In order for your teen to achieve success in a virtual high school, he will need to take a slightly different approach than he would in a brick-and-mortar school.
Here are some steps your teen can take to succeed in online high school.
Teens need to have goals. They need to know where they’re going with their lives. It gives them purpose and keeps them motivated when the going gets tough. Without goals, teens tend to wander aimlessly through high school.
Teens should set goals for themselves. It gives them a sense of ownership. The goals should be both long-term and short-term. A long-term goal might be graduating from high school, attending college or vocational school, or getting a job. A short-term goal might include getting an “A” on a test or quiz, completing an assignment on time, or getting help from a teacher.
It’s highly effective to have teens set goals for grades at the beginning of each semester. It’s quite easy to do. Simply have your teen write down his classes on a post it note. Then tell him to write the grade he wants to get for each class next to it. This note should go on his computer where he can see it every day.
Before you do this, you’ll want have a positive talk with him about why good grades are important to his future. Without that understanding, he’ll see no purpose in trying for good grades.
I know we all want our teens to be “A” students, but realize that for some classes, B’s and C’s may be OK. That’s because some teens struggle in certain subjects. For that reason, it is good to let him know that you love him no matter what his grades are. This will help him feel more comfortable about putting down the grades that he desires.
Back to what I was saying about goals. Goals should be written down and put in a location where they can be easily seen. This is a great daily motivator. They can be put on computers, in planners, on cork boards, or anywhere they can be seen while your teen does his school work.
Have a System
Successful high school students have some kind of system for staying organized. It’s the only way to keep from forgetting things like assignments, classroom discussions, and online class sessions.
Some students use planners to stay organized. It’s a good place to write down upcoming due dates, class sessions, and any tasks that need to be done.
Others prefer to use a calendar on their computer like Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar. I have instructions on how to set up these handy tools on this post: How to Keep From Forgetting Online Class Sessions and Assignments.
Connect With Teachers
It takes teamwork to be successful in an online school. Your teen’s teachers are a valuable part of that team. Here are some suggestions on how your teen can make positive connections with his teacher.
It’s really important for your teen to make a good first impression with his teachers. It can set the tone for the rest of the year. Usually teachers will ask their students to send an email at the beginning of the year that describes themselves. Encourage your teen to share his talents and interests.
Urge your teen to seek help from his teacher when he gets stuck with something. It can seem a little intimidating at first to ask an online teacher for help, but they are usually more than happy to assist. Don’t let your teen put off asking for help or it could put him behind in his class.
You probably already know this, but it’s wise to encourage your teen to communicate in a positive, polite way. Teens don’t always realize when they are speaking to someone in a negative way. Emails can be misinterpreted because you can’t see the face of the person you are communicating with. So your teen will need to be a little careful with what words he uses in emails.
Attend Online Class Sessions
Teachers regularly host online class sessions. These sessions are usually beneficial for a number of reasons such as:
- It gives teens a chance to connect with other classmates.
- Teachers often go over difficult concepts.
- Teens sometimes get to work with classmates on a project or series of questions in break out rooms.
- Science labs are sometimes demonstrated.
- Teachers will review for quizzes or tests.
- Teachers will sometimes give extra credit for attending.
These online classes are usually recorded so that students can go back and watch them later. While your teen may not be able to attend every single session, he should consider going to as many as you and he feels he needs. His grades are a good determination of whether he needs to attend a session which leads me to the next point…
Keep an Eye on the Grades
Ahhh…grades. The source of much enjoyment or anxiety to parents and students alike. Fortunately, with an online school, you and your teen can see his grades with the click of a mouse.
I would highly recommend that your teen keep a close eye on his grades. It helps to prevent unpleasant surprises. He should look in the online gradebook for each subject at least once or twice a week. That way he’ll know if he accidentally forgot an assignment or if he needs to get some extra credit. Now speaking of extra credit…
Extra credit is one of your teen’s best friends in an online school. That’s because the grades in some subjects are driven more heavily by quizzes and tests than by assignments. So if your teen gets some poor scores on quizzes and tests, extra credit can help make up for those little blunders.
Watch For Technology Glitches
I know you probably find this hard to believe, but technology can blunder too. That’s why your teen should check to make sure that assignments he submitted went through. Weird things can happen with quizzes and tests too which is why I recommended checking the gradebook frequently.
That’s it for Part 1 of this series. Here’s Part 2.
Did you find this post helpful? If so, I encourage you to share it with others so that they can help their teens succeed in online high school.