4 Keys to Establishing Schedules and Routines for Online Students
If you’re new to virtual school or considering making a midyear switch, you probably have some questions about organizing your child’s learning day at home. But you can put your mind at ease and your list of questions down, because online students have some flexibility to structure their school schedule in a way that works best for them!
At most virtual schools, as long as your online student keeps up with lessons and schoolwork, remains on track to complete the school year, and meets the number of learning hours required by the state,* there is no right or wrong school schedule. Before you begin organizing and creating an online school schedule, here are four important things to keep in mind:
Try different schedules until you find one that works.
If you create a schedule that doesn’t seem to be working well for your student, don’t give up! Try sampling different schedules during a school week to see which one is the most successful and beneficial for your child. It might take several attempts, but finding a routine that complements your child’s learning style and interests will feel incredibly rewarding. There is no pressure or rush to have the online school system figured out right away, as the staff and teachers understand that families will need some time to adjust.
Incorporate your student’s interests into the schedule.
Since the learning day can be personalized in online school, talk to your child about how he or she would like the school schedule to be organized. You may not agree with his or her suggestions, but the two of you can work together and come to a schedule negotiation. Start by asking about course preferences. For example, if your student’s favorite subject is English, consider putting that course first in the schedule—it can be a positive and motivating way to start the day! Try placing the least preferred course in the middle of the day after a break when your child has more energy to tackle it.
Make time for enjoyable hobbies.
If your student is involved in sports, clubs, or other fun activities, make sure to take those into account when you start making a plan for the online learning day. With the scheduling flexibility provided by virtual school, students even have the option to participate in daytime activities and may have the option of completing some schoolwork in the evenings or on the weekends. On a day when your child has a long practice, meeting, or rehearsal, you can help ensure that he or she is not overscheduled by planning a light learning day. He or she can then follow a more extensive school schedule on a different day of the week.
Just as anyone who spends a long period of time on a task or assignment may grow weary, students can quickly lose interest and steam if they don’t stop to reenergize their brain every once in a while. Add breaks throughout the schedule and encourage your student to do something relaxing such as going for a walk outside, eating a snack, or reading a magazine. At Connections Academy, Learning Coaches help keep the learning day productive by breaking it up. Even if it’s just a five-minute break, it can really make a difference in your child’s energy level!
With your help, your child can follow a flexible, customized, and productive school schedule at home! To learn how currently enrolled families at Connections Academy structure their day, check out this video:
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How do you organize your child’s learning day at home? Share your story with us in the comments.
*Parents should check the school handbook or other resources to determine the number of weekly learning hours and attendance policies required by their state, district, or school.