Hopefully your students haven’t been dreading the return to “school grind.” One of the great things about the virtual classroom system is that parents and their students have the power to set up their schedules, workspaces, and personal motivators any way they want. The benefits of virtual school should help alleviate anxiety and drudgery from your family’s school experience. Here are some ways to make sure “going back to school” is something to look forward to and enjoy this year and every year:
- Understand the syllabus and course ahead of time – It’s encouraging for both parents and students to talk through the syllabus and course descriptions ahead of time. Ward off anxiety about projects, supplies, and deadlines by getting a leg up early and know ahead what scheduling challenges a course might impose. Large projects often require specific materials or supplies. This gives you time to acquire them before you need them. It may also inspire ideas ahead of time.
- Plan a consistent schedule and stick with it – Since you’re going to check coursework ahead of time, also think about the time needed to prepare for each class’s homework and specific projects. Create a routine that works around your family’s schedule and accommodates the best study times for your students. Make sure to plan your personal schedules as well, so your entire 24 hours are accounted for. If you need flexibility, build it into the schedule, along with times for exercise and fun.
- Long-term and short-term goals – As a family, come up with long-term goals for each student that they want to accomplish by the end of the school year. The students need to feel ownership for these goals, so let them have their say with your guidance. Next, create short-term goals to accomplish along the way that will lead to helping their long-term goals.
- Rewards that self-motivate – Good goals carry their own value, but let’s face it, after a long day, it can be more motivating for your student to earn rewards for accomplishing their goals. Guide your students into setting rewards along with goals. It’s surprising how effective this can be with rewards that don’t cost much or any money. Special meals, a night out, or planning a small weekend trip for larger goal accomplishments can cheer the student up and reduce anxiety. Rewarding effort as opposed to punishing lack of motivation can create a happy long-term learning experience and add to family bonding and positive energy around classwork.
Help your student take ownership of their learning adventures this year by guiding them in creating their own schedules, goals, and motivators. Not only will this make school fun and productive but develop work ethic and motivation skills for life.