7 Coaching Tips to Excel in Online School

5 min to read
A mother is teaching her son about the solar system

When parents consider making the switch to online school, they often wonder just how involved they need to be in their student’s day-to-day lessons. It can be a tricky balancing act between wanting to give them the independence to learn at their own pace and keeping them focused and on track. At Connections Academy®, we encourage parents and caregivers to take a role in their student’s academic lives in the same way an athletic coach takes a role in the success of their student athletes—by becoming their Learning Coach.

Coaching vs. Teaching

In the virtual classroom, Connections Academy teachers are specially trained to teach online and provide support for the entire learning family every step of the way, so you won’t need a Coach's Guide to Teaching because dedicated and certified teachers will be there to make sure your child is progressing, understanding lessons, and receiving additional help if they are struggling. Teachers connect with students through phone, WebMail messages, and LiveLesson® sessions, adjusting the type of interaction based on student needs. 

At home, Learning Coaches are responsible for structuring their child’s school day, monitoring attendance, staying in touch with teachers by phone or email, and providing one-on-one support with learning activities. As Learning Coaches, you can step out of the role of teacher and into a support role where you can be there for your student every step of the way by providing the structure and guidance they need as they navigate their academic career. 

Wondering how do the acts of teaching and coaching compare? Read on to better understand how the role of coach versus teacher stacks up at Connections Academy.  

A parent serving as Learning Coach for his online student.

Coaching Tips to Help You Succeed

If you have the “pre-game jitters” about becoming your student’s online school Learning Coach, relax! Take a page out of an athletic coach’s playbook with our “A” Game Learning Coach tips to motivate your child to succeed academically in virtual school! 

1. Exercise Your Communication Skills

Great coaches realize that effective communication with their players is a two-way street. Likewise, successful Learning Coaches clearly explain their expectations and set the ground rules for what learning at home looks like. Learning Coaches also have sharp listening and observation skills that help determine whether their student understands new concepts or needs to reach out for additional support. When questions arise, Learning Coaches communicate with their student’s teachers or encourage students to make contact independently. 

2. Keep the Home Classroom a Positive Environment

Just like a good coach will guide young athletes in developing good sportsmanship, a good online Learning Coach keeps the home classroom an emotionally safe and positive environment. Encouragement can energize a child who is struggling with a lesson. Make time for encouraging conversations that acknowledge challenges, but do not give them power to discourage your child. Starting an assignment with an open discussion about how they would like to tackle the project energizes students much more than overwhelming them with a to-do list of all the tasks they need to complete. 

3. Recognize Differences and Strengths

While team-building is important, a great coach will recognize and accommodate individual differences in his or her players. Although parents already know their children’s personalities well, becoming a Learning Coach means discovering how each one learns best. When managing multiple students, a Learning Coach respects that each child learns differently and adapts their support appropriately to keep them motivated.  

4. Build Self-Esteem

Like good teachers, good coaches help their athletes learn to believe in themselves and their abilities. Learning Coaches help students build confidence by providing encouragement and praise. It’s important to applaud the wins and efforts of students fully concentrating and applying energy to their studies. But be sincere! Don’t make the mistake of calling out a half-hearted effort. Praising a job well done can lead your child to future success, build confidence in their abilities, and develop personal motivation to take on new challenges. 
A parent helps her child with her assignment as a Learning Coach. 

5. Allow Students to Struggle

Great coaches recognize that struggling and failing are part of the learning process. Just as no athlete is ready for the major leagues after his or her first T-ball game, children rarely master complex concepts and skills in one lesson. Students need to practice, and practice means having the room to make mistakes. While it is natural to want to jump in and help, Learning Coaches step back and recognize that a bit of struggling without judgment allows students to advance on their own. This not only helps them academically, but also instills the value of determination and persistence. 

6. Model Positive Behavior

Although kids often ignore what adults say, they readily absorb what adults do. That’s why great coaches model positive behaviors around their students, including good sportsmanship and team-building. Online school Learning Coaches make a difference in their students’ attitudes and actions by demonstrating traits such as optimism, focus, commitment, and good planning. Seeing a parent tackle a big project by breaking it down into small steps—and then sticking with it until it is done—delivers a stronger message than simply talking about it! 

While being a first-time online school Learning Coach may seem overwhelming or confusing initially, you will get the hang of it! Fulfilling this important role will require time, energy, and commitment—but in the long run, your child’s success is worth it! 

Learn more about the benefits of being your child’s Learning Coach at Connections Academy. 

E-guide for Connections Academy with a green background and a graphic of a laptop with the purple eGuide.

Ready to Learn More

About Connections Academy?

Explore the benefits of attending Connections Academy, a tuition-free, accredited online public school that’s passionate about helping your child thrive.  

Get Your Free eGuide


Related Posts