Helping your child prepare for a new school year often feels like a daunting task. Between getting supplies and making sure they know where to be and when, staying organized can be difficult. It’s a small wonder schools provide students — and by extension, parents — with syllabi and checklists. Online classes may seem easier by comparison, but as with any form of learning, it has unique challenges.
However, this doesn’t mean that online class isn’t just as fulfilling. Many schools offer an outstanding education digitally, catering to different learning methods with both synchronous and asynchronous components. With the right preparation and forethought, students and their families can enjoy the many benefits of online schooling.
We’ve created an online school checklist to make sure you and your child are prepared to start their learning adventure, be it their first year of kindergarten or last year of high school.
Preparing for Day One
Before your child begins their first day, it’s important to make sure they’re prepared. While online learning removes some of the more unappealing aspects of traditional education, such as commuting, it also presents unique challenges that could make keeping up more difficult. These challenges, however, are easily overcome with the proper preparation:
- Internet connection: For online learning, a good internet connection is essential. Make sure your home service is stable, and come up with a backup plan in case of failure — for example, a neighbor’s house or a public space with free Wi-Fi, such as a café.
- Working computer: In addition to a reliable internet connection, having a working computer is a necessity. If your online school provides student computers, make sure to test that it is functioning properly and call tech support promptly if you discover any issues.
- Clean, quiet workplace: Just because your child isn’t in a classroom doesn’t mean they can’t bring a bit of the classroom atmosphere to their study space. Make sure they have a clean, quiet workspace where they can organize any study materials and won’t be interrupted during class.
- Course schedule: If your child has any asynchronous courses, consider devising a scheduled work time to help them stay focused. Display it near their work area or the family room so everyone’s up-to-date on the week ahead. Likewise, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the live instruction schedule handy.
- Necessary logins: Be sure your child can access any accounts and programs necessary for their classes. No amount of preparation will help if your child can’t log into the computer, after all!
Much like traditional schooling, many online schools provide students with the necessary physical learning materials for each of their courses. Keeping them organized and in a dedicated location will help streamline your preparation efforts.
After Class Is Done
The first day of class doesn’t end after the last online lesson. While it can be tempting to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief once your child is done for the day, there are several steps a proactive parent can take once classes are over:
- Orientation: Review the information you and your child received during student orientation. Do you feel like you have a good understanding of what will be expected of your child? Were there any important dates to remember? You may have received a student orientation checklist that can help.
- Syllabus: Go over any syllabi your child has received and make sure they’ve read them. Do they understand what their teacher is asking of them? Do they know how to reach out and ask for extra help should they need it? Do they know what dates major projects are due if such dates are listed?
- Supplies: Make a list of any class-specific materials your child might need. Some of them could be essential materials you forgot to purchase initially, while others could be class-specific books or art supplies.
- Communication: If any issues occurred during your child’s classes, now is a good time to reach out to the teacher and address them. Were there issues using the programs specific to that class? Was your computer able to keep up? Are you anticipating any Wi-Fi outages or difficulty in obtaining the required materials? Is anything in the syllabus unclear? Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for clarification.
- Emails: Be sure to check your provided email for any updates or important information. Students may not always be alerted to what parents are, so it falls on you to make sure you keep up with any parent-specific correspondences.
Not all of these steps will be immediately applicable, but if they are, taking the initiative to complete them will save both you and your child trouble in the long run.
As with any form of education, online learning requires some essential supplies. No parent can predict everything their child will need for school, but it’s good to grab a few basics before classes begin. Once classes are over, you’ll be able to pick up anything you missed.
Items to consider include:
- Study supplies: Make sure your child has an adequate supply of basic materials for studying, such as pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, notebooks, and notebook paper. Just because the classes are online doesn’t mean they won’t be taking notes!
- Home supplies: If you’re using a home printer, make sure to have a steady supply of printer paper and ink.
- Textbooks: Depending on the class, the teacher may have provided a list of required reading materials before classes began. If not, they should be listed on the syllabus, and you can pick them up after your child’s first day. Textbooks are crucial for keeping up with coursework, so the sooner you get them, the better.
Check this list against a list of provided supplies, if available. The school may provide things such as textbooks as part of the curriculum.
Preparing For Our Online School Is Simple With This Checklist
Online learning has become a staple in today’s educational field. While the at-home accessibility of online learning may make it seem more simple at first glance, it’s important to ensure your child is prepared for any initial challenges they may face — that’s why we created this online to-do list for students. With a clean space, fresh supplies, and a watchful parent on their side, your child will be able to learn and thrive with online learning programs from Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA).
We pride ourselves on providing accessible online education. Students receive a customized education to meet their needs and optimize their full learning potential with both synchronous and asynchronous elements.
If you have any questions, concerns, or interest in enrolling, consider reaching out to CCA and requesting more information. Enroll your child at CCA and guide them towards their best education path today!