School Year 2020 Hacks:: In-Person, Remote, Homeschool

As the school year 2020 ramps up, many of us are finding it looks a little different than previous years.

Whether you are homeschooling (new or veteran), doing fulltime or hybrid remote learning, or are back in-person, we’ve compiled a school year 2020 hacks list to help.


“Write things down!” suggestions editor extraordinaire, Neidy Hess. Whether BIG on a blackboard or small on an index card, children thrive when knowing the day’s expectations from the get-go. Hess adds, “We get our schoolwork done faster this way.”

Also, for families with more than one student, have siblings help each other. Make it a team effort. This fact is true, no matter how you’re schooling. Have an older sibling practice spelling words with a younger student or suggest ways for math problems make sense or sing along when learning new songs.

Try packing lunch the night before, even if you’re not leaving the house the next day. It makes lunchtime run smoothly and curbs the what’ s-for-lunch struggle. Take it one step further on have snacks-for-lunch once a week, either homemade or store boughten Lunchable style.

And as always, have patience and give grace. Ask our contributor, Abby Medeiros, about sending children outside for an early recess. “Between the dog throw up and baby spit-up…” sometimes everyone needs a brief and necessary break.


“Make the remote-at-home space as much of a ‘school’ space as possible,” suggests Erika Hanna, fellow contributor in the OPS district.

school year 2020

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.

Stick to as realistic of a schedule as possible for school year 2020. This will help students remain on task and caught up. Make the most of breaks with movement. Get up, get physical. Run around the room, do 20 jumping jacks, or take a flight of stairs 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. Ellen Kehs’s hiking guides for the surrounding area are top-notch. Incorporate a read aloud using Audible or Libby (OPL digital app) while en route. For the youngest students, mimic centers with 20 minutes of self-directed play (Legos, toy kitchen, blocks, or dolls) and read a chapter book aloud to promote literacy. Create a book tournament with your favorites and marvel at the different genres available.

Lastly, don’t forget to eye strain for school year 2020. 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.


In some ways, in-person can be summed up with one word: masks. Districts across the metro have different policies for school year 2020, but overall, we’re finding a growing need to systemize masks and know which are clean and which are not.

Create a “dirty” mask bin. An intimate’s laundry bag (found at Dollar Tree or Target/Walmart) hung from a hook in the laundry room (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. On the flip side, have a designated, kid-friendly “clean mask” location near the door, ensuring they grab a clean one each day.

school year 2020 masks

Some schools have temporarily suspended locker use and coat cubbies, thus allowing the students to have their backpacks with them at all times. We created a COVID pouch to hold a travel-size hand sanitizer and a spare mask…which came in handy on the third day of school when my “responsible” daughter snapped the adjuster on her ear loop. She simply switched masks without issue.

School year 2020 hacks

If your school has issued devices for students, adding a charging critter and colorful zipper pull are subtle ways to distinguish which device and charger belong to which student.

Lastly, corral the water bottles. Kids need to bring their own water bottles as drinking fountains are closed for drinking but available for refilling. Use a dish drying mat ($4 at Target) for air-drying overnight and a visible reminder to grab them in the morning. Be sure to label the water bottles, too.

No matter what your school year 2020 looks like, we here at Omaha Mom wish you a safe and healthy year.


Jennie is a native Nebraskan and aspiring writer. She’s a stay-at-home mom to three kids, two cats, a bearded dragon, and a handful of fish. When she’s not playing chauffeur, maid, cook, housekeeper, tutor, laundress, or answering to “Mom” a million times over; she hides in her writing nook and lives vicariously through her fiction characters. Jennie likes to read, take long walks, go on crazy road-trip vacations her wonderful husband plans, or simply sit on the deck with friends.