7 Ways to Get Prepared for a New Year of Online Homeschool
Online homeschool is amazing because you will likely have people and resources available to help you figure out what your child needs to learn to be on track. Still, there are some things you can do to make sure you are prepared for the coming year.
First, help your child choose his or her classes. While core classes will usually be required, your student has a lot of options when it comes to choosing electives. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:
- Student Interests. This may be obvious, but when choosing courses with your child take some time to discover what he or she is interested in learning about. Interest and curiosity are some of the best motivations. Also if your choices are driven by student interest, they are more likely to be relevant to that student’s future career path.
- Offline Opportunities. While your child’s work will be mostly completed online, he or she may have opportunities to take electives away from the computer. Your student could potentially earn credit for any number of activities in the community or at home that are contributing to his or her learning objectives. If your online homeschool allows offline electives, your options are wide open!
- Preparing for the Future. Make sure you find out which courses your child needs in order to graduate high school, get into college, or even get start taking college courses while still in high school. Take a look at this “Home School Student’s Guide to College Admissions” for some ideas on what kinds of things your child can do to make sure he or she is ready for the next step.
Make a Schedule
There are a couple of different schedules you can create that will help your student be focused and plan ahead throughout the school year.
For daily school work, it is important to set aside 1–2 hours for each subject. This should lend some force of habit to help motivate your child to stay focused. It is important to note that not every student will thrive with a daily schedule. Some may do better with a weekly schedule where they can focus on fewer subjects for a longer period of time each day.
The other kind of schedule that is definitely important to make is your annual schedule, which includes travel plans, sport competitions, and any other activities that are not a normal part of your weekly schedule. Write down as many of these things as you know of on the calendar so that, if your child has to miss school, he or she can plan to do a little more work to stay on track in the weeks before and after the scheduled event or trip.
Prepare a Work Area
Having a work environment that works well for your child can go a long way in helping him or her to stay motivated. Consult your children for ideas on things that may help them focus and reach their highest potential. Check out these six tips to design the best learning environment for your child.
Check Technology Requirements
Your online homeschool likely has specific technology requirements that you’ll need to have to run the curriculum software. Here are a few things to check on to make sure you have the best access possible to the online curriculum:
- Make sure you are using a computer that is recommended and running well. If you want to do school on a phone or tablet, check with the online school to make sure those devices are supported.
- You will probably need access to a high-speed internet connection for online homeschool. If you have satellite internet, check with the school to make sure everything will still work properly.
- Check if a certain browser tends to work better than others. This can make a huge difference! Be sure to keep your browsers up to date and periodically clear the browser’s cache and cookies.
Buy School Supplies
Before you get too far into your classes, make sure you have all the supplies your student will need. It’s a major bummer when you get to a point in a course where you can’t move forward until you manage to go buy that book! Picking out school supplies can also be a fun activity to do with your kids. Consider stopping for a little treat to make it a festive outing!
Discuss Academic Honesty with Your Child
Being online presents some temptations that kids in a classroom may not have to deal with. Even honest kids can fall into a habit of borrowing information from online sources when they should be doing their own thinking.
While many online teachers have been trained in recognizing plagiarism and making sure students understand what is cheating and what isn’t, you can help prevent this situation by reinforcing these concepts with your child before cheating becomes a problem.
Here are a couple articles to help you discuss cheating and plagiarism with your child:
- Here are some general parenting ideas for encouraging kids to be academically honest.
- Here is a resource describing the ins and outs of plagiarism, which details common ways in which students can plagiarize on accident. Even when they aren’t cutting and pasting a whole essay, plagiarizing can still happen when quotes and ideas aren’t properly attributed.
Celebrate the New School Year
Starting school is a good thing! Help make it exciting by kicking off the year with a celebration. Here are 10 ways to celebrate the new school year from Scholastic.
Perhaps you haven’t settled on an online homeschool program yet. In that case, consider enrolling with Enlightium Academy, an accredited Pre-K–12 online Christian school that equips students to become Christian leaders who trust in God’s plan while allowing them to work at their own pace through an individualized curriculum on a flexible schedule with one-on-one teacher support.