One of the beauties of an online high school – or middle school – is that your weekly schedule of when you take courses is your own to plan. But how exactly do you do that? Here are some hints…
Set up your weekly plan
At the beginning of the semester, create a master weekly plan for yourself. Block out the times when you will study each course. This could be different for each student, depending on their study habits. Here are some possible ideas:
- Every course every day: English 8 – 9, Math 9-10, Break, Science 10:30-11:30, Lunch, Social Studies 1-2, Electives 2-3
- A different course each day: Monday – English, Tuesday – Math, Wednesday- Science, Thursday – Social Studies, Friday – Electives
- A half-day block schedule: Monday AM – English, PM- Math, Tuesday AM-Social Studies, PM – Science
Whatever plan you set-up, stick to it, treating your schoolwork just as you would any job. Consistency and discipline are important. If the student has trouble doing this, ask a parent or your homeroom teacher for help.
Set up your weekly plan
Before the beginning of each week, look at all your courses to see what assignments are due. Christian Educators Academy sends each student a weekly planner. The student and/or parent can use this to write down when assignments are due. Remember, the rule is that assignments can be turned in any time in the week that they are due and still be on time. Assignment due dates can be moved from Monday to Friday, or Thursday to Tuesday, without having to ask anyone’s permission. This gives students and parents the freedom to work according to the weekly master schedule mentioned above. At the end of each week, review your progress with your parent, to see where you are, and if you need to make any adjustments.
Work Ahead if You Can
If you find that you are able to finish a subject well within the allotted time, work ahead on the next lesson if you can. This can be useful to buy a little time if you find that you are later falling behind in that subject or another subject.
If You Fall Behind…
It’s perfectly natural if occasionally there are one or two assignments that you have to leave to the next week, or else complete the following week. If you’re ahead in a subject, you can borrow time from that subject for another subject that you’re falling behind in. If you fall a week behind in all your subjects, especially if its due to a vacation or sickness, you can still easily catch-up by working a little harder – but at this point you have to work hard to catch up and not fall further behind.
If you find that you are working incredibly long hours in all your subjects, but still falling behind, that is a different problem we will talk about in a future blog. But please let your home-room teacher or one of the other school administrators know right away if this is happening.
If you do get more than two weeks behind, there are ways to catch up as we mentioned in an earlier blog. It takes planning and some discipline, but it can be done.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to always stay up to pace with the calendar. Allowing yourself to slip off the calendar and ignore it is dangerous. Even if initially you’re only a week or two behind, it is very easy to slip even further behind.
Know Your Priorities
Remember that English and Math always have the highest priority, since you need four years of each to graduate from High School. Remember that whatever English class you’re in basically determines your grade. Science and Social Studies are the second priority after Language and Math. Electives and Foreign Language are the lowest priority. If you find that you are getting behind in English or Math, you may have to re-balance your schedule to give more time to them, and less to the other subjects.
Don’t try to do just one subject at a time
Just focusing on one subject at a time quickly turns into a game of “Whack-a-mole”, where you’re always behind in something. In general we recommend that students try to work in all subjects every week, but balance their time between subjects based on their strengths and weaknesses. It’s OK to allocate a little more time to a subject that has higher priority or that you are struggling in, and a little less time to a subject that is easy for you, or that you are ahead in.
Of course, if you do get seriously behind in all subjects and are in danger of not completing any of them, your home-room teacher may recommend that you focus on just English and Math for a while. Our goal is that none of our students get to this point.
Enjoy your success!
By properly setting up and managing your course schedule, you will find that you can easily complete your courses on time, with good grades, and have time during the week to do the other things outside of school that you value and enjoy. More importantly, you will learn how to successfully manage your time, a skill which will be useful to you throughout your life in every endeavor.