My kids were supposed to do something odd for school in Minnesota: start class the week before Labor Day. Covid-19 changed that. In order for my kids’ district to better prepare, the early start was bumped back to it’s typical Tuesday after Labor Day.

This year we listened to some friends who are teachers as well as the recommendation of my son’s instructors (he’s in an advanced, get some college done early program) and chose to enroll both of my brood in full-time online learning for the year. At the time, and seemingly still, it’s the only program that had itself organized compared to the ad hoc distance learning the rest of the school was ultimately resigned to.


The online program is still not ideal, but it does provide regimented instruction and my two will have daily Zoom/online lessons with each of their teachers. Non-core classes such as Physical Education and Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS, aka Home Economics) will be interesting to execute, but he cores will be there.

The online aspect does lead to one challenge, surviving the boredom of being stuck in one seat, desk, place each day. That said, it’ll be important to have a tenable environment that provides some creature comforts as well as something to do in the small amounts of downtime between classes. Here are a few items that will help them get through it:

Blue light Blocking Glasses

Today’s LED monitors dump a lot of blue light into your eyes. This can create irritation and even affect sleeping patterns. These glasses will help reduce that exposure, allowing you and your kids to hit the online classroom/meetings at least until lunch.

A Good-sized Computer Monitor

Lots of kids get ipads and Chromebooks to attend class online. While technology is good, too much time hunched over on a small screen is a recipe for ergonomic disaster. A big monitor (and the right dongle for connecting) will be a big help in keeping the kids from looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Thanksgiving.

Sit and Stand Desk

Kids can get itchy to move. Middle and high schoolers benefit from moving between classes. Covid has them stuck in the same desk online all day. A sit and stand, or height adjustable desk would get some movement in and allow them to stretch their legs while class is in session.

Wireless Mouse and Keyboard

A wireless mouse and keyboard combo helps to complete the escape from the tiny ipad or Chromebook. Typing assignments become tons easier. The wirelessness also allows one to work anywhere from the desk to their bed to the couch. Logitech is the gold standard, but there are many great brands and buys

A Digital Notebook

Online work and computer assignments seem to go best with a handy pad of paper nearby. This allows you to slow down, take notes and collect thoughts. These days you can digitize what you write with a Smart Notebook. It saves on paper and helps keep your thoughts organized. It also lets you show your work on those tough math problems.

Brain Food

Calorie intake has some direct correlations with student performance. If you have tweens and teens, you know they can empty the pantry in one feeding frenzy. Be sure to stock up on a mix of healthy items. Here are some of the best sellers on Amazon Pantry. It’s too bad it’s tough to get fresh produce online.

Sitting Comfort

Seat cushions aren’t just for older folks. Your kids can save on sore rears and backs with good seating and posture. Seat cushion sets such as these can make all that time at their desk a little more comfortable.

While loading the kids up with learning oriented goodies won’t make a full substitute for just having to buckle down and focus, hopefully some of these items will give them a hand along the way.