Key to Online Learning Success: A Productive and Positive Learning Environment

Posted on October 09 2012

Congratulations! Your child has committed to earn his or her diploma via a virtual high school such as The American Academy. Getting an online high school education has a lot of advantages, but for some students who are just starting with this kind of learning may require some help and supervision from you.

As a parent, you can help support your children by building a learning environment that is both positive and productive. Such an environment can inspire your child to achieve, feel energized and even enjoy the learning process.

Here are some ways for you to help your child as he goes through an online high school program:

  • Find opportunities to praise and reward success on a daily basis. Celebrate your child’s daily triumphs. Although these are mainly for academic achievements, you can also praise your child for his positive attitude or for exerting extra effort to finish a particular project. Recognizing your child’s attitude and accomplishments will help end their day in a positive note and can be something to be reminded of whenever they feel down about a particular assignment.
  • Provide encouragement while discouraging complaints. Try to create an overall positive attitude in your home. This will also positively impact his attitude for his studies. A child can feel the stress you bear, so take a deep breath so that you put aside anything that’s stressing you out. Then, be your child’s cheerleader by sending verbal and non-verbal messages saying, “You can do it!” At the same time, discourage a negative attitude from your child. When he starts complaining, ask him to provide you with solutions to the problem he is complaining about.
  • Teach your child to prioritize. Facebook vs. his math assignment? Spending some time with friends vs. his paper on English literature? Chances are, your child will put off the latter to be able to enjoy the former! Minimize these distractions by providing a study corner or room where your child can be free of distractions. You can even give non-online school Websurfing and time at the household gaming station as a reward for finished daily goals.
  • Create positive goals, rather than focusing on the don’ts. Rather than building a list of “Thou shalt not’s”, help your child set daily goals that are positive and attainable. Focusing on what not to do makes the goal an abstract one, and something that they cannot tangibly complete. Meanwhile, a specific daily goal such as “Complete 10 pages in the English literature reading” or “Answer 5 algebra exercises” is something that a child can gladly cross out from his to-do list. These daily goals should be based on his course syllabi to ensure that your child completes required coursework on time. The ability to set (and work to achieve) goals daily is an important discipline that is invaluable as he matures into adulthood.
  • Establish a regular schedule. Having a schedule for his coursework (where possible) can help the child go into “learning mode” the moment he is in that schedule. This also prevents other activities from eating into the time set aside for his learning.
  • Help your child be an organized learner. This does not just include his schedule and to-do list, but his workspace and learning tools. For instance, teach your child to bookmark useful websites that come up during his research. Help him systematize and categorize printouts, worksheets and reading material into folders.
  • Take a break with your child. When the occasion warrants, take your child to well-deserved breaks. Make this an opportunity to bond with your child through “date nights” or a trip to the beach. You can also encourage your child to strengthen his bonds with friends and enjoy some time with them as part of his break time.
  • Teach your child to face challenges. As parents, we can’t always protect our children from difficulties and challenges, but we can help them face these with confidence. Even if your child makes an honest go of a new challenge – and not make it, you can be an encouragement by offering advice and resources. You can also be his cheerleader so that your child knows that you have your confidence in him. However, resist the temptation to interfere and solve his problems for him. Facing and overcoming challenges (and not letting the occasional letdown break his stride) is something that will stand him in good stead in the future.

Creating a positive and productive learning environment will help ensure successful learning. Aside from earning credits to get that high school diploma, it will also be instrumental in his success in other areas of his life.