There are a number of reasons that bring students to online school mid-year. Perhaps the family is in transition or the student has academic, physical, or social needs that are better served through an online school.
No matter the reason, here are a few considerations to help set your student up for success.
Tips for Families Starting Online School Mid-Year
Know the Teachers
Soon after your student begins their courseware, you should be notified by their teachers and mentor. Be sure to respond to their communication. Keep their contact information close at hand. Establishing a good working relationship with the faculty of your online school will go a long way in helping your student to succeed.
Know the Courseware
The courseware you have chosen is an excellent tool in your student’s education. Take some time to sit down with your student and learn your way around the learning platform together. As you are exploring, ask yourselves these questions:
- How long will the student have to complete the course? What is the end date?
- Are there offline assignments? How are they submitted to the teacher?
- Is there an assignment list with due dates?
- What do we do if the courseware has technical difficulties?
- How will I know which assignments to do?
- What do we do if we have a question? Can I message the teacher within the system?
- What does the courseware require to operate? (e.g. operating systems, devices, browsers, cache clearing, pop-up blocking, etc.)
Online school is wonderfully flexible! Your student can learn when and where you together have determined. However, some sort of structure is helpful to most students. Families create this structure in a number of says. Some examples are: a set daily assignment list, a daily required amount of time, or a weekly percentage to be completed. If you need help, your teacher or mentor can help you to create some structure.
Online learning does cultivate independent learners but students begin at different levels of independence. It’s rare that a student can be pointed toward the computer and complete everything on time without some parental “encouragement.” Once the expectations are clear, most students grow into strongly independent, self-directed learners.
If something is preventing your student from progressing, let someone know! The quicker you bring concerns to the attention of the teacher or mentor, the quicker your student will be back on track!
Since school for your child is comprised of many hours alone in front of the computer, ensure they have opportunities to interact with other students. This need can be met through sports, clubs, and church and community opportunities. Another way this need is met is through the homeroom and club sessions offered at IVLA. Be sure your student knows when these superb learning enrichment opportunities occur and how to participate. Your mentor can help you with this.
Does your student require extra tutoring? Do they need materials for science lessons? Acquiring what is needed and making it available for your student is important to their success.
Keep your student accountable to the plan you have agreed upon! Make the most of progress updates from teachers and mentors. A good rule of thumb is: “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” If you expect your student to complete 2% of each course each week, be sure you’re checking what they are completing.
At the same time, let your student know you’re on their team – their biggest cheerleader! Accountability plus encouragement is a powerful formula for success.
International Virtual Learning Academy is a fully accredited private online school for students in grades K-12. Families choose the curriculum best for their student. Each class is supported by a highly qualified teacher; each student is supported by a mentor. Homeroom and clubs provide real-time interactive learning opportunities. Gifted and talented program. NCAA approved.