How to Make Online School Work for Your Family

9 min to read
A Learning Coach helping her son with online school

Parents and caregivers of online school students have the unique opportunity to be a part of their child’s at-home learning experience. At Connections Academy®, we offer many resources for different types of parents to succeed in supporting their children’s online public school education—whether they’re single parents, stay-at-home parents, or working parents.  Between becoming a Learning Coach to be an active participant in your child’s education, mastering new tools and digital platforms, and adjusting your family’s personal schedules to fit around virtual school, you might be wondering: What do parents of online school students struggle with the most?  

To help you best support your online student, we’ve compiled a list of eight of the most common types of Learning Coaches along with insightful ways to make online school work for all different types of families. 

A parent homeschooling multiple children in different grades.

2. Multi-Student Learning Coach

If you’re a busy parent with multiple students, online public schools like Connections Academy are a great alternative to learning how to homeschool multiple children without the pressures of having to plan a curriculum and be a teacher yourself. As a Learning Coach, you’re responsible for supporting your children’s daily learning and structuring their school day. And if you have more than three students, it only makes sense to create identical schedules. Not only does this help you stay better organized, it also allows your children to spend time together throughout the day.  

As a Learning Coach, online school provides more consistency than homeschooling multiple grades at the same time. Although depending on their age, each learner will require different levels of support from you, your students in different grade levels can still take breaks together to eat lunch or blow off steam if they become distracted. As a multi-student Learning Coach, you can leverage the flexibility of online school to match your family’s rhythm and each student’s grade level.  

Older students can also serve as in-home mentors or tutors to younger children. For example, if one of your students needs extra help in math and you’re unable to assist them, your older child, who is already familiar with the work, can step in to help lighten your load.  

Additionally, if your students are close in age, you can group lessons by theme and allow them to work in groups. When students participate in collaborative learning, it allows them to solve problems, construct explanations, and engage in academic discussions. So, whether it’s math homework that shares common themes or a science project that requires similar materials, this model can lead to student success. 

3. Part-Time Working Learning Coach

With more than 56% of K–12 parents having difficulty balancing work and family responsibilities, it’s fair to say that managing a job and family obligations can be a significant challenge for working parents. For pandemic working parents who’ve experienced significant changes like increased hours and workload, online school offers greater flexibility when structuring their child’s school day.  

Part-time working parents might have irregular shifts or need to be on-call, which could impact their student’s at-home learning time. For instance, if you’re called in for a morning shift when your child’s classes are typically held, you’ll likely miss out on monitoring their instruction. Connections Academy allows Learning Coaches to still participate in their student’s education by adjusting their student’s schedule to fit around their family’s lifestyle and other obligations. 

Additionally, if you only work a few days during the week, you can use off days to catch-up and receive extra Learning Coach training. And, if you need further assistance with managing your student’s education or advice on working mom struggles, we offer resources on the Pearson Online Classroom platform where parents can watch instructional videos on how to motivate students, support the learning process, and get the most out of daily schedules. Or, let’s say you’re a new mother or father and are returning to work part-time. You can reference your Family Plan template of tasks and guidelines to help prepare yourself and your student for the school week to make the transition smooth.  

A full-time working parent helps her online student as her Learning Coach.

4. Full-Time Working Learning Coach

With many demands at work and at home, parental involvement is key to increasing academic success. However, if you’re on a full-time work schedule, you may not believe that there are many opportunities for you to engage with your child. You’re probably asking yourself questions like—How do working parents pick up kids from school? Or, how do other parents make time for their students’ education?

The role of Learning Coach for your online school student can be easier than you think, as it eliminates many of the usual school-day stressors, such as rushing to pick up your child from a brick-and-mortar school. To help full-time working Learning Coaches better adapt, teachers are ready and willing to provide you with support. Online school allows you to monitor your student’s coursework to ensure they’re understanding and completing their lessons without always needing to be in the room while your child is learning.  

When you’re at work, you can rely on Connections Academy instructors to keep you involved. At any point, you’re able to text, email, or call your child’s teacher to receive updates. You can also coordinate regular parent-teacher conferences at your convenience to address concerns or receive answers on lingering questions. This way, you have a front-row seat to your child’s educational journey. 

5. Co-Parenting Learning Coaches

Joint custody and school decisions go hand in hand when you’re co-parenting. With shared custody, different school districts are often a challenge parents have to face, but online schools like Connections Academy can eliminate the struggles of making a joint custody school choice.  

Co-parents also likely have varying schedules. Between work and personal obligations, your child’s education is a common factor in balancing your schedules. Let’s say you and your co-parent split the week in half in terms of where your child lives. In your half of the week, your child might have reviewed math and English with their teacher. And in theirs, they might have reviewed science. So, it might be easiest to help your child with the same subjects they learn under your care week to week.  

To help ease any confusion, parents have access to Learning Coach Central where we provide them with the information they need to succeed as a Learning Coach. Resources housed on the site include video tutorials about lessons, learning tools, and Learning Coach responsibilities, as well as instructional support and reference materials. Being connected to the Learning Coach community is a great way to ease fears about joint legal custody and school enrollment thanks to a new network of support, including other parents who may be facing the same situation. 

A family with multiple Learning Coaches helps their online student stay on track.

6. Multiple Learning Coaches in One Household

If there is more than one Learning Coach in your household, use it as an opportunity to your advantage. There are many ways you can partner to alternate teaching days. For instance, if you’re a part-time working parent and your spouse is a stay-at-home parent, they would be responsible for overseeing your child’s education on the days you’re at work. And when you aren’t working, you could take the opportunity to share your expertise and spend quality time with your student. 

To play to your subject matter strengths, you might also divide responsibilities based on your interests as Learning Coaches. This keeps coaching fun for you, and multiple Learning Coaches means more time to focus on balancing the variety of responsibilities any adult has day-to-day while still ensuring your child becomes the best person you know they can be.  

7. Single-Parent Learning Coach

Single parents are masters of juggling multiple responsibilities at once. Some are pros at monitoring their student’s education and others might still be learning how to manage as a single mom.  

The good news is, virtual learning provides an opportunity to help you balance your busy schedule and your child’s education. For instance, single parent Learning Coaches who work often might encounter childcare issues for working parents. At Connections Academy, we offer plenty of clubs and extracurricular activities like Chess Club, Robotics Club, and a student newspaper that serve as a buffer to keep your student engaged and motivated while you work. Resources like tutors are also available, providing a critical support system when you’re unable to be there.  

Another way our teachers and staff provide support is through an open line of communication. You can expect your student’s teacher to share regular updates on assignments and their progress. Online students also remain under the guidance of a counselor who helps them progress academically and work through personal life issues. It takes a village to cultivate strong minds, and online school can provide the support you and your child need. 

Students in an online school learning pod get help from their Learning Coach. 

8. Pod Learning Coach

Learning pods are small groups of students who come together during the day, in-person or virtually, under the guidance of a trusted adult. This model is particularly helpful if you’ve been struggling to adapt to coaching your student on your own or want your student to have more opportunities to socialize. 

In this community, you receive real-time support and your students remain connected and engaged with their peers. This is also a great solution for online school families with conflicts that interfere with required Learning Coach responsibilities. If you work during the hours of your child’s instruction, the Learning Coach of the pod can answer your student’s questions, troubleshoot IT issues, and keep them on track with their schedule, creating an enriching environment for them to grow as a learner.  

As a Learning Coach, no matter what your family unit looks like, you’ll be able to provide your child with a level of support and guidance that no one else can, and you’ll get to watch them learn, progress, and succeed. You can read more about parent resources and check out this quick guide to parent, student, and teacher roles in virtual school to learn more about personalized learning and your responsibilities. 

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