Back to School Hacks 2020: Virtual Learning & In-Person Combo


Remote and Virtual Learning:

Many of us are opting for, or it has been chosen for us, a hybrid of virtual learning and in-person school. We have the best hacks, tips and tricks for a fantastic school year from moms just like you!

If at all possible, make the remote learning space be a dedicated space with everything they need to get started available in that area. Whether your remote-from-home is on your dining room table, common space in the basement, or individual bedrooms, have their supplies handy and add a pop of classroom décor.

QC Moms reader Sarah has a ton of great tips and tricks for successful virtual learning this school year:

  • Virtual learning has to be done in kitchen/living room/at desk so I can monitor/ jump from kid to kid.
  • Sticker charts for assignments to make sure we are completing on time!
  • Weekly calendar with meals, schedule, sports and meetings- Made of chad board, it sits right in our kitchen visible all day!
  • We have drawers for extra supplies divided by kid
  • I give myself the freedom to drink as I make and consume dinner!
  • Folders don’t get put away until assignments are completed!
  • A whole lot of patience
  • Teachers emails programmed into my phone for quick reference and the 10,000 questions I have!
  • Lots of smiles trying to make this work—-Sarah
My biggest hack for virtual learning for this school year is this tiered cart! We’ve got 1st, 2nd (our neighbor), 3rd, 7th and 10th grades going on at home- and 4 different public schools are represented, two elementaries, a jr high, and a highschool. Really this entire little corner is fabtastic but the cart ($30 on zulily) makes my heart happy

❤️homeschool corner decor virtual learning station

The other helpful hack has been iPhone alarms. I have one for every live lesson for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders. 

Also- it’s going great. I’m so impressed with the teachers and administration handling all the *extra* that eLearning involves. – Cynthia
I get a kick out of donning different accessories based on my current “job” at the time. Haha! My hack for this school year to keep things fun is to“dress the part”! For example, I’ll put on a hair net during meal time, then I wear black aviators when I’m enforcing or standing guard to make sure nobody is getting off task or cheating on a computer based test😂-Elisabeth

virtual learning remote school hacks tips tricksDuring virtual learning time, keep to as realistic of a schedule as possible. This will help students remain on task and caught up. Make the most of breaks with movement. Get up, get outside, get physical. Run around the house, do jumping jacks, or head outside to a trampoline to get blood moving and invigorate the senses.

If your school has more flexibility in their remote option, take advantage of lengthy remote-free times, and get out of the house altogether.

For the youngest students, mimic Centers like they have a preschools. Allow 20 minutes of self-directed play with different toys such as dolls, building toys, and puzzles while reading a chapter book aloud to promote literacy.

Another important hack for virtual learning is to not strain the eyes this school year. If your child is spending a lot of time on Zoom or electronic devices, invest in a pair (or two) of blue light filter glasses. Not only are they beneficial for eye health, but they’re also stylish to boot. We’re fond of these.

back to school virtual learningIn-Person Learning

Did somebody say “Mask”?

When I learned we were doing in-person learning this school year, I bought a coat/shoe rack bench for the basement hallway. We’ll come in through the basement instead of through the kitchen to leave our shoes, coats, bags there and we can leave our clothes and masks downstairs in the laundry room. -Maggie

My SIL gave me this great idea: she bought small lanyards for her girls to wear with their masks clipped to one end. That way they are less likely to lose their masks, especially during lunch or snacks when they’ll need to take them off. I find this mask hack for in-person learning helpful for when my toddler and preschooler randomly decide they’re done wearing a mask!🙂I imagine someone crafty could add a clip loop to their masks. -Lyn


mother helping child adjust her mask child wearing backpack going back to school in person learningI have enough masks for kids 1-2 per day keep in piles per kid; I wash weekly!- Sarah

I have 6 kids in 6 different schools this year. We do have a mask bin by the door. -Jamie
  • I got a green pencil bag and a red pencil bag from Dollar tree. My clean masks go in green; used in red.
  • I also recommend waterless face wipes. They’re magically refreshing. -Kaycee
  • Create a “dirty” mask bin. An intimates laundry bag hung from a hook in the laundry room, back of the door the kids come in through, or the headrest in the car is low budget and functional. Plus, it’s washable! Once children get home, have them drop the dirty mask in the bag to wash later.masks hanging on hooks mask organization keep track of masks back to school 2020 in person learning
  • On the flip side, have a designated, kid-friendly “clean mask” location near the door, ensuring they grab a clean one each day.

Keeping Track of It ALL

I have to immediately put everything into my work calendar. Plus I have random napkins and envelopes with important info on them… hanging on for dear life this year.  –Jamie

I have a checklist posted on the door, in my car and when I leave my mom’s to make sure I don’t forget anything. -Kaycee

When we were virtual in the spring, I did a color coded excel spreadsheet and put it on the fridge and put one in a sheet protector to put on the table while we worked so everybody know what was next. – Jennyplanning calendar back to school 2020

Be sure to check out our Back to School Must Haves post for the absolute BEST tried and true calendars. 

Lunch Hacks

For lunches this year, I bought tubs at the Dollar Tree for the sides. One is healthier (applesauce, fruit, granola bars, etc.) than the other so they can pick two of those. The other one is chips, cookies, etc. so they can only pick one. At night I tell them to pick their stuff, so I only have to do the sandwich or fridge stuff. Packing five lunches most days takes a lot of time, so this helps a lot!- Jenny

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Jessica is a home educator and owner of QC Moms. She lives in a geriatric, temperamental Victorian home with her six children ages 16, 14, 12, 10, 8 and 5. She is passionate about natural living, homeschooling her wild and free children, gentle parenting, and trying to glorify God in her daily life. If there is any time left over, she enjoys reading, her planner, reading, cooking, writing, baking, Netflix and Facebook, reading, and learning new things. She used to write at


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