Developing Perseverance in Your Online High School Student

Posted on November 05 2013

“Personal grit.” “Stick-to-itiveness.” “Tenacity.” “Perseverance.” As Josh Billings so aptly put it, “Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there. “

Perseverance in Online School and For Life

Indeed, when you have decided to put your child in an online high school program, you will realize that perseverance is a vital ingredient in helping your child earn a high school diploma online. Virtual school may prove more challenging than a traditional school in that there is a lot of independence and flexibility in a virtual school. When a child does not have the perseverance to keep up with his daily coursework and in working on assignments and projects, chances are, your child will not be able to meet the requirements of a certain course.

Developing perseverance will not only see your child well in his online high school lessons, it will also prove useful to him in the future. In a report released by the Department of Education’s Office of Technology, entitled Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance – Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century, aside from introducing academic skills and knowledge, developing tenacity will prepare students to thrive in today’s challenging environment. Dubbed the “Grit Report”, the study looks into how grit, tenacity and perseverance in individuals differentiate individuals who thrive in challenging environments than those who don’t.

The Parents’ Role in Developing Perseverance

So as parents, how can you develop perseverance in your child? Here are some simple ways:

  • Show your child that you care about him and his education. As your child’s learning coach, you need to be actively involved in your child’s online high school learning. This does not mean micro-managing him and being with him every minute of his school day. It means regularly and consistently supervising his performance, providing him with what he needs to succeed and sitting down with him to guide him in setting goals and ways to reach them. When your child sees that you care about them personally and are also concerned about seeing them succeed, this will encourage him to be more persistent in his lessons.
  • Treat your child with fairness and respect. Based on a study made by the Grit Report, students who see that they are treated fairly and with respect have a higher tendency to exhibit perseverance. When there is favoritism and rewards are given based on subjective standards rather than performance, your teen will be disheartened and dissuaded from keeping up his performance. Don’t make unreasonable academic demands (i.e. finish these lessons in a week). Rather, provide goals that are achievable based on your child’s abilities and are based on criteria that are clearly defined at the beginning.
  • Have high standards for your child. On the other hand, your child should see that you are holding him to high (but still reasonable) expectations. This does not mean that you are expecting your child to turn in straight A’s for all his courses. As a parent, you can determine the level of your child’s abilities and base your standards on these. The bottom line is that you are expecting your child to do his best in his lessons.
  • Provide support when needed. If your child has difficulty with a particular lesson, he may stop trying when he gets frustrated that he is not making any progress. Here, you can get the help of the virtual school’s online teachers.
  • Encourage your child. Tell stories about people who persevered and succeeded. Give your child a much-needed break. Give regular pep talks. Celebrate successes. Show your child how much progress he has made. Provide constructive feedback to help him improve his performance. In the event of poor performance, this can come in the form of guiding your child to the next steps towards doing better in that particular area. For instance, if your child has trouble with math, you can have him outline steps he can take to improve his skills. Rather than focusing on the negatives, help him look towards areas where he can work on.
  • Provide opportunities for the child to work independently. Resist the temptation of providing the answers and solutions when he hits roadblocks in his learning. Rather, allow your child some space for him to use his own initiative and to think of his own solutions and strategies. The joy of discovering a solution by himself will boost his confidence in working independently and not always looking towards adults for solutions to his problems.