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Online Teacher vs. Learning Coach: What’s the Difference?

By: Stephanie Osorno
The Difference Between an Online Teacher vs. Learning Coach

Teacher and Learning Coach: what was your initial interpretation of these titles? Did you have to think twice because they seemed similar? At first glance, these titles could be construed as synonyms since each involves a degree of leadership for students. When it comes to virtual school, however, teacher and Learning Coach represent two distinct roles.

So, as the parent of a virtual school student, which role should you be playing? Teachers and Learning Coaches are accountable for several duties that they handle differently, but both collaborate to enhance the student’s online learning experience. If you’re considering online school for your child, we are here to help you determine how to stay within the Learning Coach bubble. Take a look at the various differences between teacher and Learning Coach below to learn more about your specific duties and the ways each role can complement the other!

Online Teacher vs. Learning Coach

Virtual schools have certified teachers who are dedicated to helping students succeed—that means a Learning Coach serves as a guide, supporter, and motivator to further stimulate learning and establish a suitable structure for the school day at home. The role of a Learning Coach evolves over time as the student gains confidence and develops more academic skills.

Among other things, teachers and Learning Coaches oversee daily learning, provide assistance, and monitor progress in different ways.

Daily Learning

Breathe easy; it is the teacher's responsibility to teach and provide students with learning material. A Learning Coach is not required ...

The Most Important Time Management Tips for Learning Coaches

By: Stephanie Osorno
Time Management for Learning Coaches

Last week, we offered students five easy steps for staying organized and managing their time. So what about your time as a parent or Learning Coach? Being a Learning Coach requires some time and effort, so using time management skills will make each day easier. It’s also important to note that as students get older, your role will evolve and the time you spend supporting your student will decrease.

We want to help you stay on track with our simple guide to time management for online school Learning Coaches. The key to success is breaking up your day into sections.

Here’s what you can do …

… Right Now

Know your time management personality. This way, you can organize each day based on your innate time management skills. This will also help you pinpoint which situations may set you back and how to avoid them.

Make sure you and your student both have designated learning areas. Whether it be a desk, a table, or a couch, having separate working spaces where you can spread out and work independently creates structure and individual workspace boundaries. If you’re managing multiple students, it’s also important for each student to have his or her own learning area. Make sure each learning area has minimal noise and distractions, adequate lighting, and comfortable furnishings.

Prepare your toolbox. Plan for your student’s school year by keeping certain resources on hand. Some examples include a list of school rules, a computer maintenance ...

Reenergize Your Student: 8 Tips for a Productive Second Semester

By: Stephanie Osorno
Re-energize Your Student for Second Semester

The holiday fun has come to an end, and getting back to the daily learning routine can be challenging for students who might still be mourning the loss. But fear not! As an active Learning Coach, you can keep the momentum going with a little encouragement, support, and persistence. Consider the following tips to help your student remain focused and ready for a productive second school semester!

  1. Be a cheerleader.
    From time to time, students tend to feel discouraged and overwhelmed. A Learning Coach can ease these feelings by serving as a personal cheerleader. When students are having an off day, uplift their spirit by not letting them give up and reassuring them that they can do it. Express how proud you are when they do something well or get an answer correct. Additionally, if they are struggling in a particular subject, try some new learning activities that might help. For instance, if a new vocabulary word is introduced, write the new word on a word wall to strengthen a student's memorization skills.

  2. Set a plan for the week.
    Sometimes, students react to a large workload by panicking and doubting their ability to complete the work. Help your student to stay organized, calm, and less stressed by helping to set a reasonable plan at the beginning of each week. Break it down by different days of the week. For instance, suggest that he or she work on a math assignment or project on Monday, and a science ...

What’s Your Style? 4 Time Management Personality Types

By: Stephanie Osorno
Time Management Personality Styles

When it comes to managing your time, are you more like John F. Kennedy or George Washington, Charlie Brown or Sherlock Holmes? Today, we invite you to find out which time management type you are.

Knowing your time management style is the first step in finding the strategies that work specifically for you as a Learning Coach and also for your student.

Evaluate Your Own Time Management Style

Review each time management personality type below to uncover your family member’s time management style. Don’t worry if you have traits in more than one category.

The Early Bird

Famous early birds include George Washington, Queen Victoria, and even Santa Claus.

Early Bird Time Management Personality Style
  • I added this exercise to my to-do list.
  • When I get an assignment, I immediately identify all the tasks involved and plan my time accordingly.
  • When planning or working on projects and portfolios, I prefer working on one subject and project at a time.
  • I’m usually one of the first people to arrive for class or social events. I like being on time!
  • I am stressed when other people are late or when something forces me to be late.
The Multitasker

Well-known multitaskers include Lucille Ball, Charlie Brown, Amelia Earhart, and John F. Kennedy.

Multitasker Time Management Personality Style
  • I am doing other things while going through this exercise.
  • I like having control over my own schedule so I can “switch it up” to keep school and life interesting.
  • I often underestimate how long it takes to complete a task.
  • I’d like to get items on ...

Understanding and Helping Twice Exceptional Students

By: Gintas Bradunas
Helping Twice Exceptional Students

During the school year, Learning Coaches gauge whether their children are doing well or struggling. This helps parents or other responsible adults determine whether the kids need extra help or tougher challenges. So, what do you do if your child struggles and shows impressive talents?

Children who struggle consistently with reading, writing, spelling, speaking, listening, reasoning, or doing math may have a learning disability. As a result, they have trouble achieving what is expected of them, even though they’re very bright. These children, who are gifted as well as learning disabled, are known as twice exceptional.

What Does It Mean to Be Twice Exceptional?

Twice exceptional, or “2e,” children have trouble in school because they excel in some areas and struggle in others. Depending on the task or the course, 2e children might feel too challenged or not challenged enough. This imbalance means that 2e kids and their parents run into new problems every day.

To get much-needed academic support, 2e kids need to follow an Individualized Education Program (IEP). They also need to nurture their talents by joining clubs, taking advanced courses, or pursuing other opportunities. Your child may have unique gifts if he or she:

  • Learns quickly
  • Shows intense curiosity
  • Develops language skills early
  • Observes situations carefully
  • Remembers events in detail
  • Focuses on interests for long periods of time
  • Follows a strong set of morals
  • Has a sense of humor
  • Demonstrates passion
  • Feels things deeply
  • Strives to be successful
  • Likes to play with older kids
How to ...

Maintaining Motivation in a Virtual School Environment

By: Beth Werrell
How to Maintain Motivation in Virtual School Students

When your child attends school at home, it can sometimes be difficult to keep him or her motivated. Like traditional students, virtual school students can get tired, distracted, or stressed out. If this happens, it’s your responsibility as a Learning Coach to step in and help your child get back on track.

Getting motivated isn’t always a challenge, but every child struggles sometimes. When your child works toward a goal, the key to success is keeping him or her motivated. If he or she starts a new task, motivation comes easily, making him or her feel confident and enthusiastic. Once the feeling wears off, however, and your child slows down, it’s time to take action. Take a look at the tips below and add them to your motivation toolbox.

  • Master basic study skills.
    To stay motivated, children need a solid foundation of study skills. Kids in middle school and high school won’t stay motivated if they aren’t able to study effectively. Once your child has mastered the five key skills for virtual school, such as managing time and navigating a computer, he or she is ready to develop independent study skills. Becoming an independent learner boosts your child’s growth and helps him or her become self-motivated.

  • Use a rewards system.
    Rewards systems can help if your child struggles with motivation. Remember, however, to think of rewards as a first step rather than a long-term solution. If students rely on rewards too much, they might ...

What to Include in a Parent-Child Contract for Virtual School

By: Beth Werrell
Making a Parent-Child Contract for Virtual School

Like fingerprints or snowflakes, each virtual school family is unique! And that’s one of the joys of this form of education—the ability to customize learning and the learning schedule to suit the family’s lifestyle. Despite their unique differences, many experienced online school families use similar tools and approaches to ensure that their children succeed in their studies. In this post, we’ll examine how a simple parent– or Learning Coach–child contract helps keep three students headed in the right direction.

To see firsthand how one of our families does virtual school, I spent the day with a family enrolled in our online school in Pennsylvania. The family included multiple children, one high school student and two middle schoolers. Their mom serves as the students’ main Learning Coach while she works from home. Their dad is supportive and involved. He works nearby and sometimes comes home for lunch with the kids.

Each student had a designated and neatly organized school area in his or her room with a desk, computer, learning materials, and school supplies. In addition, a Learning Coach–Student contract was displayed above each desk. The students’ mom developed a set of expectations for her children and formalized basic rules, consequences, and privileges, as well as important contact details in a parent–child contract that each of her students signed at the beginning of the school year. It serves as a daily reference to remind the kids of the rules they’d agreed upon for effective at-home ...

Advice for Helping Families Adjust to Virtual School

By: Kim McConnell
Advice for New Virtual School Families - A mom helps her daughter with homework at the kitchen table

“There’s too much work—my daughter is working into the evening.”

“My student won’t cooperate. How do I motivate him?”

“I never dreamed this would be so difficult.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar? The new school year has just begun, but for parents starting virtual school for the first time, each day can be challenging! During these early days of educating their children at home, parents may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and even ready to quit. Fortunately, with a healthy dose of patience, some tips for weaving learning into family life, and a few weeks of practice, you and your child can adapt to—and even enjoy—this new way of learning!

Your first and best stop for help with “learning the ropes” of online schooling should be your child’s teacher! He or she can point you in the right direction for school orientation, tech support, learning resources, and more. Your teacher may have suggestions to help you with student motivation or creating your daily schedule.

While you are adjusting to your new role as your child’s Learning Coach, there are some simple ways to make the schooling-at-home experience pleasant for everyone.

  1. Remember that you are a family. Although education is very important, your relationship with your child should always come first. Make your home classroom a positive environment and find little ways to let your child know that you’re on his or her side. Showing your student that you understand when he or she is struggling can make ...

Helpful Resources for New Connections Academy Learning Coaches

By: Beth Werrell
Connections Academy Learning Coach Resources

You made the switch to virtual schooling! Now that you and your child are starting school, make the first semester a success by mastering Connections Academy’s online learning management system, Connexus®.

Connexus® offers many features and tools to make virtual school easier, and learning how to use it is one of the top 10 things that Learning Coaches should know. To help your child make a strong start in online school, it’s important to know the three R’s of being a virtual school Learning Coach.

The Three R’s: Roles, Routines, and Resources

To prepare for success at Connections Academy, visit our Roles, Routines, and Resources pages. The Roles page can help you understand the responsibilities of parents, students, and teachers in virtual school. The Routines page offers tips for establishing a learning space, creating a schedule, and using virtual school tools.

Best of all, the Resources page can help answer your questions about daily activities and the virtual school structure. To learn more, take a look below at the list of sections on the Resources page.

Virtual School Resources
  • Orientation Courses
    Learn how to access the Learning Coach Orientation and Student Orientation when you are ready.

  • Orientation Sessions
    Check out online orientations presented by current parents and students.

  • Communication with Teachers
    Locate your student’s teacher’s contact information and find other communication resources you will need for regular communication with school staff throughout the school year.

  • Virtual Library
    Locate important school documents and explore ...

How to Juggle the Needs of Multiple Children in Virtual School

By: Kim McConnell
Multiple Children Laughing in Front of a Computer

For many families, the big challenge of at-home education is not the curriculum or the actual learning; it is finding the best way to manage virtual school for more than one student. Although initially the Learning Coach may feel like a juggler in the circus, it is possible, with a bit of advance planning, to meet the needs of all of your children—and even find a balance with other household responsibilities!

It’s important to note that there is no one “right way” to do virtual schooling. What works for one family may not work for you and your children, so be sure to keep an open mind and try various approaches. Here are some of the things that worked for me and helped me balance four children, school, errands, chores, and all the other responsibilities of a virtual school Learning Coach!

  1. Make a Learning Plan
  2. When making your learning plan for online school, consider the number of children, their ages, abilities, personalities, and study habits, as well as factors such as the layout of your home and your family’s usual routine. Your involvement is essential for your students’ success, so plan to be directly involved and easily accessible throughout the school day.

  3. Stay Flexible and Positive
  4. Be prepared to experiment and adjust your overall plan as needed, because no two days of online school are the same. Keep in mind that you are not re-creating a traditional school at home—you are operating a positive learning environment that supports ...

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