Change and transition can be difficult for everyone. Moving cities, siblings going off to college, and new extracurriculars are just a few examples of changes that young students may experience.
Among these is transferring schools. Not only is it challenging for students to transfer from one public or private school to another, but it is also hard for students to move to an online school.
Online students come from both traditional classroom settings and homeschooling backgrounds.
Children transitioning to online school for the first time will need time to adjust to their online course format. The following are six tips for parents and students transitioning to online or virtual schools.
1. Let Your Student Get Adjusted
Students need plenty of time to adjust to online school. The online format can be difficult for some students to pick up on right away. Both the parent and student should have a fresh perspective on grades, GPA, and other performance measures.
You cannot have the same standards for your students as you did before when they are becoming familiar with a new method of learning.
Your involvement as a parent depends on your student’s age. Young students in first or second grade will need more assistance as they acclimate to their new online courses.
On the other hand, high school students are more independent, and therefore, they may be able to learn how to work through courses and complete assignments on their own.
2. Maintain an Open Line of Communication with Your Student
Another important way to make sure that your student is adjusting to their online school is to maintain open communication with them.
Discussing courses and encouraging them to ask questions will ensure that your student is adjusting to their online education.
Having good communication with your students right away will make them comfortable to come to you if they have any questions or are struggling with certain problems.
3. Encourage Your Student to Take Frequent Breaks
In public or private schools, students get frequent breaks, whether for lunch, recess, study hall, or homeroom. Breaks are an important part of the day for both children and parents.
Encourage your student to take frequent breaks for 15 to 30 minutes, or when they reach the end of a lesson. This will prevent your student from feeling burnt out and losing interest.
Students can take this time to go outside, get exercise, or eat a balanced lunch. Spending time doing something productive will help students refocus more quickly.
4. Implement a Routine That Fits Your Student’s Needs
One of the most appealing aspects of nontraditional schooling is the flexibility to implement schedules that work for specific students and families. You are not confined to an 8:00 to 3:30 schedule, but rather your students can complete coursework when they feel most productive.
For example, some students prefer to do schoolwork from 8:30 to 1:00 with several short breaks. Others may prefer to complete assignments in the afternoon.
The flexibility and self-paced structure of online schools allow students to “attend” school at a time of day that they feel most productive.
5. Make Sure Your Student Is Involved in Extracurriculars
Studies show that students who are involved in extracurriculars have more school engagement. This is also true for students in nontraditional schools. Being involved in sports, clubs, or lessons is a great way for students of all ages to meet friends, stay active, and practice skills like teamwork and patience.
Parents should get their students participating in extracurriculars as soon as possible. Having practices, lessons, or meetings will make the transition from their public or private school easier because they are engaging with peers regularly.
If students are old enough, they can get part-time jobs or volunteer, which teaches them many different skills, including time management, work ethic, and communication. Summer camps are also great ways for students to meet peers and learn new skills.
Having extracurricular activities to put on their résumés helps students stand out against other applicants when they apply to colleges or jobs after earning their diploma.
6. Remember That the First Year Is the Hardest
Any adjustment takes time, especially for children. Transferring to an online school from a public or private school will be difficult at first. You should work with your student to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.
The online format of the courses will take time to get familiar with. Luckily, many online schools are student-paced. Therefore, your student can get acquainted with online school without jumping in and getting overwhelmed.
The first year of online school requires patience for both parents and students. However, open communication and teamwork will ensure your student has a successful first year in an online school.