Helping Your Child Transition to a Virtual Learning Environment

Starting a new school, especially a virtual school, will require some adjustment, but with planning and preparation, you can look forward to a smooth transition.

Online schooling can be a great option for many families for various reasons. However, for a child to succeed in this type of learning environment, they will need the utter support of a committed parent or guardian. In fact, parents play a vital role in their child’s success in virtual school. This time of transition will be a huge adjustment for both the child and the adult and can cause feelings of anxiety, which is common and completely natural when going through significant changes. The good news is that you can plan and prepare ahead of time which will help calm your nerves and give you a bit of confidence boost, and more importantly, it will go a long way towards helping your student transition smoothly into his or her new school.

Obtain all relevant information before the school year starts

Make sure to get in touch with your chosen online school for any and all essential information, preferably before ahead of the start of the school year. Many virtual schools offer resources for families, especially those who are new to this type of learning method. Write out any questions you might have and call or email the school so you can be clear on all fronts.

Things to prepare and plan for before school officially starts

  • Since a lot of the work in an online school will be done using a computer, you will need to make sure that your equipment meets all the system requirements. Computers manufactured within the last three years should be able to handle any programs required by most online schools. Each school will likely have their own specified requirements, but in general, the following basic specs should suffice:
    • 20GB hard drive or more
    • 4GB RAM or more
    • Windows 7 or better / Mac OSX 10.7 or higher
    • Sound card
    • Web camera
    • Speakers / headphones and microphone
    • Free Internet Browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari)
    • Microsoft Office or similar software compatible with Microsoft Word, Excel® and PowerPoint
    • DVD / CD-ROM drive
    • High-speed Internet connection
    • Possible additional requirements:
      • Adobe Flash® Player
      • Adobe Reader®
      • Skype or similar messaging software
    • Set up your child’s learning space, whether it’s in a room reserved specifically for homeschooling purposes, or spread throughout your home.
    • Discuss your goals for the school year and expectations of attending an online school with your child.
    • Check out sample daily and weekly schedules and create your own based on your goals.
    • Come up with homeschool rules and go over them with your student.
    • Shop for school supplies.
public schools

Daily preparation and activities

Make sure to preview the lessons your child will learn prior to the start of the school day. You can either preview the lessons the day or night before the lessons will take place or in the early morning hours the day of. Ideally, you should set aside a couple of hours every weekend to prepare for the following week. This way, if there is anything you don’t understand, you can consult the teacher.

Doing so can also help you determine just how involved you will need to be in your child’s lessons so you can adjust your schedule accordingly in case he or she needs more guidance than usual. Prepare the materials that your child will need, such as handouts, writing implements, flash cards, videos, etc.

There will be times that your child may find a lesson a bit challenging and need additional help to master it, so be prepared to provide the assistance he or she needs, or get in touch with the teacher to ask for help.

Monitor your child’s progress with assignments, projects and homework and double check that they submit them on time.

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