Motivating Your Online Learner

Posted on January 09 2013

One of the secrets of success in getting a high school diploma online is to keep the learner motivated. The ebb and flow of your child’s motivation is only normal. Don’t be surprised when your child feels energized to study at one point but in another moment would rather play online games, chat with friends or sleep. However, low motivation will only result in delayed learning and may even cause spats and fights between you and your child.

Here are some ways to engage and motivate your child:

  • Choose an engaging curriculum. The curriculum should be one that captures the child’s interest. It should not only be made of basic courses that your child may find dull and boring. A quality curriculum should offer a wide range of choices to keep your child motivated to learn. The American Academy has over 100 online high school courses for your child to choose from. It also offers Music Aesthetics, Digital Photography or Art History and Criticism to unleash the artistic spirit in your child. It also offers Career/Tech courses such as Business Webpage Design, Sports Marketing and Advertising and Promotion.
  • Encourage and provide positive reinforcement. Your teen may get frustrated and demotivated when he can’t seem to get the lessons. Give your child an emotional boost up through positive reinforcement, recognizing his efforts and his steps towards improvement. Encouraging words can do much. This can be further strengthened by letting them know their accomplishments and efforts are appreciated. Display good test results, papers and artwork to show that you are proud of what they are doing. Recognize his achievements for the day.
  • Provide other opportunities for learning. Learning is not just in your “classroom”. Your child does not have to be cooped up in the room all day. There are other opportunities to incorporate his lessons or to learn other lessons. You can have a day out with your child – a trip to the library or the museum, or have a “science lab” in your kitchen. Your child can also learn math and budgeting concepts while grocery shopping with you.
  • Encourage working with and socializing with online classmates. Your child may also enjoy the interaction he can have with other classmates who are enrolled in the same course as him. With the use of technology, he can actively join discussion boards or chats. An online high school may also provide times for students to socialize through field trips and events. Your child can make new online and “real life” friends through socializing. With virtual connections, your child learns to communicate and interact with classmates and realize that he is not isolated in his learning.
  • Encourage other social activities. The freedom and flexibility that an online high school brings provides your child with the opportunities to join community activities. He can find activities that also suit his interests. He can join the Little League, the Arts club, drama club or the local civic organizations.
  • Provide structure to your child’s day and surroundings. Even though your child’s schedule can be flexible, it still is important that there is some level of structure. The “classroom” or learning area should also be bright and organized. Setting aside a specific area where your child’s computer, books and learning supplies lets your child know that you are serious about his learning. A routine for the day also prevents confusion and the frustration that a lack of structure may bring.
  • Establish a positive atmosphere for learning. Be patient and positive with your child. Even as you let him know your expectations (his learning goals and his required coursework to be completed on time), make it also felt that you will be there to provide support and guidance. Keep negative feelings (stress, impatience, tension or self-doubt) from the learning center. Discourage whining and complaints.
  • Teach kids to be independent. High schoolers appreciate the feeling of “being all grown up”. While you start off as their learning coach and monitor, teach them to be personally responsible for their own learning. The trust and independence bestowed on your child can actually be a motivating factor for them.