Tips for Students
1. Be positive.
Thriving through a change is tough but doable with a positive attitude. A positive attitude about online learning is the best gift you can give yourself. Everything you learn, whether it’s your most favorite or least favorite subject, will help you grow as a person.
2. Get organized—and stay organized.
Creating an orderly learning space to do schoolwork will put you ahead of the game. Be sure you have room for your books, computer, pens, paper, and other supplies. Label folders to hold papers and notes for each subject. Go ahead and create electronic folders for each class on your computer and in your email program. If your virtual school provides an online planner, use it to schedule your personal appointments and create your “to do” list, with items ranked in order of urgency.
3. Establish a flexible routine.
While online school and blended learning school do give you a more flexible schedule, having a routine will help keep you on track with your schoolwork. It’s a good idea to find out when your teachers have their office hours, so you can arrange your schedule to overlap with when they are available. Naturally, you can vary your schedule when needed.
4. Set personal goals.
To make great things happen in your life, it helps to set goals for yourself. Think about what you’d like to accomplish, both short and long term. Is there a class you want to ace this semester? Maybe you want to get a certain grade point average or achieve a certain score on the SAT exams. Preparing for college and getting admission into a specific college might also be on your list. Be sure to put your goals in writing and post the list where you’ll see it often.
5. Make the most of your resources.
As an online or blended learning student, you have many helpful resources available. Naturally, your texts, the library, online instructional tools, and trusted websites come to mind. But don’t forget the many human resources you can use: parents, teachers, school counselors, and principals are great sources of information. A good rule of thumb is if you’ve been looking for an answer for more than five minutes, reach out for help!
6. Start on track and stay on track.
It’s always better to be ahead than to be struggling at the last minute! Break down big projects into small, manageable parts—and give each one a deadline. Don’t drag your feet—make yourself do things on time and you’ll be better off in the long run.
7. Exercise with friends online.
Middle and high school students will spend a lot of time online—completing lessons, chatting with peers, and touching base with their online teachers. So scheduling physical fitness into the day is also important. Physical exercise can boost mood, energy, and brainpower. Your student won’t even have to leave the living room with the many online exercise videos available on social channels like Instagram and YouTube.
8. Learn to deal with setbacks.
Everyone has them! Every person who succeeds has had to struggle to get there. When you get a bad grade, have an argument with a friend, or experience other frustrations, realize that this is a learning experience. Talk to someone to get another point of view—you could be worried about something that’s pretty small in the long run. To move forward, you must take responsibility for what you’ve done (or not done) and decide to change your behavior in the future. Making a plan for achieving greater success in the future will help you build confidence too!
Tips for Parents
Find a good spot at home where each kid can work, even if it is different sides of a room. If doing synchronous learning (video chats) try to give as much of their own space as possible with a good background (ie: wall) where nobody is walking behind them. Earbuds are a helpful tool as well.
Help them write out a schedule for the week and know how they are going to class. Make sure they know their teacher(s) name(s).
Read the emails from teachers with them. Make sure you know how to get in contact with teachers and for older students when their office hours are.
Don't go to class with your kid (unless asked or invited). You wouldn't if school was in-person. Give them their space to be a student and make mistakes. That is where the learning happens.
Be patient with everyone- this will be new and different for all of us. However, if your kid is struggling, encourage your older kids to privately let their teacher know. You can follow up as well or for the little kids you should reach out with concerns. Always try to start with the teacher- but if it isn't working, follow the chain of command. You build credibility that way. Remember- you and the teachers are partners in this work.
Check in with your kid each day. Ask them three questions: one specific thing you enjoyed or learned, one area you struggled or didn't like the experience, and what are you looking foward to tomorrow. "Nothing" is an acceptable answer for all 3. Try to at least get an answer for each of the 3 throughout the week.