Students Using Online Schooling Need to Know How to Manage Their Day
There are several benefits associated with online schooling—greater flexibility and individualized lessons, for instance. The online method of education provides freedoms that many school systems do not. Even still, some students might find that learning at home and working online all day can become monotonous. This doesn’t have to be the case for your student, though.
If you plan your child’s schedule correctly, you can keep them motivated throughout their day and eager to learn and complete their lessons. We tapped the parents of students enrolled in online charter schools to find out how they break up the potential monotony of an online school day. Here are a few of their top tips.
A Semblance of a Schedule is Key…
While flexibility is one of the major reasons students and families choose online schooling, most students will benefit from some type of schedule. Consider your family’s normal routines, the hours your student seems to be most energized or focused, and any outside lessons or practices when you’re planning for the day or week. Part of your student’s schedule should include time blocks for educational fun, like museum visits and other field trips. Having a loose schedule that incorporates both studying and fun will give your student the foundation to adjust or modify their day if they do start getting bored, but still ensures they stay on track with their lessons.
…But Take Advantage of the Flexibility of Online Schooling
Most students will thrive when given a scheduled school day, but it shouldn’t be so rigid that every minute is controlled. Make sure there is enough downtime between lessons or give your student a free day every once in a while, to account for some relaxation and fun. If need be, switch subjects from morning to night, work ahead, use an extra day to catch up, or have them take their work with them while they’re on the go (whether that’s running around town or while traveling). Your student can also set their own pace, going through subjects faster or spending more time on areas where they need extra help.
Start the Day with a Heavy Hitter
Encouraging your student to tackle their most challenging subject or task at the beginning of the day will ensure it gets done and open up the rest of the day to the areas that are more enjoyable. This might vary day to day, and you can rotate the subjects based on their workload.
Plan for Breaks Throughout the Day
Typically, the brain can only keep focus on one thing for 20 minutes at a time, so as you can imagine, students need several breaks throughout the day. Use the Pomodoro Technique to build breaks into your student’s workday. Set a timer for 20 minutes and when it goes off, your student can take a 3- to 5-minute break. Repeat the process, and once four “Pomodoros” are complete, your student can take a longer rest—for 15 to 30 minutes. Incorporating this into their day will not only increase their focus, but also reduce any boredom they may face during the day.
Online students in particular should be taking a break from the computer screen. The “20-20-20” rule suggests turning away from the screen every 20 minutes, by looking at something 20 feet away, for approximately 20 seconds. This simple exercise can prevent eye strain and give students a reason to regularly get up from the computer.
Make Lunch Time Count
Of course, lunch time is the ultimate break so don’t let your student skip it! Use this time as an opportunity for your student to get outside, have some fun, or change up their scenery. If they’re studying a specific region in geography, serve them that local cuisine for the day. You can also use lunchtime for more learning—mixing ingredients can turn into a science lesson, for instance.
Create an Exciting Workspace
Give your student an exciting, engaging, and specific place to study. Make sure they have all the necessary equipment—computer, printer, headphones, calendar, pencils, notebook/sketchpad, etc.—within easy reach and decorate the space in a way that makes it visually stimulating. Put up a cork or magnetized board and let them trade out their inspiration on a weekly basis to keep things interesting.
They can even switch up studying locations altogether. For example, have them study from their workspace at home one day, the library another day, and then a local coffeehouse the next.
It’s important to note, what works for one family or student, might not work for another. Listen to and collaborate with your student and help them create a workday that keeps them excited. For more ideas and tips for online schooling, sign up for our newsletter!