As I said last week, the biggest hurdle my son had to overcome when switching to online school was the time management piece of it. If you are going to an online school because you need flexibility in your schedule, this can also be your downfall. It’s really easy to put things off for another day if your day is packed with other activities, especially if these activities are taking place when you’d normally be at school. Soon, one day becomes a week, and a week becomes weeks, and all of the sudden there are two weeks left of the semester, and you have a TON of work to complete. Most of the time with online school, you can’t move on to the next lesson until the current one has been graded, so leaving things to the last minute likely means you won’t have success.
The school will give you an idea of how much work you need to complete on average each week, often in the form of a percentage. Many of them will also send parents an email weekly with the progress that has been made, and sometimes individual teachers will also send emails or text messages. They want you to succeed, but it is up to the student to take some responsibility here.
Make yourself a schedule and understand you can adjust it once you figure out how much time things take you. Schedule a bit of padding in case your technology fails or in case something comes up. Remember that other kids your age are in school during school hours, so this is the ideal time to also get your school work done so you are free at the same times they are. If the hockey schedule doesn’t allow that, try to get as close as you can. Your social life will thank you for that.
There are also a lot more distractions at home. At a traditional school, you’d get in trouble for having your phone out during class, but that’s not the case with online school. Set yourself up with a dedicated space for school work. Put your phone away, and just get your work done. If you have your work done, no one is going to have any reason to hassle you. By the time second semester rolled around, my son had figured out that if he worked hard and got all his work done early in the semester, he’d be done by the time the weather was nice, and he could enjoy it.
Parents, don’t get too hung up on how much time it’s taking your kiddo unless they aren’t making progress. If you take all the extra crap out of school that isn’t the actual teaching and work, it’s really not that much time. It doesn’t mean they aren’t getting what they need if they finish that math class in two weeks. It means they mastered what the state says they should master. If they’re struggling, that’s no problem either. My son never had an issue getting help from his teachers. Most of them were available via email, Skype, Zoom, or a phone call, and were more than happy to help.
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