Learn the ABCs of the Virtual School Experience
One of the first things that young students learn is the alphabet, or ABCs. If you’re new to online education or are considering online school as a school option for your child, then familiarizing yourself with the ABCs of virtual school is a great place to start!
Below, you’ll find the alphabet from A to Z, with each letter describing an important part of the virtual school experience. Take a look at each concept and visit some resources on the subject.
A is for autonomy. Virtual school is a great environment for gaining independence because students have the chance to develop independent study skills early on. As students get older, they learn to be self-motivated students who are well prepared for adulthood.
B is for bullying prevention. No one should have to fear going to school, and that’s why Connections Academy takes bullying prevention seriously. Virtual school offers a safe learning environment that allows students to thrive academically and develop positive social relationships.
C is for certified teachers. Parents don’t have to doubt the quality of teaching in online school—all virtual school instructors are state certified. Besides leading each lesson, teachers work one-on-one with students on a regular basis to provide an individualized learning experience.
D is for dedication. Virtual schools are not unsupervised self-study programs. A parent or trusted adult monitors student progress in the home throughout the day and works with certified teachers who direct instruction. Attending an online school requires equal dedication from the parent and student. Parents must dedicate themselves and their time to the academic and emotional needs of their child. Because virtual school requires students to be more self-motivated and independent, one of the most important traits that online students need to have is dedication.
E is for educational activities. Successful learning engages the student, and one way to boost engagement is to add crafts, experiments, and more to the weekly schedule. These types of educational activities can reinforce important concepts, break up the school day, and get the whole family involved.
F is for flexibility. Virtual school offers more flexible scheduling than traditional brick-and-mortar schools allow. Within certain limitations, Learning Coaches and students can arrange the virtual school schedule to suit the needs of the student and family.
G is for goals. Goal setting is key to developing a personalized academic road map and achieving success in virtual school. Goals help students stay motivated and strengthen their resolve. To set and achieve goals successfully, online school students must learn how to meet deadlines for both short-term and long-term goals.
H is for health and wellness. Students with health concerns choose virtual school for its flexibility and individualized support. Besides accommodating student health issues, virtual school promotes wellness by offering several physical education options that fit each child’s physical abilities and personal preferences.
I is for parent involvement. The desire to have greater involvement in their child’s education is one of the main reasons that parents choose online school. As Learning Coaches, parents get involved in their child’s education. Virtual school also gives families more time to spend together.
J is for job preparation. Preparing for the future is an important part of online high school, and that includes college preparation and career exploration. Career Technical Education (CTE) classes are offered to help students explore different disciplines, and school counselors provide college resources and assistance with postsecondary planning.
K is for kindness. Students in virtual school learn to recognize the needs of others by volunteering. Compassion, civility, and kindness are all positive character traits that students can develop in a virtual school environment.
L is for Learning Coach. The person who supports the child’s education in the home is called a Learning Coach. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of an online Learning Coach is one key to student success in virtual school.
M is for motivation. Helping students become self-motivated learners is a process that takes time and patience. Whenever parents or Learning Coaches find themselves in the situation where a simple pep talk or inspirational quotes don’t seem to work, they can use the 9-step motivation model to guide students to identify, analyze, diagnose, and solve their own issues. Letting students take control of their problem solving builds intrinsic motivation, which is important for long-term success.
N is for nature. Students don’t have to stay cooped up inside when they attend school from home. Virtual school offers outdoor learning activities to help students build nature smarts. For example, they can try this leaf chemistry experiment to find out why leaves change color.
O is for organization. One of the most important responsibilities of a Learning Coach is to provide the organization and structure that students need to excel. Making a family plan for virtual school will not only keep you on the path toward being a successful Learning Coach but will also help your students develop effective habits by making organization part of their daily learning routine. After all, an organized mind—and an organized home classroom—keeps growing students on task.
P is for personalized learning. In virtual school, students work closely with their teachers and Learning Coaches. At the beginning of the year, teachers also create personalized learning plans to meet student’s individual strengths and needs. Advanced students who want to learn at a faster pace have the option to take gifted and honors courses or Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
R is for responsibility. Virtual school students develop a stronger sense of responsibility as they become more independent. And as students grow personally and academically, they develop real-life literacy skills on their way toward becoming adults.
S is for socialization. There are plenty of ways to socialize in virtual school, but it does take effort. While local community engagements and family relationships help maintain socially balanced life outside of school, students can get involved in online clubs and activities and field trips coordinated by the school. In addition, students with special talents can connect in specialty academies promoting STEM skills, visual and performing arts, or student athletes.
T is for time management. Making virtual school a success takes time management as well as motivation and organization. Students use time management when they develop scheduling skills or set deadlines to complete a large project over time.
U is for unique needs. Students who have unique interests and goals can adjust their virtual schooling to meet specific needs. For example, student athletes can schedule lessons before or after practice. Virtual school can also be a good fit for students who are gifted, struggling, formerly bullied, performers, and more.
V is for virtual classroom. The virtual classroom connects students to licensed and certified teachers. LiveLesson® technology re-creates the lively, real-time interactions of a traditional classroom in an online setting and allows students to interact and collaborate with each other, empowering them to become active learners.
X is for eXtracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities including volunteer work, sports, and online clubs that help students explore their interests in new ways. Students who enjoy reading can join the Book Club, Poetry Club, or Student Literary Magazine. Music is another interest students can pursue beyond the virtual classroom.
Y is for digital yearbooks. Online school puts a unique spin on school traditions such as the yearbook. With a digital yearbook, each student can contribute by submitting photos online. Students can try these great tips for taking virtual school yearbook photos.
Z is for comfort zone. Learning from home may be comfortable, but in the beginning, virtual school challenges students, parents, and teachers to leave their comfort zones. Whether your child is hesitant to leave behind his or her classmates at the local school or you have concerns about virtual school, teachers are an important partner in helping you find your new comfort zone.
What would you add to the ABCs of virtual school? Share what’s important to you and your family.