5 Ways to Overcome Your Student’s Learning Rut
Just as traditional school and homeschool students do, online school students sometimes hit a wall of frustration when schoolwork becomes particularly challenging.
If students don’t know how to appropriately handle an academic setback, they could become discouraged and get stuck in a rut. So how can you help your student overcome a hurdle in the virtual classroom? You may be surprised to learn that the key is improving his or her self-control. Research indicates that the ability to use self-control predicts grades more than any other personality trait, because it positively affects behavior and focus.
It might take some time, but your child can develop, strengthen, and maintain his or her self-control with your support and encouragement! Consider the following tips when your student is feeling unmotivated.
- Evaluate your daily habits.
Think about how you are supporting your child’s learning. If your student is in elementary or middle school, you may want to actively oversee daily lessons while he or she becomes familiar with online school and develops learning skills. High school students will most likely not need as much guidance, as they typically work independently.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Is there a dedicated space for my student to learn? Does it contain all the necessary learning materials?
- Do I look at my student’s planner for quiz, test, and portfolio due dates?
- Do I make time for activities, appointments, and assessments in my student’s calendar?
As the days go by, it’s easy to let some of these practices fall away. However, students often react to the day-to-day inconsistencies by zoning out or acting out. Adjusting your routines can make it easier to support your student and help him or her establish effective learning routines.
- Limit daily decisions.
Making many decisions in a short period of time can negatively affect a person’s ability to continue making them. Some people become so depleted from decision making that they stop making decisions altogether. You can reduce the need for you student to make decisions throughout the school day by encouraging him or her to practice constructive study habits such as taking useful notes, practicing vocabulary words, completing math practice problems, and using reading comprehension strategies. Once these study habits become a part of the daily learning routine, it will be easier for your student to jump in and complete lessons without having to think about it each time.
- Make a plan.
Students can become overwhelmed when they have a long list of complex assignments. Consider creating a scheduling plan with your student for the learning day, and break up projects into steps to make the plan as detailed as possible. For example, instead of saying, “Work on essay portfolio,” include something such as, “Write introductory paragraph.” The plan might end up being rearranged, but having a specific plan will help your student feel more confident and at ease.
- Strengthen self-control in one area.
Strengthening a child’s self-control is a gradual process, not something that can happen overnight. You can start by helping your student to improve one habit in order to see improvement in others. Think about the activities or sports that he or she enjoys as a gateway for better self-control overall. Then, talk to your student and set a challenging but achievable goal for that specific activity. After seeing improvement, you can move on to another habit or area.
- Correct behavior with consistency.
Whether you are acting as a parent or on duty as Learning Coach for a Connections Academy student, consistency is one of the most important components when it comes to correcting a child’s behavior. As long as you are consistent, you can choose any method of correction or consequence that works for you and your family. Do your best to deliver the corrections at or close to the time when your student misbehaves. Observing something today and addressing it a few days later will most likely not make much of a difference.
Staying organized, and following effective and consistent learning routines, can help your student get though a temporary learning slump!
One of the many great things about online school is that parents have more opportunities to work closely with their students and help keep them on task for a successful school year.
How do you support your student when the going gets tough? Share your experiences in the comments.