Preparing to become a learning coach is similar to preparing for a trip. Before traveling, most people spend a few days or weeks before the departure organizing what they need to pack and possibly even buying new items they will need for the journey. Approaching the new school year with a virtual school is much like preparing for a trip to a new destination.
To help make this new educational adventure a success, we’ve compiled a brief travel guide featuring suggestions to help you succeed in your journey as an online Learning Coach. You’re on deck to gently guide the ship and provide personalized learning support. Bon voyage!
1. Become a good travel guide.
Before you take off on your education journey together, you need to understand what’s ahead in your role as a Learning Coach. Typically, a Learning Coach helps structure the learning day, provides support and encouragement, and makes sure that the student stays on track to complete assigned schoolwork. Communicating with the student’s teachers is also an important part of their role. You’re not expected to be a mathematician or historian to help your student learn. Your child’s teachers have the content expertise and will be providing live instruction and the grading. As a Learning Coach, you serve as a guide to help facilitate the student’s scheduling, improve your student’s study habits, and keep your student on the road to success.
2. Chart your course.
In the beginning of the year, you’ll be setting some goals with your child’s teacher. Tell your student what you expect from them, and keep those goals in mind throughout the year. Remember that personalizing your student’s online learning plan is an ongoing process. So be sure to circle back with your student’s teacher and adjust goals and expectations as needed.
3. Book a room.
Create a kid-friendly learning space and make sure it has all the needed supplies and books to help your student thrive with online learning. Having the right tools and encouragement will help your student become a self-motivated, autonomous online learner.
4. Check your bags.
Gather information about your child’s comprehension level, and share any of your concerns with the teachers to better personalize your student’s learning materials. By implementing comprehension checks along the way, you can keep track of how far your student has come.
5. Make an itinerary. Create ways to keep your student focused and engaged.
Post a daily schedule that includes lunch and exercise. Take stretch breaks as needed, or go for a walk to help your child stay focused during the school day.
6. Keep moving ahead.
Combat difficult academic challenges with creative motivation strategies that keep your student excited about online learning. Find special activities that motivate your child to learn, and consider setting up rewards for reaching milestones along the way. In addition to studies, it’s important that physical education is part of your student’s day! PE can be whatever motivates your student, whether it’s bike riding, hiking, or martial arts.
7. Stay on course.
A little procrastination is something we are all guilty of every now and then. When it happens regularly though, it presents a real challenge. Here’s an emergency plan to help you remove roadblocks if your student keeps putting things off or perfectionism is slowing them down.
8. Leave positive reviews!
Be attentive and nurturing and give praise and positive reinforcement, even for small accomplishments. Students can celebrate their strengths with something as simple as positive refrigerator magnets. Teach self-care and coping skills. Your student can keep a gratitude journal to remind them of wins and milestones in their journey.
9. Communicate with your captain.
Remember that Connections Academy® teachers are there to support you. Email messages and phone calls help teachers know which students need assistance, so stay in touch with them as often as you’d like!
10. Focus on the big picture.
Remind yourself of the reasons you’ve chosen virtual education for your destination and why it’s important to your family. When the going gets tough, remember that persistence, dedication, and adaptability are the keys to becoming the best Learning Coach you can be.
You have the support of the faculty at your online school, the assistance from tech support if something happens with your computer, and the support from other families that you meet along the way.
Check out more tips and tricks for online school parents—and enjoy the ride!
Editor's Note: Learning Coach tasks may vary by state.