When I first learned my school was closing because of COVID-19, I was pretty excited. It was right after Spring Break, and I wasn’t ready to return to school. I thought a little extra time at home would be fun. What kid wouldn’t?
The first thing I had to do to get ready for remote online learning was clean my messy desk. It was kind of gross! It was covered in my “collections,” things I couldn’t find any space for in my room. I threw a lot away and put some important items in storage bins in my closet. Once the desk was clean, I started by putting my computer on a raised ledge at the back of the desk, so I could have more space for my keyboard and mouse.
My computer was old with a super loud fan and poor speakers. I could barely hear my teachers during Zoom classes. It was time for new speakers, so I searched around my house. I was lucky enough to find two high-quality computer speakers in my parent’s room. I couldn’t believe they weren’t even using them!
I did online research to find a good mouse, since I didn’t have one. Once I found the one I liked, I asked my dad to order it for me on Amazon.
As I was preparing for remote learning, I experimented with a few different desk chair options. The exercise ball I tried was too low for the computer camera. My teachers had to keep reminding me to sit higher so they could see me, so I eventually went back to my old desk chair.
That setup for learning at home got me through the rest of the school year. We used Google Drive at school, so I was able to store everything online. Because of that, I didn’t really need a lot of the supplies I normally used at school like pens, paper and markers. If I needed something in a pinch, like a ruler or stapler, I got it out of the kitchen or from my mom.
However, I realized that if I were to be learning at home again in 8th grade, I would need an upgrade to my home classroom. My older brother needed a desk for summer school, so he took mine which meant I had to start over. My other brother had just graduated from high school, so I was able to “borrow” his desk. The good news is that it’s even nicer than the one I gave away. It has 4 drawers where I store my personal possessions.
If I had to give anyone some remote learning tips, I would tell them the following:
- Make sure you set up your desk the way you want and need it.
- Find a comfortable chair (even if you have to “borrow” it from your brother or sister 😊).
- Consider the quality of your computer or external speakers to make sure you can hear everything online.
- Take advantage of the tools on your computer like the calculator and cloud storage that’s available on Google Drive.
- Some of my teachers didn’t like when we used Zoom backgrounds or turned off our camera, so make sure you get to know your new teacher at the beginning of the year and learn the remote online learning classroom rules.
- Try to go for walks when you are on breaks and move around out of your seat and your room.
- Make sure you know how to get in touch with your teacher or a classmate, in case your Zoom isn’t working, so you can alert the teacher you have a problem.
I’m not sure yet how I feel about the Fall. I have learned that I can manage from home, if I need to, and sometimes even liked it better. Especially when I could stay in my pajamas!
Good luck with your school year!
Zev is entering 8th grade in the suburbs outside of Chicago, Illinois. He enjoys swimming, biking, computers, and playing with his friends.