When the weather turns warm, many students interpret the change in the weather as a signal that the school year is over and their vacation has begun. How do you help virtual school students stay focused on their schoolwork and still put forth their best effort? Here are some pointers to help keep online school students on track for finishing the year strong.
- Set a good example for your student. Make a point of being a good role model by taking responsibility for tasks and finishing what you start. If students see you frequently delaying your work in favor of fun activities, they may feel it’s okay for them to slack off with regard to their schoolwork, too.
- Discuss consequences. What will happen if students don’t finish their work? Will they receive a failing grade? Will they have to repeat an online course during the summer or stay in the same grade level? While making your child aware of undesirable consequences, be sure to also emphasize the positive consequences of finishing schoolwork on time: the satisfaction of a job well done, plus a whole summer to enjoy!
- Set incentives for getting work done. Use those fun warm-weather activities everyone looks forward to as incentives for completing lessons and other assignments. Playing under the sprinkler, making homemade popsicles or ice cream, or taking a trip to the park all make great motivators! Let your students know what you have planned so they can look ahead to the positive rewards of doing their work.
- Cut big projects down to size. To help children focus on completing a larger, more long-term project, sit down together and brainstorm how to break the work into manageable chunks. Assign due dates for each chunk, and alert students when deadlines are approaching. If a student becomes overwhelmed, remind him or her to focus on one chunk at a time. Don’t forget to post a checklist so kids can track their progress and check off accomplishments—and, naturally, reinforce their successes with lots of positive feedback.
- Make end-of-year reviews fun! To review concepts and facts for a test that covers material from most of the semester, turn it into a game show. Write questions on index cards and have students roll the dice to select a question. Or turn the tables, and have students write questions and quiz you! To keep the game moving, set a time limit for answering. To make it fun, give small treats like pieces of popcorn or M&M’s for correct answers, or award points that kids can redeem for dollar-store prizes or extra minutes of TV time.
What are some creative ways you’ve managed to keep your virtual school student focused and motivated at the end of the school year? Please share your ideas and suggestions below.