As more parents are making the choice to have their kids become online learners versus being in the classroom, more kids are having to shift how they learn. Online learning is not easy for everyone. While it can be convenient and safe, it also brings its own set of challenges for the student as well as the parents. Given this, many parents are concerned about how online learning will impact their child’s educational success.
With online learning becoming the norm for many schools across the country, it’s imperative to help your child through it so they can be just as successful online as they were in school. With the right motivation and strategies, your child can be a successful student in an online class.
Here are eight tips to help your child be a successful online learner:
1. Make The Expectations Known
Ensure your child knows what’s expected of them during online learning time. They should be aware of how much time they’ll need to devote daily to online learning. Make sure the school provides guidance on a reasonable amount of screen time, so your child won’t spend too much time on screen but is on screen enough to be a productive student.
2. Be Aware of How Best Your Child Learns
Does your child work better in a synchronous online learning environment or respond better to a live instructor? The type of learning platform may contribute to your child’s level of engagement. This can be valuable information to know as you consider them for online learning.
3. Create a Learning Environment
It’s very easy for your child to get a little too comfortable learning from home, especially if they’re on the sofa with the TV quietly showing in the background. It’s essential to have a quiet, dedicated space for your child to learn in. Whether it’s a study space in their bedroom, on the kitchen table, or some other room in the home, it’s important that the child recognizes this as a place to study.
4. Limit Distractions
The dedicated learning environment should be one free from distractions. If a television is in the room, make sure it’s off when the child is studying. If the learning space is in a common area, do your best to limit walk-throughs by other members of the family. If younger siblings are roaming about, try to keep them from the dedicated learning space during school hours. It does not take much to distract your child from learning. They will need you to do everything you can to eliminate distractions.
5. Plan and Follow The Daily Routine
When your child is at school, there is a daily routine that is followed that includes class schedules, recess, lunch, etc. It may be harder to get your child to give in to a similar routine when they’re learning online, but it is doable if the routine is established from the beginning.
A structured routine will help incorporate that sense of normalcy that comes with being in school throughout the day. In addition, it will help coordinate their study time and screen time. Plan out a structured routine that your child follows daily that includes their study time, activities or recess, monitored screen time, breaks, lunch, homework, and when to go to sleep at night. Make sure this schedule is in a place where your child sees it daily. Eventually, it will become normal, and their day will tend to feel more like a natural learning environment.
6. Encourage Participation
If your child has the opportunity to participate in class by raising their hand or chatting through the online platform, encourage it. It’s great that they’re showing up for class and turning in homework regularly. But in order for your child to really be a successful online learner, they will need to show up in other ways. They will need to be an active learner as well.
Students may already feel isolated and disconnected from other learners or the teacher. When they’re not actively participating, they’re not engaging, and that makes it easy to lose interest in the subject or what’s going on. It also lessens their impression with their teacher and makes them less noticeable. When a teacher sees that a student is fully engaged through participation, the teacher is more likely to know if they need additional assistance and guidance and will spend the necessary time working with them. A student who says nothing nor displays a basic understanding through engagement could miss needed opportunities.
7. Ensure Adult Supervision
It may be necessary for you to adjust your schedule to ensure your child is adhering to the schedule and actively participating in class, at least in the beginning. Online learning can be difficult in the beginning; your child will need the discipline to be focused, understanding, and encouragement. You or an available adult will need to help instill these characteristics to get them on track and on the path to success. They may get to a place where supervision is no longer needed but be prepared to be available in the beginning stages.
8. Plan for Rewards
Most school systems have reward programs where a student’s success can be publicly displayed and rewarded by the staff and their peers. Since peers are not present in your child’s online learning environment, you may have to plan for rewards. Take the time to praise your child for the many successes they have had along the way. Other ways to reward include stickers, movie night, ice cream or other special treats, or maybe extra play time before bed.
With a little organization, planning, creative thinking, and consultation with your child’s online teacher, this school year could be your child’s most productive school year yet. Using these eight strategies will help to make their online learning a huge success.