Parent Involvement in Blended Learning High School
When neither a traditional nor fully online education is the right fit for a student, some families opt for blended learning at the high school level. For the student, blended learning offers the best of online learning and face-to-face instruction, as well as opportunities to socialize and collaborate with their peers. What surprises many families is that parents also benefit from the change, because blended learning provides many ways to become more involved in their child’s education.
An Emphasis on Accountability
At blended high schools such as Nexus Academy, students attend school in person four half-days per week, either in the morning or afternoon. The rest of the time, they work independently at home. In addition to making sure their student has reliable transportation and attends school regularly, it’s important for parents to hold their blended learning students accountable for focusing on their studies during those at-home hours.
Parents need to let their students know that they will also be held accountable for completing assignments on time and maintaining acceptable grades. Naturally, these reminders should be delivered with a healthy dose of encouragement!
Know Your Student’s Studies
Because the curriculum in a blended learning school is digital, parents have easy access to their student’s learning materials 24/7. They can easily keep tabs on what a student is learning, and in the unlikely event that a teenager should admit that he or she needs help, the online texts are available for reference. A teacher’s lessons from the online classroom may also be recorded and available online for review. An added bonus: with a digital curriculum, students can never say, “I left my math homework at school!”
Staying Informed of Student Progress
As any parent knows, nothing makes a teen clam up faster than asking, “What’s happening at school?” You are lucky if you receive any response at all! But with blended learning, parents can use their user name and password to log in to the blended high school’s education management system and find tons of information.
Although computer systems do vary by school, typically a parent will have access to a student’s lessons and schedule, including information about quizzes, tests, and project due dates. A student’s grade book will provide information on his or her progress. It is available at any time, allowing a parent to see if help is needed and to intervene immediately, rather than waiting for a report card at the end of the semester. If needed, teacher contact information is also available online. Best of all, all of this information is readily available without venturing into the secret depths of a teenager’s backpack!
Connecting with the School
The online format of blended learning streamlines communications between the parent and the school. Rather than rely on a student to bring home information, messages can be delivered directly to parents electronically. This ensures that parents who log into the school’s system regularly will receive information about school events, field trips, college visits, counseling sessions, and more.
Parents can also stay in touch with teachers, school counselors, and administrators electronically, using email or setting up a convenient time for a face-to-face or telephone meeting.
At blended learning high schools—as in any school—parents are an important part of the team that supports each student’s learning. If you’ve gotten involved in your high school student’s education, what hints can you offer other parents just beginning the journey? Share your ideas in the comments below.