Online classes for kids are becoming increasingly popular. That said, if you’ve never taken an online class, it can be hard to know what to expect, or how to help your child make the most of it.
Here are my top three tips for parents who want to help their kids make the most of an online classroom.
1. Set expectations
First off, have some idea of what your child might be looking for when they log in. My friend Michelle sends her daughter to a charter school in New York City, where she’s taking a class on coding. Michelle wanted to help her daughter get more involved in the classroom and encouraged her to do an online class. So Michelle got some tips from her local public school and prepared her daughter. She talked about what would happen and set expectations.
Michelle told her daughter that she would only have to turn the computer on for an hour a day, or two hours a week. And that’s what happened. The girl happily logged on once a week and did her classwork.
Whatever the expectation, make that clear and achievable for you and your child. You can skip a lot of stress and frustration when your child knows exactly what to expect and how to complete required tasks.
2. Seek help
One of the most common pitfalls that parents of online students run into is that they don’t ask for help. As a new homeschool parent, I’ve done it many times. I often didn’t know what my options were for setting up my online classes. I discovered the same thing with my son after I noticed that he was struggling with his classes on-line. I didn’t know where to go to get help. Fortunately, my son’s teacher put me in touch with an exceptional special educator who turned our lives around. Be proactive If you’re going to take advantage of any online class options for your child, make sure you talk to their teacher and make sure your child is on track for this particular course.
3. Explore the platform
First, before enrolling your child in a course, it’s important to take the time to find out what platform they’re using. I’ve recently tried three different online platforms: K12, Eduport, and Schoology. They all offer free courses, although there are some great features for premium members too.
Once you’ve identified the platform your child is on, read through the course description to find out what materials will be taught. Ask your child if they’re comfortable with the course materials and where they see themselves in it. That can be a good indicator of whether your child will be able to take full advantage of the lessons, rather than feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.
A great online class is one that your child can actually participate in, and that they are engaged in and actually enjoying learning about. Even in a traditional classroom, it’s possible for some lessons to be boring and not relevant to a kid’s daily life, so the experience is important.
That said, it’s always a good idea to pick classes that are suited to your child’s interests and learning style, and get them hooked on it from the very beginning.