Cristine Vergara with some of the schoobicles she’s created for virtual learning. Photo by Liz Lynch

Editors' Pick

Best Idea For Keeping Remote Learners Organized

Schoobicles

Eight-year-old Douglas Angel-Vergara had problems paying attention during online classes in July, so his grandmother, Wilma, tried to help by placing a trifold board with numbers and sight words in front of him. The homemade solution worked: Douglas was happier, more focused, and had a private place to do schoolwork. About a month later, the boy’s mother, Cristine Vergara, looked at the board and decided on a whim to improve the design so her son would be ready for remote learning this fall. She went to Michaels crafts store and purchased school supplies and accessories, added a sturdy base, and built a draft of what she called a mini-classroom.

Insecure about her creation, the Silver Spring mom of three posted a photo of it on Facebook and referred to her work as “arts and crafts.” Friends coaxed Vergara, 38, into selling the mini-classroom on Facebook Marketplace and she quickly started receiving orders. Word spread and sales skyrocketed—it seemed everyone wanted a way to help their children stay organized while learning from home.

When a customer dubbed Vergara’s creation a “schoobicle” because it resembled a cubicle for students, Vergara decided she liked the name and kept it. As her business grew, she reached out to a couple for whom she’d nannied and they became her mentors, helping with business basics and product development. “It’s like a full-time job for me,” says the Philippine-born Vergara, who also works as an organizational consultant.

Schoobicles, which are customized and sell for $75, have enough room to fit a laptop and create a private space that helps students feel separated from their surroundings. As of early December, Vergara had sold nearly 500 schoobicles, which come with a dry-erase board, built-in light, folders, calendar, schedule, custom poster, ruler and a cup for pens and pencils.

She’ll deliver locally, and shipping is available throughout the U.S.

Schoobicles, 240-704-5775, schoobiclesbyangel.com