What School Supplies Do I Need for Online K–12?

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It’s Time to Start Thinking About Online School Essentials

As the first day of the new school year draws closer, getting a jump on your to-do list will smooth out the transition back to school for you and your student. Being ready when the day comes by making a back to school shopping list will help shift your mental gears from relaxing and recharging to letting the learning begin. There are also some other things you can do now to prepare:   

Brush Off Your Learning Coach Hat.

Parents’ involvement in their students’ virtual school experience is critical to their success. Your role as Learning Coach includes special tasks to create a productive learning environment, and you’ll find a list of recommended online school supplies for that in this article. Students thrive in a dedicated, motivating learning space.   

Review Your Student’s Progress Over the Summer.

Did your student adjust their learning style? Did they pick up on new things during their summer learning exercises or struggle with topics they hadn’t seen before? Did they develop passions for new subjects? If you noted any changes or added interests, let your student’s teachers know. Those insights enable Connections Academy® educators to tailor instruction that builds on students’ strengths and strengthens weaknesses.  

Connect with Your Student’s Teachers.

One of the most important things you need for online school success is a solid relationship with your student’s Connections Academy® educators. The earlier you start building those connections, the simpler it will be to help your student bond with them in meaningful ways. And getting to know you and your student helps teachers understanding their interests, where they excel or struggle, and what they need to feel valued. 

Add Items to Your School Shopping List That Help Organize the Learning Space

Regardless of their learning style, all students benefit from having an inviting, motivating learning space. Moreover, by keeping everything in its place, students will learn to better manage time by not having to search for their school supplies when they need them.  

Items that will help keep your student’s learning space organized include:  

  • Inexpensive, stackable file racks or space on a bookshelf for each subject   
  • A monitor stand with a space to stow the keyboard when it’s not needed  
  • A magnetic whiteboard with erasable markers or a corkboard with thumbtacks to keep small papers and reminders handy
  •  A large planning calendar to keep track of the week’s learning schedule  
  • A desk organizer to keep pens and pencils within reach 
  • Binders and a three-hole punch to organize notes and assignments 
  • A USB flash drive to back up past assignments and lessons  

And while you’re thinking about virtual-learning study supplies, take a look at these online study tools that will help your student plan for the most productive school year possible. 

Add Fun to Your Back to School Supply List

When you get your Connections Academy® box of learning materials (contents vary by state), treat the delivery as a gift-giving occasion. A little party, some colorful wrapping, maybe even some treats. Elementary students especially will get a kick out of that. 

For older students, there are any number of ways to celebrate the start of the new remote school year. Try these ideas for using their back-to-school supplies to make virtual learning more enjoyable: 

Have a Scavenger Hunt 

Hide inexpensive online school supplies from the dollar store—you might even have them already on hand! Give the kids a checklist and a goody bag and turn them loose. You can even invite your neighbors to contribute supplies and have your student’s friends to join the fun. If you’re wondering “What school supplies do I need for a K–12 scavenger hunt,” try these:  

  • Pens, pencils, erasers, and highlighters  
  • Note cards and Post-it® Notes  
  • File folders and pocket folders  
  • Notebooks, loose-leaf paper, graph paper  
  • Rulers, tape, scissors  
  • Three-ring binders  
  • Printer, printer paper, and ink cartridges 

Get K–12 School Supplies That Nurture Creativity

Kids love to connect with their inner artist. Here are some things you’ll need to spark their imaginations:   

  • Construction paper, card stock, markers, colored pencils, glitter, and other art supplies  
  • Sketch pads and drawing paper  
  • Child-safe glue and glue sticks  
  • Clear overhead projector sheets and wipe-off markers  
  • Old magazines that have lots of pictures (great for art projects)  
  • Laminate sheets, so you can protect reference notes or enable your student to practice a worksheet multiple times 
  • Fun novelty items your child enjoys using like decorative erasers, stickers, brightly colored pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, Sharpie® markers, etc.  
  • Themed binder with notebook labels  
  • Brightly colored or patterned duct tape to decorate binders 

Include Extracurriculars on the Back-to-School Online To-Do List

It’s a myth that online school students miss out on the socialization of their in-classroom peers. The Connections Academy® Resource Hub includes all kinds of tips for building a strong social foundation for students who learn online, including participating in virtual clubs, getting involved in volunteer opportunities, discovering new hobbies, and more.  

Your Back to School Shopping List Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Good online school supplies and home classroom decor don’t have to be expensive. Go to garage sales in your neighborhood to see if you can find gently-used shelving and storage bins. These kinds of sales are also great for miscellaneous items you wouldn’t want to pay full price for in the store like musical instruments or sports equipment for extracurricular activities.  

With a bit of planning and a lot of enthusiasm, you can help get your students excited about going back to school. Your family’s efforts in organization are likely to pay off in helping your kids make a smooth and positive start in online school for the upcoming school year. 

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