Online learning offers students the opportunity to create their own learning schedule and routine. However, some students may struggle to create a working schedule. They may end up procrastinating their work, spending time on social media or binge watching Netflix. How can students set themselves up for success with a learning routine that works for them, and how can parents support this process for their students?
Embrace Flexible Scheduling
A flexible schedule gives students a lot of freedom, but they need to understand that flexibility is freedom to create their own schedule - not freedom from a schedule! Students can work with parents, teachers, and supportive school staff members at their online school to set a schedule that actually works for them. The schedule must allow for flexibility - students don’t have to work during “normal” school hours, but they do have to set aside some time to get work done. This can be every day or even every other day, but students will do better in their classes if they have set work times. This schedule can adjust with the student. For instance, an athlete may have two types of routines - one for their “off season” and one for their intense season of competition.
How often students create a schedule can also be flexible. Some students may need to set up a schedule each week, based on their work schedule or other responsibilities. Students who may be experiencing health issues or who have a child may need to begin each day by setting up an optimal schedule just for that day. At the end of the day, they can revisit their plan and see what worked that day, giving themselves grace to adjust for the following day. All students should revisit their schedule often to assess what is working and what should be adjusted.
Keep a Positive Mindset
A student’s approach to their work should be positive. Some tasks may be tedious to them, but they can set up a system of small rewards for completing these types of tasks. The daily routine should have room for breaks, especially after a difficult subject. Students can stay motivated by finding ways to relate the work they are doing to a positive outcome in their own lives. This can be anything from picturing themselves graduating successfully to just looking forward to the small planned reward. Parents and teachers can help students to connect what they are learning to their lives, either right now, or in the future. Students are much more likely to stay motivated if they know what they are learning will make a difference in their lives.
Break Down Larger Tasks into Several Smaller Ones
Even with the best plans and intentions, some students can be overwhelmed by large projects or assignments. They may not know how to begin, so they may procrastinate, experience anxiety, or just give up. This is where parents may want to reach out to teachers or other school support staff to get some help for their students. Educators are used to helping students to break down a large assignment into several manageable parts that can be accomplished and checked off. Parents may also be able to help with this, and once students know how to do it for one big assignment, the next time a project comes along, they will just have to be reminded what to do. They can even begin to do this on their own as they become more independent in their learning.
Students will thrive in online learning if they keep a positive mindset and remember that flexible scheduling still means scheduling. As they learn to break large assignments down into manageable chunks, not only will they have an easier time getting their work done on time, but they will be building time and task management skills they will use for a lifetime.