Aug 19, 2021
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This post is in partnership with Connections Academy. All opinions below are my own.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, many parents like myself turned our living rooms into at-home classrooms. For many, being in charge of their child’s education proved to be a challenge, especially if their school was not prepared to go online.
Over time, most of us learned to work alongside our kids by adapting to this “new way” and appreciated the opportunity to be involved in our child’s education.
Thankfully, my family adapted quickly since we had previously homeschooled and online schooled our three kids for four years. During that period, we tried different curriculums and online programs; some provided us with more direction while others were overwhelming when juggling different kids in different grades.
That experience helped us learn a lot about what to look for when it comes to taking our children’s education from in-person to at home and online. I will add that it gets easier as they get older and siblings can help each other learn too!
As we approach a new school year, I’ve heard from many parents that they are interested in continuing their child’s education with online schooling but are unsure if this type of learning will benefit their child’s future (beyond high school). If you’re looking for a program that helps prepare your child for life beyond high school, I recommend Connections Academy: full-time, tuition-free, online public school for grades K-12.
Today, I want to share five major benefits of online schooling that translate into highly valuable life skills.
Benefits of Online Schooling
The biggest benefit of online schooling is preparing our children for an emerging remote work environment.
Succeeding in that type of remote work requires a certain skill set that only online schooling provides, specifically:
- Time Management
Life Skills Kids Learn with Online Education
The list above includes some of the life skills that kids can learn with virtual education. While some of these are part of in person schooling, they don’t come to the forefront until one heads to college.
An online education also prepares our kids to succeed in college when we’re no longer around making sure they “did their homework” and no longer communicating with their teacher regularly.
Given the opportunity, most kids can become self-motivated when their learning is tailored to the style they learn best. Self-motivation comes through the feeling of “I can do this,” which is attainable when kids can learn at their own pace.
At Connections Academy, kids work with teachers and counselors to ensure they aren’t left behind, all while putting together a flexible schedule that fits their learning style best.
When kids can take breaks at the right time (not a pre-scheduled recess), they can take advantage of their best learning times by staying focused longer, learning more, and performing better.
This comes full circle in their performance, and when kids do well, they feel better about themselves, their confidence grows, and they become more self-motivated.
Another important thing for many high schoolers is taking advantage of Advanced Placement® and dual-credit enrollment courses from home (not something available in most homeschooling programs) to get a head start in college, which is also available through Connections Academy.
2. Time Management
Traditional school schedules provide our kids with a learning framework during their day. They do this by having different teachers, periods, and set breaks like recess and lunch in between.
At home, our kids must learn to manage their time efficiently during the day and use their best “focused time” as their school periods. This was a challenge with my oldest son during quarantine because his friends always played X-box in the morning until lunchtime, when he learns best.
We overcame this by creating a plan for his schooling tailored to his individualized learning style. This also drastically reduced the pressure I felt to manage his daily schedule and stay on-task, all while enabling me to encourage and support him when he needed help.
Letting the teachers and counselors at Connections Academy step into that role can be the best thing for the parent-child relationship. The teachers and parents work closely together and form a team to ensure our kids move forward in their learning.
Over time, they get to know our children, create their individualized curriculum, and prioritize social and emotional wellness to make sure students are prepared for the real world.
Having supportive teachers can make a big difference when learning from home. It can alleviate the pressure of figuring out your children’s educational needs and allows you to better encourage and support them as only you can.
As my kids became more comfortable with online learning, their self-control also improved. My older kids learned to ignore their phone’s notifications, their focused work-times became longer, and my youngest quit asking for another snack and stopped playing with the dog every 15 minutes to avoid doing school work.
This is similar to adults getting up to use the bathroom, hanging out by the watercooler or office kitchen, and stopping by three co-worker’s desks at the office on our return to our desk.
With built-in breaks at the right time, our kids can move through their lessons at an age-appropriate speed, which helps them stay on track.
One of the greatest gifts I can give my children through various life and educational experiences is adaptability.
Our family has traveled abroad to experience other cultures, lived in different places for months at a time while we were homeschooling and online schooling, moved, and changed jobs. And each time, our children have been able to adapt to change (some more so than others) and gain perspective.
Together, we’ve made things work for each unique situation. The support of a program like Connections Academy to keep track of a child’s education adds a level of stability and comfort. This can take the pressure away from a parent when life brings planned or unexpected changes.
These can include a pandemic, a health crisis in a family, separation or divorce, job changes or losses, and financial challenges.
In addition to providing uninterrupted learning, Connections Academy builds social emotional learning into the curriculum. By having this extra benefit, students learn how to be comfortable and confident, which will help them meet and adapt to challenges they may face outside of the classroom.
By supporting the whole child, students at Connections Academy are well-rounded and resourceful, qualities I try to instill in my children.
As a parent, I want my children to develop independence so when they leave my nest; they can problem-solve and make decisions for themselves.
Independence is a skill that is practiced often with online schooling, from being responsible for logging in to their classroom sessions and attending class to taking the initiative to email their teacher when they need extra support.
At Connections Academy, parents play the role of Learning Coach, rather than teacher. As Learning Coaches, they are responsible for monitoring attendance, structuring the school day, and communicating with teachers.
Of course, the specifics vary by grade level. My high schoolers have plenty of freedom to work independently. However, younger kids would need more parental involvement to learn to work on their own and gain the resilience they’ll need to transition into college and adulthood.
How Online School Prepares Kids for Future Remote Work
Unlike traditional homeschooling programs that rely on physical textbooks, online schooling can be done anywhere, anytime, as long as you have an internet connection. This gives students a level of flexibility that helps them take ownership of their educational experience -more so as they get older.
Online schooling provides our kids with the opportunity to develop independent study habits and is the ultimate “run-through” of our kids’ future, preparing them for college and professional lives.
If you’re considering online schooling for your kids’ upcoming school year, I highly suggest you check out Connections Academy. Their curriculum is specially designed for the virtual environment and meets or exceeds national and state standards –this means they get credit for their learning.
You can learn more about Connections Academy here.
Last year, I struggled to work from home -I had never done it before- and i didn’t feel productive. Eventually, I caught on and learned to work from home and all of the things you mention here are true. Unfortunately, as a single full-time working parent I need my kids out of my house in order to work (they are young and they need constant supervision for their schooling) but this is a great program for them for when they get older! thank you for another great resource.
I’m toying with the idea of sending my kids back to in-person learning or from home but the curriculum selection has me overwhelmed. I’ve been thinking; “why can’t there be something compatible with our really good school district!?” I will look into this more I’ve got to make up our mind before our kids return!