Home School 101

Many of us had our first opportunity to start virtual learning earlier this year. This left many of us  unsure of how to structure our days for success, as a parent. We all want to be active early on to make sure your student adopts good habits to succeed in online learning. With the right routines established, you’ll know it’s working when your elementary, middle, or high school student is working more and more independently.

Here are some tips we would like to share with you for virtual school or blended learning student(s) to help ensure his or her success:

1. Be positive.

Thriving through a change is tough but doable with a positive attitude. A positive attitude about online learning is the best gift you can give your student. Everything they learn, whether it’s their most favorite or least favorite subject, will help them grow as a person.

2. Get organized—and stay organized.

Creating an orderly and productive environment to do schoolwork will put your student ahead of the game. Be sure they have room for their books, computer, pens, paper, and other supplies. Label folders to hold papers and notes for each subject. Go ahead and create electronic folders for each class on their computer and in your email program. If your virtual school provides an online planner, use it to schedule  personal appointments and create a “to do” list, with items ranked in order of urgency.

3. Establish a flexible routine.

While online school and blended learning school do give you a more flexible schedule, having a routine will help keep your student on track with schoolwork. It’s a good idea to find out when your students teachers have office hours, so you can arrange your schedule to overlap with when they are available. This will allow you to reach out on your breaks from work or adjust your schedule if needed to meet with the teacher.

4. Set personal goals.

To make great things happen in your students life, it helps to set goals for them. Have them think about what they would like to accomplish, both short and long term. Is there a class you want to ace this semester? Maybe you want to get a certain grade point average or achieve a certain score on the SAT exams. Maybe it is preparing to enter college and getting admission into a specific college might also be on their list. Be sure to put your child's goals in writing and post the list where they will see it often.

5. Make the most of your resources.

As a parent to an online or virtual learning student, we have many helpful resources available. Naturally, we can use text, the library, online research tools, and trusted websites come to mind. But don’t forget the many other resources you can use: parents, teachers, school counselors, and principals are great sources of information. A good rule of thumb is if you’ve been looking for an answer for more than five minutes, reach out for help!

6. Start on track and stay on track.

It’s always better to be ahead than to be struggling at the last minute! Reach out to the instructor to see if you can beak down big projects into small, manageable parts—and come up with a measurable deadline. Don’t drag your feet—make yourself do things on time and you’ll be better off in the long run.

7. Learn to deal with setbacks.

Everyone has them! Every person who succeeds has had to struggle to get there. When your students get a bad grade, have an argument at work, or experience other frustrations, realize that this is a learning experience.  Create an environment where your student is not afraid to talk to someone to get another point of view—They could be worried about something that’s pretty small in the long run. To move forward, we as parents have to teach them that they must take responsibility for what they have done (or not done) and decide to change their behavior in the future. Making a plan for achieving greater success in the future will help your student build confidence too!

Using these tips will help our students get the most out of their education. With these suggestions, virtual school  learning school students can become independent learners and gain valuable time-management skills that will serve them well—in high school, workforce and life!