Working Parents and Online High Schools

Posted on November 04 2012

Can your child be enrolled in an online high school while both you and your spouse are working full time? Can you both be working on a nine-to-five job and still make online high school for your child work? The answer it, it depends.

The success of an online high school program will depend on a number of factors if both you and your spouse are working outside of your home. These include:

  • Your child’s age. If your child is young (i.e. at the grade school level), it’s best to have someone constantly on hand to provide guidance and supervision.
  • Your child’s level of independence. Does your child need constant supervision or can he work independently with minimal supervision?
  • Presence of a responsible adult. Is there an adult who you can trust to check up on daily completion of coursework? If your child is already an independent learner, all you need is someone who can check up on him from time to time to make sure that he’s at his online high school classes and not doing Facebook or playing videogames.
  • Level of supervision you can provide. Even if you are outside of the house during work hours, you can still maintain a level of supervision by spending some time to update yourself about your child’s day-to-day progress.

Now, if you have decided to enroll your child in a virtual high school even while you are working full time, these tips can be helpful:

  • Establishing a schedule. If it is feasible, you and your spouse can opt for different work schedules so that someone can be on hand to provide supervision, even for a limited number of hours a day. For instance, one spouse can be there to supervise during the daytime, while one can be there in the afternoon.
  • Set monthly, weekly and daily goals. Take a look at the course syllabus to determine the learning objectives, activities, projects and deadlines. Knowing the requirements of all the courses your child is taking for a certain time will help you set your schedule and monthly goals. This can be broken down into smaller tasks he can accomplish for a week. At the beginning of each week (or on Sundays, the day before your work week starts), set a weekly goal chart. Each day, you can sit down with your child to set a goal, a specific learning task he has to accomplish for the day. Then, when you arrive from work, you can check to see whether these goals are accomplished or not.
  • Work around your child’s schedule and vice versa. If possible, you can make your work hours coincide with your child’s “school” schedule. Or, you can teach your child to set aside work that needs your help or input and you can both work on these when you are home. Ask him to work on something that he can do easily and without your help while you are at work.
  • Touch base during the day. Call or text your child in the middle of the day to see how he’s doing.
  • Take advantage of holidays and days off. Your time away from the office can be used to be there for your child. It can be a time for you to provide your input with regards to your child’s projects and assignment. Or, it can be an incentive for your child to relax and take a break with you for all his hard work.
  • Adapt and adjust when needed. When setting your goals and to-do list, allow for some leeway for unexpected events (i.e. sickness, power outages, etc.) so that your child is not forced to finish a considerable proportion of the coursework in a short span of time.