Online learning and homeschooling is all about learning when you want, and how you want. It’s a flexible education system that allows the student to learn in the way that is best suited to them.This flexibility lends to online students getting to take the reigns of their education. It’s easy to get caught up in helping your child organize themselves and making sure that they are on task. In fact, this is encouraged — however, online learning is the perfect opportunity to give your student the chance to take responsibility for their education, and really display independence.
Here’s how you can help your online learner gain independence in their home and virtual classroom:
Allow Them To Make Mistakes
We know, and you know, that mistakes are a part of life. A great way for students to learn is to make mistakes. If you see your student miss-managing their time, give them a chance to rectify their strategy, or when you do step in, encourage them to find a solution on their own. Learning is about trial and error!
Let Them Organize Their Day
There are so many tools to help students organize their day. Whether they want to keep organized with an agenda and notebook, or prefer to use an app to map out their days, let your older students take responsibility for their tasks and schedule.
Encourage Them To Make Their Own Meals
While we understand not wanting your child to operate a stove or oven on their own, there are plenty of recipes that involve fresh ingredients like salads and healthy sandwiches. Plus, there are things like mushrooms and eggs that you can cook the night before, for your student to put together their lunch the following day!
Make Them The Master Of Their Work Space
We’ve already stressed the importance of a personalized work-space. This space is integral to your child’s learning as it’s their own private classroom. Allow them to organize their space with personal items, and decide how to sort out their supplies and textbooks. They know better than anyone what they need in the space to make the most of their experience, so allow them to keep their own space organized, clean, and stocked with the materials they need.
Have Them Ask Questions
Independence doesn't mean having all the answers -- it just means knowing when to ask an important question. Encourage them to try to find the answer first, but make sure they know that you don’t expect them to figure everything out on their own!
Let Them Plan Ahead For Their Next Day
Why make a schedule for your online student when they know how they work best? Give them time at the end of their school day to map out what they need to do the following day. This not only teaches them how to plan their day, but to actually plan their entire week! Sometimes things come up and giving them this freedom will help them learn how to adapt to additional tasks.
Allow Them To Schedule Their Play Dates
Everyone loves a good playdate, so why not let your student plan their own? This will help them with phone courtesy when calling their friend’s parent to coordinate, and will encourage them to take responsibility for their own plans! Of course you and the other parents will both need to agree that the playdate works for both parties, but allow your child to work out when and where.
It’s Okay To Check In
Just because your online learner is independent doesn’t mean they won’t need assistance. It’s natural to want to help your child, so do just that! If you see they are struggling to manage their homework, or can’t stick to a schedule they gave themselves, lend a hand! Sit with them, give some pointers — then allow them to try and execute the advice on their own.