In Part 1 of this series, I talked about some things your teen can do to succeed in online high school.
Here in Part 2, I will share with you more things your teen can do including ways to organize files, tips for taking care of the PC, and how to take breaks.
Keep Files Organized
I don’t know about you, but I have gobs of files on my PCs. I bet you do too. With all of the assignments, tests, and notes your teen will get from her online classes, she will likewise have a ton of files to manage. So it’s essential for her to keep all of those files organized.
At the beginning of every semester, she should create a folder in her documents for each class she is taking. As assignments, notes, etc. come rolling in, she can put them into their designated folder. This system will make it much easier for her to find what she needs quickly.
She may want to consider backing up her assignments in another place such as a jump drive. I talk more about backing up important files in 3 Ways to Save Your Child’s Digital Work. This is so important because computers can crash or get viruses. When that happens, all work can be lost. This leads me to another important job for your teen.
Take Care of Your PC!
You may or may not already know this, but it is a tremendous hassle to re-image a computer when it gets a virus or crashes. You lose everything and have to re-install all of the extras like printer drivers, updates from Java and Microsoft, and special software your teen may need for a class. It’s really no fun.
To prevent the virus problem from infiltrating a computer, your teen should be careful of where he surfs on the web. If the PC’s antivirus warns that a site is not safe, he shouldn’t go to it.
My teens have gotten viruses from apparently innocent sites geared towards children and teens. That’s because hackers know they can easily take advantage of the ignorance of kids. That’s sad, I know. So he just should be careful of where he goes on the web.
Your teen should also be careful of emails. He shouldn’t open attachments unless he knows what they are. They often carry trojan viruses. Spam should never be opened. I have some tips on dealing with spam on Want to Stop Spam?
It’s also important for your teen to take steps to keep his PC cool. Heat is the enemy. It will slow down a computer or worse, fry its chips. There are some helpful tips in my post Keep Your PC Cool to Optimize it.
Sitting in a chair in front of a computer all day long can fry your teen’s brain. It can fry anyone’s brain. It’s also bad for your body. So here are some tips on taking a breather from the computer.
It’s a good idea for teens to take breaks regularly. I know that some teens really like to push it and stay on their computers until they get the job done, but this isn’t a very effective way to learn. Their brains need a recess from learning in order to absorb the information they studied. Plus they will be able to think more clearly and learn better after a break.
Your teen should get up and move around when taking a break. This increases blood flow to the brain. Encourage him to walk around the house or go out and get some fresh air. He’ll feel better afterward. One of my teens uses a large exercise ball for her breaks. It works really well.
How often should your teen take breaks? He should probably take a 5-10 minute break once every 50-60 minutes. A longer break at lunch is also a good idea. But your teen has to be careful that his breaks don’t get too long or he’ll fall behind which is the topic of the next section.
Don’t Get Behind!
One of the worst things your teen can do in an online school is to let himself get behind. It creates a snowball effect and before he knows it, he’s so far behind that he’ll have to do school work from 8am until midnight until he gets caught up. It’s not a pretty sight.
The most successful students know that it’s important to do the lessons daily and not skip anything unless they need help from a teacher. Teachers typically post weekly or monthly calendars so the students know exactly where they should be. Teens should do their best to stick to these schedules or occasionally work ahead if something is coming up. Slow and steady wins the race in online high school.
On the other hand, every student needs a little extra time when he struggles with a lesson now and again. That’s understandable. Or he may have some special event that cuts into his school time. Just encourage him to get caught up as soon as possible.
When it comes to doing long-term projects, inform your child of one important fact: Procrastination is the enemy! As you probably know, putting off a research paper until the end of the semester is just not a good idea. So tell your teen that it is much easier to get an early start on a paper than it is to get caught up on it at the last minute.
Consider Joining a Club
Successful teens tend to be involved in extracurricular activities. They’re a great opportunity for socializing with other teens. They are important for acceptance into college. They are asked about in job interviews. So encourage your teen to look for activities to participate in.
Fortunately, most online high schools have their own virtual clubs. I would let your teen choose a club or two that fits her interests. Just be careful that she doesn’t go overboard and sign up for so many clubs that she can’t keep up with her school work.
She might also want to consider some of the other socializing activities that I mention in Ways to Socialize Your Child. Your community probably has some wonderful opportunities for teens that can fit their unique talents and interests including church groups, choirs and plays.
In part 3, I’ll talk about what parents can do to help their teen succeed in online high school.
I hope this post was helpful for you. If you liked it, please “Like” it on the Facebook link above or share it anyway you like.