Creating a Schedule for Your Online High School Student

Posted on January 09 2013

One of the benefits of an online high school is that it gives the student plenty of flexibility and freedom when it comes to schedules. You can take days off for special activities, you can plan vacations or set aside time for the student to get a part-time job. However, even with all the flexibility available, it is useful to have a schedule for a day’s learning.

A schedule provides much-needed structure to a student’s day. Without this, your child will be prone to put off what needs to be done for the day and then try to cram coursework in order to meet deadlines. An online student needs to be able to complete certain blocks of his coursework in a given day or week, so as to maximize memory and retention. With a schedule, you can plan not just your day, but your entire week, providing for ample time for alternative learning activities. The structure provided by a study schedule will also prevent whining and complaints and minimize distractions during learning.

Here’s how you can create a schedule to help your child get his high school diploma online:

  • Determine your child’s available days. What days or time can your child devote to his online high school education? Count the number of days available. These will help you divide the work and plan accordingly.
  • Determine the level of coursework for the period. Know your child’s load via your child’s syllabus. The virtual high school will not provide one since each student will have different scheduling needs. What you can do is to total up the number of lessons for all courses (and the hours needed to complete these) and then divide by the number of days available for the period. Spreading the work will help prevent burning out.
  • Make the schedule realistic. When computing for the number of hours, also consider the need for study or review time, as well as time to research for projects or papers. When you have divided the load be week, make a daily schedule based on the level of work he needs to complete for a week. Ask yourself if this kind of schedule is something that your child can reasonably do. Remember, your teen will also want time for his social life, for his hobbies and other pursuits. Breaks, time for chores, exercise, and a part-time job (if applicable) should also be considered. If, with all the activities that need to be done for the week, the schedule seems too full, it may be time to consider whether you need to decrease the workload for that period.
  • Consider your child’s best time for studying. Each of us has different body clocks. Some are night owls that function better in the latter part of the day. There are also others who start the day early. You can consider how to schedule the coursework – whether to begin with the harder subjects and finish off with the easier ones, or vice versa.
  • Consider your child’s specific needs. What subject does your child like? What incentives or activities can you incorporate into the schedule that can motivate him? Does your child have specific needs – rehearsals, practices, lessons and competitions? These may usually happen during the day or on some specific days so you need to also take this into consideration when making a schedule.
  • Make allowances for unexpected events. It will be helpful to prepare for unexpected circumstances so that even with disruptions in the schedule, projects and coursework can be accomplished on time.
  • Consider your child’s attitude, ability and attention span. If your child is experiencing problems in certain subjects such as Algebra, you should also allot for more time for these projects so that your teen is not too pressured for time. Also, how is your child’s personality? Does thrive on change or would he prefer something more consistent? Does he have a long attention span and can work for extended hours or does he need frequent breaks? This will help you to decide whether to schedule long chunks of the day for coursework or to divide it up into shorter, more manageable blocks.
  • Include your children in the decision-making process. When you already have a draft of the schedule, talk about it with your children so that you can both come into agreement about how his days will look like.
  • Let other people know about the schedule. To avoid distractions of people coming in and disturbing the “school day”, be sure to let loved ones and friends know about the schedule. This will let them avoid these blocks of time for visits.