Coaching Your Cyber Scholar for Academic With with Online Curriculum
Online learning is like no other schooling option and is a viable option to public school. Online homeschool courses with a virtual classroom can benefit your child’s education. It provides a powerful path to help students achieve their greatest potential, unleashing educational opportunities galore.
The key to maximizing this unique platform is mastering the parent role in supporting cyber students. As a mom to two former online learners in online schools, I know the Mom-Teacher dance well! It is a beautiful, gracefully executed tango of push and pull, correct and commend, encroach and encourage. For thirteen years, from middle school through college years, I was a learning coach to my digital-generation brood. I have been on both sides of the computer – as a parent and as a teacher. Defining a parent’s role in supporting online learners can be challenging, but here are six tips that will help!
Attack the Day; build a daily schedule and stick to it.
Online Homeschool Classes: One of the great benefits of online courses and homeschooling is flexibility.
Schooling outside walls, rather than in-person classes, allows us to explore wonderful learning opportunities within our communities. But are you sacrificing productivity and learning with an unpredictable schedule? Children love a set schedule. They feel more in control if there are few surprises during the day. They know what to expect! Teens need a set schedule and learn to be responsible for their own time. They have yet to master self-control and goal-setting that will motivate and shape their behaviors. Their brains are simply not developed enough to think about the long-term implications of low grades and missed classes. When my Digi-cubs began online learning, we used the same basic schedule for school work that their friends used for traditional school during the school year.
8:00-8:30 – Up, dressed, and eating breakfast
8:30-9:00 – Morning meeting with Mom
9:00-10:00 – First online class
10:00-10:45 – Offline work
10:45-11:00 – Break
11:00-12:00 – Second class
12:00-1:00 – Lunch/Outside!
1:00-1:10 – Afternoon meeting with Mom
1:10-2:00 – Offline work, Independent Work
2:00-3:00 – Third class
3:00-3:30 – Review with Mom and plan for tomorrow
We implemented a block schedule for our live classes, and Fridays were used for finishing up whatever was left incomplete from the week. We were usually done on Fridays by midday! Many days, my cyber learners asked to have a “working lunch” in order to finish even sooner! Sure, there were times that appointments or fun opportunities popped up that warranted a schedule adjustment, but those were the exception…not the norm. No matter the age, we all have schedules to keep. Several college students fail because they have not learned how to set and manage a schedule; what a great opportunity to teach this life skill before earning their high school diploma.
Coach for organization and designate a workspace.
If you have ever stepped foot in a young person’s room, you know they need help with organization! Successful online learners are well situated, with all the necessary school supplies readily available. They can quickly locate textbooks, lesson plans, handouts, materials, completed work, and work in progress. Help your cyber scholars effectively use a calendar to mark assignment due dates and to plan their work. In this techno-world we live in, we default to electronic reminders, but students need to see the BIG picture – not just day-to-day digital notifications. Use a large, printed calendar showing a month at a time. Write down when that research paper is due! Having a visual of exactly how many days are left to complete a project helps with planning for it, and marking it off when it is done, can be a huge motivator for students!
Not all of us have enough space for a school room, but we can still designate a learning area complete with storage and an appropriate work table or desk. What’s a good place for you? Let’s face it – sitting on a bed or couch feels far different from working at a table or desk. One says, “I’m casually chilling,” while the other indicates, “This is serious beeswax!” Our environment affects our state of mind and our approach to the task. Many of today’s students struggle with staying focused, and a designated learning space can be free from the distractions that delay our learning. It is also great to put school away and leave the designated learning space for the evenings and the weekends while honoring their need to move at their own pace. Determine what works best for your family’s needs.
Plan a Great Experience: Know the learning management platform playbook.
We each have different skill levels regarding technology, and often our students know more than we do! Don’t let that stop you from becoming a knowledgeable user of the online learning system! This is the e-campus! The best homeschool programs for live homeschool classes will have a virtual campus. Get in there and understand how to use the platform effectively. Be willing to step into problem-solving. Through parent accounts, you can access all of your student’s teachers, assignments, grades, scheduling, class information, important communications, and more! Do not be uninformed or miss important communications because you might be a little intimidated by the cyber school’s learning management system (LMS). Your students are relying on YOU to help troubleshoot tech issues!
Huddle up for multiple daily check-ins every step of the way.
Hold your online students accountable. Remember: online learners are still home learners. They meet with a school teacher for only one or two hours per week. YOU are their learning coach and home teacher! You get them 24/7! Do not leave it to online learners to be totally independent and self-directed. Help them stay on track with multiple check-ins throughout the day. A morning meeting before learning begins is a great opportunity to map out the day’s work and other activities. Be specific and clear in your expectations of what your student should be doing in the amount of time before the next check-in. Discover the class format and individual courses they are responsible for at their grade level. Always finish the day with a final check on what was accomplished and what must be done for homework or worked into the next day’s learning.
Ask your children, “Where are we in language arts, social studies, and math?” Stay on top of core subjects and specific subjects you’re participating in. Younger students through high schoolers are still homeschooled students, they need their parents, even with an online homeschool curriculum.
Parental Involvement: Communicate with course teachers.
Teachers and parents working together to accomplish educational goals for students is a Win-Win scenario! No one knows your child better than you do. Teachers rely on you to immediately communicate any concerns or problems you notice with your child’s learning. This is perhaps even more crucial to success in an online learning environment and as they become high school students. Most questions or concerns can be addressed through messaging, but others are a little more complex. Never hesitate to request a phone call or a Zoom meeting. Teachers are your best resource and want to help; they want your child to succeed in their class! The best online homeschool programs are the ones that you, as a parent, become involved in. Parental involvement is key!
Celebrate successes in online learning.
Every week, every day, every minute – celebrate your students’ successes – BIG or small! They achieved that A on the assignment they worked so hard on – WooHoo! They could attend an entire class without getting kicked out because of internet issues – Yay! They finished everything on today’s To Do list – Wow! They worked hard and completely focused on their assignment for a solid hour – Excellent! Do a touchdown celebration dance! Focusing on the negative and what is wrong or not working is easy. Have fun! Remember that learning is a journey! Integrate joy and a love for learning that will fuel your cyber students for a lifetime. Celebrating small accomplishments gives us the confidence to reach even higher. Focusing on what we have done well allows us to be a little more open to what we can do better. And while you’re at it, remember to celebrate YOUR successes! This Homeschool Teacher-Mom thing is not easy to tackle, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Remember: we all are doing the best we can for our children, and after all…tomorrow is another day!
True North Homeschool Academy’s Live Online Classes for Homeschoolers
If you’re looking for live online classes that are high-quality True North Homeschool Academy’s homeschooling program might be a good fit. With small class sizes, teachers who are masters in their subject areas, and a course catalog that covers Kindergarten through 12th grade, including special needs, they are a true partner in your child’s education. Discover True North Homeschool Academy today.
True North Homeschool Academy Teacher
Mrs. Purcell loves helping to shape young minds, partnering with others to create positive change in education, and crafting expression through written words. She believes we are each uniquely designed with special talents and abilities and that we are responsible for utilizing all that we have been gifted fully!
Beth teaches Writing Skills 4: US History and Writing Skills 5: Modern World