If this is your first experience with distance learning and you’re unsure of how to structure your days for success, as a parent, you’ll want to be active early on to make sure your student adopts good habits to succeed in online learning.

Then, with the right routines established, you’ll know it’s working when your middle or high school student is working more and more independently.

Here are some tips to share with your virtual school or blended learning student to help ensure his or her success:

1. Be positive.

Thriving through a change is tough but doable with a positive attitude. A positive attitude about online learning is the best gift you can give yourself. Everything you learn, whether it’s your most favorite or least favorite subject, will help you grow as a person.

2. Get organized—and stay organized.

Creating an orderly learning space to do schoolwork will put you ahead of the game. Be sure you have room for your books, computer, pens, paper, and other supplies. Label folders to hold papers and notes for each subject. Go ahead and create electronic folders for each class on your computer and in your email program. If your virtual school provides an online planner, use it to schedule your personal appointments and create your “to do” list, with items ranked in order of urgency.

3. Establish a flexible routine.

While online school and blended learning school do give you a more flexible schedule, having a routine will help keep you on track with your schoolwork. It’s a good idea to find out when your teachers have their office hours, so you can arrange your schedule to overlap with when they are available. Naturally, you can vary your schedule when needed.

4. Set personal goals.

To make great things happen in your life, it helps to set goals for yourself. Think about what you’d like to accomplish, both short and long term. Is there a class you want to ace this semester? Maybe you want to get a certain grade point average or achieve a certain score on the SAT exams. Preparing for college and getting admission into a specific college might also be on your list. Be sure to put your goals in writing and post the list where you’ll see it often.

5. Make the most of your resources.

As an online or blended learning student, you have many helpful resources available. Naturally, your texts, the library, online instructional tools, and trusted websites come to mind. But don’t forget the many human resources you can use: parents, teachers, school counselors, and principals are great sources of information. A good rule of thumb is if you’ve been looking for an answer for more than five minutes, reach out for help!

6. Start on track and stay on track.

It’s always better to be ahead than to be struggling at the last minute! Break down big projects into small, manageable parts—and give each one a deadline. Don’t drag your feet—make yourself do things on time and you’ll be better off in the long run.

7. Exercise with friends online.

Middle and high school students will spend a lot of time online—completing lessons, chatting with peers, and touching base with their online teachers. So scheduling physical fitness into the day is also important. Physical exercise can boost mood, energy, and brainpower. Your student won’t even have to leave the living room with the many online exercise videos available on social channels like Instagram and YouTube.

8. Learn to deal with setbacks.

Everyone has them! Every person who succeeds has had to struggle to get there. When you get a bad grade, have an argument with a friend, or experience other frustrations, realize that this is a learning experience. Talk to someone to get another point of view—you could be worried about something that’s pretty small in the long run. To move forward, you must take responsibility for what you’ve done (or not done) and decide to change your behavior in the future. Making a plan for achieving greater success in the future will help you build confidence too!

Following these tips will help students get the most out of their online classes. With these suggestions, virtual school or blended learning school students can become independent learners and gain valuable time-management skills that will serve them well—in high school, in college, and in the workforce!

Author: Stephanie Becker

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