Back to school: 7 ways to win at online learning

(CNN)Here we go again.

This is the prevailing sentiment in millions of homes these days as many families gear up for what likely will amount to another semester of virtual learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For most of these families, the online learning they endured this spring was passable at best, the result of schools and school districts scrambling to adapt their respective face-to-face curricula for the online environment.
    This time around, it seems everyone is determined to make the experience better all around.
      For students, this could mean fewer boring Zoom calls, more engaging lessons and opportunities to build camaraderie with new classmates. For parents, it could mean less of an expectation to play the role of proctor or facilitator, and more flexibility to be able to focus on their own jobs. For teachers, the new approach hopefully will translate into a greater ability to educate instead of taming technology.
      Of course, none of this can happen in a vacuum; even the busiest parents have to take steps to put their families in a position to succeed. Here, then, are seven tips for making the fall semester of virtual learning better than the spring.

      Organize, organize, organize

        Considering all the chaos that unfolds daily in your home, order is your friend. For Rachel Rosenthal, organizational expert and owner of Rachel and Company, a professional organizing company near Washington, D.C., this means creating a designated space for everything — particularly with the help of new organizational vessels and custom labeling devices to help do the job.
        "When a child's physical surroundings are organized it enables them to do better work," she wrote in a recent email. "I believe that physical organization leads to mental organization, and that organization is a key component to ensuring virtual school is more productive in the fall than it was in the spring."
        Rosenthal suggested that parents empower kids to create individualized and independent workspaces that are free of clutter and distraction, even if it's not a separate room. Some of the most useful organizational tools to achieve this objective, she noted, include paper bins, cord keepers, shelves for notebooks and cups for loose markers and crayons.
        She added that parents should try not to micromanage an organizing job; instead she recommended that parents provide kids with the tools and the space to arrange things the way they see fit.
        "Organization is a way of life and not a one-time event," she said.

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