When the pandemic hit in March, we panicked—in every possible way.

We were worried about everything, and I’ll be honest: Our adjustment to having school happen in our home was far from ideal. Our school did an excellent job supporting us, but we were simply not prepared or set up for the challenge.

Our Experts Editor at Motherly describes it perfectly—it wasn’t homeschooling or virtual-schooling, it was crisis-schooling.


That’s exactly what it felt like in my house. Every day was chaos. We lost school items constantly, missed assignments, and there were many tears shed (myself included). And you know, all this happening amid the trauma of a pandemic.

So this weekend, my partner and I sat down and identified the pain points. What were some of the factors that made it so hard? Are there small but meaningful solutions we can implement? Because listen—this whole situation will never be easy, not even close. Still, I can still try to make it better, even if it’s in small ways.

As we face the new school year, likely much of which will be spent in this house, I am determined to have it feel more organized. Part of that is designating work stations for each of my three kids. The work station is where everything school-related happens and stays. Zoom meetings, notebooks, pencils—they all stay in one spot.

This year, back-to-school shopping will be back-to-home shopping.

Here is how I am setting up a workstation for my kids.

Ikea desk

ikea desk

All good home projects start in Ikea. I love that the desk is designed to grow with your child, thanks to its three different heights. We opted for the slightly wider size so they could spread out more (which avoids needing to use the kitchen table for work).

Storage box

pencil storage box

In an effort to corral pencils and crayons, I wanted to get a storage container that was minimal in design, but super practical. This box from Yamazaki meets all of those needs perfectly.

Active chair

active chair for kids

My kids are super squirmy (aren’t they all?) so I am really excited about our new Active Chair that encourages them to move around. They promote the natural movements of the body and can help improve spinal positioning and muscle stimulation—all this can help improve concentration.

Mini bookshelf

mini bookshelf

Under each desk, we’ll have a small bookshelf so the kids can keep their stuff organized and books off the surface of their desks when they aren’t using them. The unique design of this book rack with upward-tilted design makes for easy access to books and notebooks.

Lunch box

bamoo lunch box

I won’t be packing lunches anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get ahead of the lunch game and still pack them in the mornings! This will be especially helpful when I am in meetings as my kids start to get hungry (which is always). The Ekobo bamboo bento box has a removable divider that keeps food separated, and the top doubles as a plate when it’s time to eat. The smart design is constructed of safe, sustainable bamboo fiber and is firmly held together with a silicone band.

Happiness light

happiness light

We live in Pennsylvania so when winter comes, it gets dark and cold quickly—and we all feel the impact of it emotionally. I recently got to try out the Veriluxe HappyLight therapy lamp, and I am really excited for my kids to enjoy it this year, too. Like a sunny day, bright light exposure can support your mood, energy and sleep patterns. The non-UV light therapy lamp emits full-spectrum light that mimics sunlight on the days you need a little pick-me-up.

Fun art

Having a workspace that I love to work in is so important to me and I realized that the same goes for my kids. I am letting them each pick out a piece of art to hang above their desk and help them feel inspired as they work.

Planning notepad

planning notepad

We, er, missed a few assignments last year. 🤦♀️So we need a better way to stay organized. With the Mochi planning notepad, I can easily take notes, make to-do lists or plan our week. It’s made with a sturdy backing and is easy to write on.

Big Life journal

kids journal

Emotions have been running high of late, and I don’t expect that to change when school starts. To help me help my kids process their big feelings, I am excited to use the Big Life journal. This science-based guided journal helps kids develop social-emotional learning and a growth mindset to face life’s challenges with confidence. Through engaging activities and inspiring stories, they’ll learn to persevere and believe in themselves even when making mistakes.

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