One of the greatest indicators of student success in online school is having a parent or guardian participate in their learning by stepping into the role of education mentor, or “Learning Coach.”
In fact, school programs that involve parents outperform identical programs without parent and family involvement. When parents are involved, students exhibit more positive social behaviors and have a higher likelihood of academic achievement.
Benefits of a Parent Learning Coach
Online school allows students to have more flexibility with their schedule and learn at their own pace. This autonomy can be a great part of creating a positive learning environment and instills a sense of personal responsibility and freedom. However, without the involvement of a parent or guardian, students may struggle to maintain engagement, motivation, and success in the long run when it comes to their education.
Although students can have many other online school mentors such as teachers, tutors, and other family members, when a parent or both parents are involved, students feel the greatest amount of support. By collaborating in the process, parents can reinforce important values that contribute to student success.
At Connections Academy®, we know how important the Learning Coach-student relationship is. That’s why it’s a part of our online public school program that each student be supported by a Learning Coach, because it enables teachers to do the teaching while parents serve as support in the education process.
Teachers and students at Connections Academy rely on parents to be active members of their child’s learning team, helping to define goals, keep them on track, and monitor their daily progress every step of the way.
How to Support Your Student as Their Learning Coach
You may understand the benefits of parent involvement, but you may also be wondering what exactly you can do to help your child(ren) succeed. In addition to the resources we offer at Connections Academy, including our Learning Coach Central, here are some tips we’ve gathered based on what we’ve seen work well for our students:
1. Know what your child is learning.
One of the best ways to be involved and support your online student is to know what they’re learning, what assignments are due and when, and ask them about their progress. If they’re learning about something you don’t know much about, ask them to explain to you what they are learning about. It’s true that one of the best ways to learn is to teach.
2. Touch base regularly.
Reviewing the course materials at the beginning of a semester and then taking a hands-off approach the rest of the year doesn’t benefit student engagement. Create a daily coaching schedule—ask them about what they’ve learned, and make sure to ask if there are any classes or assignments where they may need additional support.
3. Communicate with teachers.
Teachers are a resource for both the parent and the student, so utilize the relationship with them as needed. Encourage your kids to communicate with their teachers as well if you’re both unsure about the details of an assignment, for example. Let their teachers know you are in the role of Learning Coach so they know that you’re involved and can be a resource when needed.
4. Give them space.
This may seem contradictory, but providing space is just as important as being involved. Be in the loop and let them know you’re there to support them, but let them troubleshoot and figure out problems on their own when possible. This sends the message that you’re confident in their abilities, and this helps them gain confidence and independence as well. If they give cues that they need space, or they tell you directly, “I need space,” take the hint and let them tackle the topic at hand on their own.
5. Communicate your intentions.
Let them know that you want them to do well, that you believe in them, and that you are there to support them. This may seem like a given, and it might be easy to assume they know, but communicating it directly can make a big difference in providing the emotional support and guidance they need for success.
At Connections Academy, we love our parents, and we believe in the power of family time. That’s why we offer an online public school designed to meet the needs and expectations of families like yours. Learn more about how to be a successful Learning Coach or hear from other Learning Coaches about what to expect in the role of parents in online school as they bust common virtual school myths.