Online Learning: Making it Work for your Teen

by | Sep 10, 2020

Adapted from the Versed blog

This may come as a surprise to some families, but many students did very well academically this past spring. We have heard from many families that reported that students (especially high school students), with newfound time on their hand (without the commute and heavy extracurricular commitments) thrived and got better grades. Also they were able to get more sleep which was helpful to the student’s overall well being.

Some tips gleaned from families that have made online learning successful includes:

  • Find a quiet place designated as school: Many students found virtual learning in their bedrooms or in common spaces in their homes, with a myriad of distractions, less than optimal. Most students will benefit from a clear delineation in space designated for school work. Setting up a separate study space is critical, even if it is within a bedroom (being sure to assign beds as a no go zone).
  • Create a schedule and build concrete limits and deliverables into them: When time is relatively fluid, and there is no deadline to finish a particular assignment in a day, students have a tendency to take more time than needed to finish a task. Perhaps break time up into 20 or 30 min. increments, and make sure that the student finishes to the best of their ability one subject/task within that time frame (with catch up time at the end of the day for anything missed).
  • Make optional office hours scheduled mandatory check-ins: Almost every teacher has the same gripe – students not taking advantage of office hours. Almost all teachers will provide office hours, and now that they are virtual, there is even less excuse for students to not attend and get the personalized attention that they need. This is FREE tutoring!
  • Supplement with Online Learning: If your student is not getting the optimal education that s/he needs from school, or on a specific class/subject, there is a plethora of online resources to help your student, from getting simple topics clarified on youtube video to supplementing with an entire online class.
  • Create virtual study groups: Students craving inspiration and interaction from other students should create virtual study groups. Even if it is just a time to have zoom or facetime on with friends, while each student is studying quietly and independently, having a set time and routine with fellow students can help with time management and/or motivation issues. Parents should monitor how effective this is, as some groups can become a distraction.
  • Make use of planning tools: There are many wonderful tools available online to help students set up manageable to-do lists, budget time, study in small chunks, and limit distraction.
  • Monitor student progress: Even the brightest and most organized students could use parental guidance to make sure that any negative trends are caught early and addressed. Parents need to be sure they are familiar with all of the online tools that schools provide to be on top of grades, assignments, deliverables, etc. Parents should not be fretting over every assignment, but they should schedule in monthly or quarterly check-ins with online tools, or better yet directly with students.
  • Make social time: It is critical that students socialize with their peers to the extent that they can –  going out for walks, getting together to work on an academic or creative project (offline socially distanced or online), and watching a movie together (again possible remotely!).  Feelings of isolation and stress over events beyond their control is real and must be addressed.
  • Encourage movement and schedule in fun: Make sure students make time to go outside, exercise, get fresh air, and engage in fun activities outside of school.

Questions? Let’s chat!

Bettina Weil

Weil College Advising, LLC


Weil College Advising

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