Many of the following tips are inspired by Denise Kale, a Learning Coach from Arizona.
Although flexibility is one of the many strengths of virtual schooling, most experts agree that children benefit from having structure in their lives. Many virtual school families recommend establishing a routine for your school days. With an agreed-upon schedule, you and your student can predict your daily and weekly flow—no surprises, no arguments—so your student can focus on learning.
- What are your child’s natural tendencies and preferences? If your daughter is an early bird, you may want to plan to do her most challenging subjects early in the day, when she’s at her best. On the other hand, if your son is a night owl, you may want to arrange a later start time, with the more involved topics covered in the afternoon.
- What are your child’s favorite subjects? Some families prefer to get a positive start each day by beginning with a student’s favorite subject. Others place the favorite courses last, as an incentive for completing the rest.
- Everyone needs a break! Having a schedule will also help you remember that children—and adults—need breaks for physical activity, lunch, and play! Many Learning Coaches schedule “recess” immediately before lunch, so they can prepare the meal while the children play.
- Does your student have regularly scheduled events? Reserve times for your student’s piano lessons, sports team practices, doctor appointments, volunteer commitments, and other repeating events. Attending virtual school means you can arrange your flexible learning schedule to accommodate these activities—and still stay on track—even if they occur during traditional school hours.
- Does your child have regular virtual classroom meetings? Many Learning Coaches find it easer to schedule coursework on the same day as the corresponding LiveLesson® session. Children may retain the lesson better with this reinforcement.
- How long is your child’s attention span? Does he or she find change disruptive? If your child has a shorter attention span and moves easily from subject to subject, a conventional schedule may work well. But if your child has trouble “shifting gears,” he or she may benefit from working on one subject for larger chunks of time. Here are a few examples of different types of schedules you might try.
- Conventional: One lesson in each core subject each day; electives or non-core subjects on alternating days.
- Alternating: Two core subjects on Mondays and Wednesdays, the remaining two core subjects on Tuesdays and Thursdays—similar to how college courses are scheduled. Fill in electives and non-core subjects throughout the week and on Fridays as desired.
- Block: Four to five lessons in one core subject per day, plus one non-core or elective lesson. It’s important to note that studying each subject just one time per week may make it necessary to review a bit at the beginning of each day’s lessons.
- Modified Block: Schedule one lesson per day for your child’s most difficult subject, so it isn’t too overwhelming. Do other core courses in four to five lesson blocks, one per day. Distribute non-core or electives throughout the week, as desired.
Once you have your daily schoolwork routine set, be sure to discuss it with your children. Share your new schedule with family and friends, too, so they understand when you and your kids are busy. By setting and clearly communicating your agreed-upon schedule and daily expectations, you and your children should be able to complete your daily learning with minimal distractions—and fewer debates!
What clever tips or suggestions can you offer for scheduling an effective day of virtual school? Share your brightest ideas in the comments!