It’s Back To ‘Virtual School’ Time for Portland Students

Just like you, PDX Tutors entered August feeling torn. Everyone is ready to get back-to-school, but this school year is going to look very different due to Covid-19.   

Across Oregon, districts like Portland Public Schools are in various stages of determining what their 2020/2021 school plans will be. As parents, it leaves us with uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless. It means that we need to redefine our back-to-school routines and expectations.

Here’s a list of things to focus on, in no particular order, to help you take control of these uncertain times and help your child feel safe, secure and well equipped to continue their education.

Start regular bedtime routines now

If your household has been anything like most over the past four months, the concept of “bedtimes’ has become rather elusive. You set a time, you try to stick to a time, but alternative schedules, quarantine, and working from home has many kids in an extended summer mode.

Irregular sleeping habits aren’t going to be conducive to education once school starts back. If your child is going back to a virtual learning environment it’s important to have a clear schedule around which to operate. It not only creates structure for them, but It also creates boundaries for your time as a parent or caretaker. Start working your child’s bedtime schedule back to normal each night leading up to school to make this transition easier for everyone. 

Virtual back to school shopping

Back to school shopping is an exciting event for children. For some, it makes the daunting prospect of school easier to swallow. Just because we aren’t planning for a full year in class doesn’t mean we should forgo that ritual. Order your kid a new shirt, get them a new binder, notepad and pencils. Give them the same tools of empowerment that you’d give them in a regular school year.   

Plan an end of summer activity

On top of social distancing requirements and travel risks, many parents are on a tight budget this summer. Many families had to cancel summer trips and have been stuck in the house. Plan a big end of summer event to get your family feeling ready for fall. Your event doesn’t have to be hard. A simple picnic hike, or living room blanket fort is great for many ages. Pull your child’s bed mattress into the living room with a bag of popcorn and enjoy a movie night. Whatever you pick, hype it up so your child feels like this is a special end of summer event. You might even create a new back-to-school tradition!   


Important as the bedtime itself, the school schedule during the day is going to be difficult for many families to manage. Work with your child to identify what works best for them and you. Carve out time for specific tasks, programs, recreational activities and more. Print out the schedule and put it in a central location. Your child can help own their education and you can more easily monitor their daily routines.

Those are some big ways to ease you and your student into this unique back-to-school season. 

Check back for supplies lists and free resources! 

Multnomah county resources 

Portland Public Schools

Beaverton School District 

Successful Distance Learning Habits For Parents

Distance learning is a new experience for most parents. Here are some ways to help your child become a better distance learner! 

Empower your child to own their learning space 

Monitor your child’s learning space and set the expectation that it’s their space to manage. This helps your child create ownership in their learning environment and helps recreate some of the structure of being at their school desk.

Understand your student’s work load

With the pivot from a traditional learning environment to distance learning there’s a shift in expectations around school work; how it’s completed, deadlines, and what that success looks like. Learn the ins and outs of what your child’s work load is, when it’s due, what is mandatory, what’s optional, and how they are graded. This will help you check in with your child on progress and confidently know what they should have accomplished each week.

Create a schedule  

Work with your child to create a schedule to keep them on track each week. Without the structure of a formal school environment your child could be missing out on quality learning time. As a parent or caretaker, it can be helpful to keep your own calendar of reminders too. This will help you check in with your child’s progress while balancing your work, school, and home life.


Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher, and be sure to provide them with the quickest way to communicate with you. Your child’s education has always been a combined effort of teacher, student and you as the parent. This support network is even more important when you’ve moved from a school to distance learning.

Help your child practice self care 

You and your child need to agree on expectations around sleeping, eating habits, recreational activities, and leisure screen time. Just as your child’s school creates healthy daily habits, your distance learning experience should too. Give yourself and your child plenty of breaks. There will be times when your child is distracted, and days where you’re feeling burnt out. Learning isn’t always easy, but it shouldn’t be painful. Mental health is crucial both for a successful education and a bright future. 

Still looking for more ways to help your child become a better distance learner? Read, Successful habits for students, or schedule a free consultation with a tutor today!  

Summer School Lesson Plan Ideas

Summer days filled with video games and youtube kids are always a lot of fun for your kids, but it’s also important to keep those minds growing. Working education into your summer can be a difficult and unappealing situation(at least for your child!), but done right it can be some structure and entertainment to your kids life that isn’t based around dabs, Five Nights at Freddy’s or reruns on Disney Plus.

Below are some quick ideas to help kickstart your very own summer school lesson plan:

Math: Take a recipe, half or double it, and have your kid figure out how to adjust!
Literacy: Write a song with your child!
Astronomy: Tour the International Space Station in Minecraft: Education Edition!
Biology: Plant two sets of seeds, one indoors and one outdoors, and have your child write a hypothesis on which will grow better, then track it!
Engineering: Build a fort!
Geology: Go rockhounding and then identify what you found when you get home!
Social Studies: Take a virtual tour of an
historical location and discuss what your
child learned!

Remember, it’s still summer so make sure to mix equal parts fun and education. And be flexible with yourself. The schedule you plan one week might not make sense the next week, but as long as you and your kid are having fun and learning it’ll be alright.

Successful Distance Learning Habits For Students

Distance learning is a new experience for lots of students. Here are some ways to help you become a better distance learner.

Pick a learning space 

Find a dedicated space in your home where you’ll be able to focus on learning. Make sure to choose a space with few family distractions.

Remove distractions

Keep your learning space clean and free of things that distract you. Remove clutter and electronics like phones. Snacks and a beverage are ok as long as you keep your space clean.  

Personalize your space 

Add personal touches to make your space your own. You’re learning space should make you smile. Keep it clear of dust and be sure you have the tools you need, organized and ready. 


If you’re unclear about what to do, or you’re having trouble understanding how to complete a task, ask your teacher, parent, or guardian for help. They are here for you. It’s a good idea to ask for help before it’s too late. 

Structured Time 

Make a set time for learning, physical activity, creativity, screen time, and relaxation. All are important in keeping you healthy and happy. Ask your parents or guardian to help you create a structured schedule for success. 

Self Care 

Take breaks. Tell your teacher when you’re having a hard time. Reach out to your parents when you just need someone to talk to. Your parents and teachers are here to help you be successful and learn. Try your best to follow good habits including sleep, nutrition, and physical activity. It’s normal for learning to feel difficult sometimes. Be sure to give your brain a break when you need it.