A Parent’s Guide to Successful Online Learning

child on computer

By Cassandra Fields
On July 20th, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Rucie recommended that all Broward students begin the year with online learning only. 

“If conditions do not improve and continue to worsen, that is the only way we can educate our students while keeping them and our teachers healthy and safe,” Rucie commented, during the 8-minute address. 

It is almost certain that part or all of every student’s course work at the beginning of the school year will consist of at-home, online studies. We surveyed experts to find best practices to ensure your student will be as successful as possible. Here is what they recommend.

1.   Location, Location, Location

It is important to establish a consistent routine for your child’s work. Roaming around the house with a laptop or taking ZOOM classroom instruction at the park may seem like fun, but a lack of consistency can lead to distraction. Have your student use the same, quiet place for his/her work each day.

2.   Schedule Priorities

Maintaining a regular schedule is critical in establishing a healthy learning routine. Like, having a consistent location, “going to school” at the same time each day reinforces the importance of learning.

3.   Say No to Phones

Perhaps the biggest challenge parents face with online learning is the fact that the primary tool kids use to learn can also be their biggest distraction. Anything connected to the web can be a source of constant distraction. The dopamine feedback mechanisms students get from social media fuel their yearning for more, just like an addiction. Unless your student needs his phone for the coursework at hand, it is best to take it into a different room

4.   Inspect, Don’t Expect

Unless your child is incredibly organized, mature, and goal-oriented, it will be extremely difficult for her to stay on track remotely. The ever-present guidance of an involved-teacher simply won’t be there. Parents must be more engaged with their children’s coursework today than ever before. The good news is, most schools online tools available for parents to track their kids’ progress in real-time. It’s a good idea to review your student’s work on a weekly basis, or more often.

5.   Open Lines of Communication

Our “new normal” of education is new to teachers too. More than ever they will need candid, frequent feedback from parents. Make it your mission to have two-way communication on how things are going, and how your child is performing.

During these times of great uncertainty it’s our duty as parents to make sure our children don’t lose this precious learning time. Hopefully, by the end of the year, our kids will be back in school full-time.