Setting up a regular review process…
Bill Zabor, MSEE/BSEE/MBA, Business Manager at CEA.
An online high school program has offers tremendous benefits and flexibility for students with serious outside commitments, such as sports, music, drama and dance. Even for students who are just working part-time or have a hobby they want to actively pursue, being able to set their own schedule is a tremendous advantage. With online high school time management is an important thing for students to recognize.
However with the wonderful freedom that online education offers, there also comes added responsibilities. Students have to set up a schedule and stick to it. Some students excel at this naturally, while others still need a little help from mom and dad or their teachers. As the parent of an online student, what can you do to ensure that your young adult is successful? Here are some helpful suggestions.
If your student is transitioning to online from another venue – public school, private school or homeschool – recognize that online is a different environment, and that it is a transition. It is different from other venues, and there may be an adjustment process. Understanding that is one thing, successfully managing the transition is another. For the first semester, monitor your student closely to see how they are doing. At Christian Educators Academy, we recommend that students put in at least 2.5 hours per course, or 15 hours total, per week. Make sure they are putting in the necessary learning time; that they are staying reasonably current to their schedule, and that they are not having any issues. For a students who are new to online, avoid the temptation to load up on heavy classes or take-on a super challenging workload the first semester. Make sure they are comfortable with the transition and are reasonably proficient at managing their schedule and responsibilities first.
Once your student has successfully made the transition to online, match the intensity of the monitoring process to the student. The secret here is to know your child. Some students manage their responsibilities and schedule extremely well with little outside aid. Other students need some support, some students need lots of support. Match the level of support to their needs, and allow it to lessen over time as they progress. Recognize that responsibilities and online high school time management are their own separate skills, independent from academics. A person can be an A-student and still need help with time management and self-discipline. A person who has done well in a traditional school environment may need time and support to successfully handle the added responsibilities that come with an online setting.
The best way to teach your children responsibility and online high school time management is to model it by doing it yourself, and monitoring their online progress is a great venue for demonstrating this. Set up a regular time every week when you sit down with them and go over their progress. It doesn’t have to take long – 5 or 10 minutes can suffice – or be onerous. Be objective and follow the same procedure every week.
At Christian Educators Academy, we believe that a good monitoring program consists of 3 parts. The first part is objective data gathering – looking at reports such as actual time spent in lessons, progress against the calendar. The purpose of this is to give you an accurate, un-biased indicator of where your student actually is. The second part is asking your student how they are doing – this gives the “soft side” of the story and is useful for identifying motivational or behavioral issues that need to be addressed. The third part is your own observations from time to time of how your student is doing. From time to time, check up on your student, see if they are indeed working when they supposed to be. Make sure they are actually in their lessons, and not just spending time online.