School is back in session, and everyone should be settling into their new daily routines. With so many things ramping back up like classes, homework, and after-school activities like sports and clubs, it’s typical for parents and students alike to feel overwhelmed. The start of a new school year brings many new challenges but also is the perfect time for students to set goals and look forward to exciting opportunities like graduation and college acceptance. Whether your student is enrolled full-time in ALVS, or just taking one or two courses online after their traditional school day, here are 8 tips and tricks for students to stay focused and productive throughout the semester: 1. Create your own ideal learning space. Ok, let’s be honest. One of the best parts of the back-to-school season is stocking up on new supplies. Remote learners get the added benefit of designing their at-home classroom. Parents can help their students create a learning environment that is organized, comfortable, and stocked with the tools they need. Most important, be sure students learning spaces are away from distractions and turn off any notifications that might make them lose focus. 2. Set goals for the year ahead. Parents can talk with their students about what you both expect for the semester ahead. These can be academic or extracurricular goals. Full-time virtual students aren’t confined to the traditional 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule, they can flex their classes around athletic or audition schedules, volunteering, traveling, or other interests. By setting goals early in the year, your student can work at them a little each week and check them off as they go. 3. Chunk your schedule. While juggling multiple classes worth of studying, homework, and projects, it’s helpful to determine how each individual student works best when tackling all their assignments throughout the week. Some students find they focus best when they start one project and finish it the whole way through before moving on to the next. Other students find success in working on multiple projects each day in little chunks, switching from one class to another. 4. Use a time management tool. With so many distractions, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the task at hand. Time management tools like the Pomodoro Timer, help students stay motivated by giving them 25 minutes to focus on their work, followed by a 5-minute break. It’s based on the Pomodoro Technique which is a more productive way to work and study and helps with concentration. 5. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Everyone experiences feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed out at times. If students feel like there is too much on their plate, it’s good to take a step back from the computer to relax and collect their thoughts. Try using apps like Insight Timer or Headspace to practice mindfulness or meditation. 6. Play some quiet music. Some students prefer to study or work in silence to stay focused. Others find they stay more concentrated when playing quiet music in the background of their workspace. Try listening to study playlists on your favorite music streaming app. Other popular genres to listen to while studying are classical songs and Lo-fi music. 7. Utilize the great outdoors. One of the best parts of being a virtual student is that you have the opportunity to study and learn anytime, anywhere. If the weather is nice where you live, take some of your schoolwork outside! Or if you need a break from studying, take a walk or go for a bike ride and come back to your work feeling refreshed. 8. Reward yourself. Last but not least, treat yourself with a reward every once in a while. Students have a lot to juggle with school, sports, after-school activities, and jobs, all while leaving some time for friends and family. Never forget that students’ mental health should be a top priority. Reward yourself once you’ve met a goal you set at the beginning of the semester or even reward yourself with a snack break after every section of homework you complete. Whether your student implements one or all of these focus tips, we hope they find what works best for them to keep up the hard work this semester to achieve their goals. P.S. In case you didn’t pick up on it, these are great tips for parents as well! What tips do you have for staying focused and productive? Respond to our social media posts so we can incorporate your ideas in future blogs!