With California pandemic numbers continuing to climb, it looks like online learning will be here for a while. I feel for parents trying to work and school their children as well as the kids trying to navigate this awkward virtual landscape. It does not seem to be a win for anyone. That said, if there’s anything we have learned during the pandemic it is that we need to accept this new norm and adapt. Below are some tools and guidelines to create an environment where your kids can be successful when learning from home.

Establish A Space

– Some homes allow for a dedicated teaching room, but not everyone has that. If you need to locate your kids in a multi-use area, try to make it a place that is separate from their toys and other electronics. These can be too tempting and distracting when they need to focus.

Have the Right Supplies

– Having the right tool to complete a task is import. Stock up on notebook paper, pencils, pencil sharpener, erasers stapler, staples, tape, post-its, glue sticks, crayons, and colored pencils.

Ensure Supplies are Organized and Easily Accessible


  • Pens, Pencils – Use a container so that they can be easily grabbed or if you have drawers, use narrow drawer organizers to section various items.
  • Paper – Paper stored vertically is much easier to access then when stored flat. Magazine holders are my go to for holding notebook paper, construction paper, as well as workbooks and activity books. Use ones that are completely open on one side so you don’t have to lift the paper to get it out or have an issue with fit.
  • Tape, Glue, Staples, and Other Small Items – If you have drawers, use drawer organizers to keep these neatly in place. I prefer the individual ones, versus those that have pre-defined areas for items. If you don’t have a drawer to put items into, you can use a pencil box as an alternative container for items.
  • BooksBookends will help keep large school and workbooks standing up and easily accessible. Vertical is always better than a horizontal stack where you have to lift things off to get to what is on the bottom.
  • Art Supplies – Elementary kids will likely still need things like crayons and markers and other small items. For how to organize art supplies, check out my YouTube video.

Work In Process and Completed Work

– You need a place to store items your kids are working on but might not complete in one sitting. For younger kids with just a few papers, magazine holders work really well. For older kids set up a small desktop file with folders for “work in process” and folders for “completed work” separated by subject.

Create a Comfortable and Inviting Reading Space

– Online learning is hard and especially challenging for elementary kids. If battles over online learning become too regular, remember reading is one of the most important tools to help your child stay on track. If you are trying to use your learning space well and don’t have room for books, store them in your child’s bedroom or near your preferred reading space. Add a comfy chair or pillows to make the space inviting and distinct from their school learning space. Bookshelves are your best storage option and bookends will help things to stay neat.

I know being a worker, parent, and teacher all at once is not something anyone signed up for, but having an organized space will hopefully make things a bit easier. You’ll also be demonstrating what good organizational systems look like and that is something that will benefit your kids throughout their lives.