Girl with outstretched arms and illustrated pencil and computer

A lesson in back-to-school tips & tools

We’ve never done back-to-school like this. Before we even start with the new backpacks and pencil sharpeners, there’s probably 101 questions that need answering.

Will school be in the classroom, virtual, or hybrid?
Have my kids fallen behind academically?
Have my kids fallen behind socially?
In what areas do my kids need to catch up?
Does anybody know how to calculate the area of a circle?
Asking for a friend.

We’re in uncharted territory here. This past year holds the undisputed record for asking the most of parents (and students). But know that many parents are asking these same questions, so you’re not alone in this. Plus, you’ve got us. We’re here to help you help them with back-to-school tools and smart tips about virtual learning and teaching.

Read on to learn more.

Young boy smiling with illustrated pencil and computer

Get back in the learning mindset

Take time this summer to help kids ease into the learning mindset. Trying and learning new things out of the classroom encourages young minds to expand on their own schedule.

Virtual summer camps help kids ages 8+ practice digital skills and explore new concepts. Offered for free, topics at virtual summer camps with Microsoft Store include:

  • Virtual tours of natural history and space exploration exhibits at the Smithsonian Museum.
  • Acquire basic coding concepts through game-based learning using Minecraft and MakeCode.
  • Learn about Black history through virtual experiences at renowned museums and learning institutions.
  • Discuss the importance of creating connections using themes of the award-winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen.
  • Discover how video games are made and learn to code your own in a workshop inspired by the new movie, Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James.

Grow, learn, and express creativity with premium brands we love. Get more from Microsoft 365 by accessing up to $500 of added value through your Family or Personal subscription. Learn more today.

  • Enjoy 3 months free of CreativeLive and learn photography, design, music, crafting, and more with creative classes taught by the world’s top experts.
  • Get a 3-month membership to Adobe’s top apps for creativity and productivity with special offers from our partners.

Learn something new. A language, an instrument, video editing, programming, and more. There’s an app for that—often they’re even free to get started. Check out some apps today.

Father and son sitting at a table playing games on the computer

Game changing tools for students of every ability

After an extraordinary year, this back-to-school season is anything but ordinary. We may be in uncharted territory, but a major takeaway is that there are many ways for students to learn. We’ve got a few back-to-school tools for virtual learning that’ll help you help them.

  1. Get extra help with math. Studies are showing that it might be what kids have fallen behind in the most. Math Assistant in OneNote can help solve math equations quickly and display step-by-step instructions on how to get to the answer. Use this as your at-home homework tutor, for your kids, or for you if you need a little help to be the homework helper.
  2. Help build confidence for budding readers. Increase fluency and comprehension and encourage independent reading with Immersive Reader. Available for free, it reads texts aloud, helps kids follow along, and even breaks down sentences into their main components. It can be used with Microsoft Lens in Microsoft Word online, desktop, Outlook, Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Teams.
  3. Flexibility of device matters. Choosing a device that enables a student to study the way that’s best for them is important. Portability, connectivity, and comfort are key in promoting productivity. Find some great device options for students.
  4. Digital notetaking is powerful. Organize or revise notes after class to make sure information is complete. Highlight and annotate to draw attention to key points. Share and collaborate with others during study sessions. Learn more about Microsoft OneNote.
  5. Study hard, play hard. Video games can be a great reward for getting schoolwork done. It’s a way to bond with your kids and for them to interact with their friends. It also gives their (or your) brain a break from school and life’s pressures. With Xbox Game Pass, you can access over 100 games on PC—no need for a console. To get started, download the app.

Need to strengthen writing skills or translate into another language? Check out these and more digital learning tools from Microsoft Education so that your child gets the help they need to get back on track.

This school year may be a little different, but what hasn’t changed is the eagerness of young minds to explore, learn, and play. Microsoft has all the tools you need to help them do just that. And who knows, you may learn something new in the process too!

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