Virtual learning gives students and families an astounding degree of flexibility and freedom. But the online model also requires a very different set of strategies for success. Here are several online learning strategies that we recommend:
Creating a sense of consistency and structure is important with online learning. You’ll want to find a time each day that works with your family’s schedule, and help your student to keep that appointment. Even if your family schedule skews towards the loosey goosey end of the spectrum, it’s critical to create routine for your child.
All students need structure. The great thing about a MIPS education is that you are in charge of designing a structure and schedule that works best for your family.
Where will your student do their homework? Help your student choose a dedicated space at home where they can buckle down and focus. Everyone’s a little different, but generally, this should be a space that’s comfortable, quiet, and distraction free.
Of course, not all of your student’s learning will happen in this one spot. After all, one of the great features of an online education is the freedom to work from anywhere. That being said, it’s important to have at least one space at home that’s optimized for getting things done.
Time flies when you’re having fun, and it can be extremely easy to lose track of time during the school year. At MIPS, our most successful students follow a schedule. This helps them to gauge whether or not they’re on track at any given time. Be sure to consult with your student’s teachers or mentor to craft a schedule that makes sense. This is arguably the most important strategy for online learning success.
At MIPS, we believe it’s incredibly important that our students are supported at all times. If you run into a difficult lesson, a technical issue, or a challenging life circumstance, we want to know about it! You should never feel like you’re a bother to your student’s mentor. Your mentors and teachers are committed to your success, so call, text, or email them at any time.
More than ever before, students are constantly bombarded with sparkly distractions. TV, games, friends, and the infinite scroll of social media make it impressively difficult to concentrate – even as adults.
When it’s time for your student to work, focus on weeding out as many of these distractions as possible.
Think of it like sharpening an axe: the more you sharpen the blade, the faster you’ll be able to chop wood.
Likewise, a student who is distraction-free will accomplish 10X the amount of work as a student who is constantly being yanked away to check their notifications.
Help your student to identify 2 or 3 tasks they need to prioritize for each homework session. When we don’t create specific goals, we tend to prioritize all the wrong things, and we usually neglect the most challenging items. With specific goals for each study session, your student will see real progress every day, and will have an easier time staying on top of their homework.
Note: try not to “prioritize” 17 different tasks for one study session. When we have unrealistic goals, we often have trouble accomplishing any of them. The idea is to create 2 or 3 reasonable goals for each session, and to concentrate on finishing.
Be sure to recognize and reinforce your student’s effort and ability to meet daily/weekly goals. Younger students often enjoy placing small stickers on a chart each time they finish a task. Older students appreciate recognition as well.
Parents can check on their student’s progress using the online parent portal for the designated platform. Check each day or even at the end of each week and acknowledge their hard work by praising their effort rather than their intellect, planning a special outing, letting them choose their favorite meal for dinner, writing them an encouraging note, or doing anything else that lets students know that you notice and care about their success.