Quick Tips to Help Your Child Flourish in an Online Learning Environment

Posted on March 06 2013

Enrolling your class in an online high school? This may take some adjustments, especially if he is coming from a traditional “brick-and-mortar” learning environment. After all, an online school offers a different way of learning (going to school on a computer!) and your child may need some time to get used to this new method.

Here are some ways to help him thrive and succeed with his online high school program:

Be your child’s learning coach. It takes some help for a child to adjust to the learning environment that a virtual high school offers. For one, the student is able to work in his own schedule and pace. This level of freedom may overwhelm the child! You can be his learning coach – his motivator, guide and schedule maker. Study the course syllabus to know the assignments and projects and to have a better understanding on the amount of work he needs to do on a daily and weekly basis. As a coach, you can also ensure that your child is doing the work properly. There may be a tendency to skip the reading and go straight to answering the questions at the end. This will negatively affect your child’s learning and grades. Thus, as your child’s learning coach, you should ensure that work is done properly.

Establish “Classroom” guidelines and rules. Sit down with your child to discuss the rules of the “classroom”. This should cover his schedule for the day, how the internet is to be utilized during the “school” day, how regularly he will check communications and performance (i.e. grades on quizzes and submitted assignments), and what is expected of him in terms of work submitted.

Help your child set short term and long term learning goals. At the beginning of an online high school course, you can sit down with your child and help him set the goals. Your role will be to facilitate, ultimately, it will be the student who will be the one to set his own goals. This gives him that sense of ownership and responsibility with regards to the school work that needs to be done. Short term goals include his goals for the day and the week. Long term goals may involve his future school plans – getting a particular course, getting a scholarship or working on a specific profession. It is important for him to have long and short term goals to keep him motivated.

Get organized. This will help ensure that your student does not miss online class activities, virtual classroom discussions, as well as projects and assignments. Being organized also means keeping school paraphernalia such as books, notebooks and school supplies in areas where your child can easily find them. You can also make a calendar of activities so that your child does not go too far behind, even with unexpected events that may disrupt that schedule. Help your child to also be organized in keeping his electronic files by keeping assignments, schedules, emails and notes in specific folders.

Know and touch base with teachers. Although your child will have online teachers, it still will be helpful for you to connect with these teachers and help your child do the same. Encourage your child to regularly communicate with his teachers, as well as with his online classmates. This “breaks the ice” and makes your child more confident to approach his online teacher with questions with regards to a subject.

Properly set up and maintain technological tools. Since a virtual high school delivers most of its lessons through the Internet and with the use of computers, be sure that you have the proper equipment. Is your internet connection fast enough? Is your computer in tip-top shape? Are you prepared for a computer crash? Do you have backups of projects and lessons, as well as drivers for the printer, camera, etc.? Is your computer virus-free? These are some of the questions you need to address to prevent technological problems while your child is studying. Also, it is important to ensure that papers and comments sent during class discussions have been successfully sent.

Schedule time for breaks and alternative learning opportunities. The myth is that your child will be chained to a computer day in and day out as he finishes his online high school subjects. However, there are plenty of learning opportunities that can be enjoyed while enrolled in an online high school. You can spice up your child’s week with field trips (i.e. trips to the museum, the beach or the local pool). You can also include alternative classes (i.e. karate lessons, tutorials for a certain sport such as lawn tennis or swimming). During the school day, your child should also have regular breaks – for him to just stand up and stretch his muscles, as well as take a snack.

Ask for extra credit, if needed. If your child is struggling in a certain subject, you can ask the online school for extra work to make up for the poor quiz cores.

By being actively involved in your child’s online high school education, you can help ensure that your child enjoys success as he works to earn his high school diploma online.