having the Blue Microphones is that it's helped keep our boys more engaged during their lessons. - I'm guessing because it feels like a more structured set up!
The Blue Microphone styles that we have for our kids are the Snowball iCE (for our 6 year old Liam) & the Yeti Nano (for our 9 year old Luke). Something that I love about Blue, is that no matter what style you get, you aren't going to be missing out on sound quality. So whatever microphone fits your needs/budget best, you can know you will always be getting the super high quality of Blue Microphones.
Blue Microphone :: Snowball iCE
The Snowball Ice is the best mic for a "plug & play" experience. No fancy features to confuse your kids (or parents) lol Just plug it right into your computer, and immediately start getting the benefits of your new sound quality! It's also a directional mic, so if you have a shared school space, this can help drown out household noises around your child.
The Yeti Nano has a few more features, like a mute button, a headphone jack, and the choice to have it be a directional microphone or omni directional (meaning it can hear from all directions) - this would be a perfect addition to those family Zoom calls we've been making to stay connected during this time!
T I P T H R E E :: SET UP A SIMPLE ROUTINE
Keeping a routine is something we struggle with each summer, and usually the thing that pulls us back into gear is the boys' public school schedule.... but this year is different. lol You will be amazed at how much of a difference it will make to have a consistent night time routine & morning routine. It will help your kids sleep better, wake up happier & even help them stay focused, which can definitely be a bit of a struggle with all of the daily distractions at home!
For setting up a lifestyle routine (morning or night) - I would suggest writing out a list of things you would like to do before bed each night (or morning), then cross of anything that is unrealistic or not a big deal if it happens or not. (you really want this to be maintainable... not too crazy that you drop it altogether in a week!) Once you have it narrowed down, put it into action, get everyone on board with the new plans & make slight adjustments as needed over the next few weeks until it's just second nature to follow your new routines!
T I P F O U R :: FUEL THEIR LITTLE BODIES
What you eat can make a big difference in how well our kids stay focused, their attitudes & so much more! And please know that some days, I am 100% the mom that says "hurry & grab some cereal" 5 minutes before class starts! (I think we all are that mom sometimes lol) But I like to think a majority of the days, I do my best to feed my kids a pretty good breakfast before school. Now this may look like me making a homemade breakfast in the morning, but most of the time, it looks like me heating up a breakfast item that I had made on a different day!
Some of my favorite "make ahead" breakfasts are ...
French Toast (freeze & pop into toaster)
Pancakes (freeze & pop into the toaster)
Egg Bites (freeze & microwave)
Breakfast Burritos (freeze & microwave)
Oatmeal (refrigerate & heat in the microwave or stove)
These are all very filling, and very fast breakfast ideas! And they also don't have to take any extra time to make... next time you make one of these dishes, double the recipe & freeze/refrigerate the leftovers for those busy mornings that happen way too often!
T I P F I V E :: POSITIVE MINDSET
This one seems super simple, but will take some practice... easier said than done! I want you to start this off by telling yourself "I'm doing an amazing job!" because you are!! This is uncharted territory for all of us, and all we can do is the best we can do! After that, we need to give ourself grace & know we did our best, and we will learn the rest as we go!
Having a positive mindset will do wonders for your happiness as well as your success. And just like everything else we do, our kids watch us & copy what they see.
Let them see how the hiccups aren't that big of a deal (because they aren't)
Let them see how proud of yourself you are (because you should be!)
Let them see that it's okay to make mistakes (they happen to everyone)
Let them see that no matter how hard this is, you keep trying (you got this!!)
I hope these tips helped you!! If you have any tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear about them in the comments!! Keep going & keep knowing you're doing incredible!!
Love you guys!! XO ♡amanda
I want to say a big thank you to Blue Microphones for sponsoring this blog post! I am very grateful to team up with companies that I feel you would benefit from hearing about. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own & I will never share anything with you that I wouldn't share with my Mom & sisters! Thank you for your constant love & support!! ♡ ♡ ♡