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Catching Up on Days Off

Get everyone involved!
Get everyone involved!
Emily L. Goodman

For kids in brick and mortar schools, days off are pretty simple. No school scheduled for the day? Free day! For virtual schooling kids, however, days off are a little bit different. As their learning coach, you have some choices: you can take the day off as scheduled; you can move your schedule around so that you can take off another day that you need off more…or your can use the day off to catch up on some of the areas where your child has gotten behind.

It’s not an easy decision to make. There are definitely times when your child will need a day off—a brain break—a day when they don’t have to log into the OLS and don’t have to look at school work. Unfortunately, many children will decide on their own to take those days whether they should or not—occasionally right in the middle of something else that they ought to be doing. Suddenly, you’re looking at their progress, and the numbers are very, very low. You’re looking at their daily plan, and it looks like they’ve failed more lessons than they’ve passed, at least in part due to “click without actually looking” syndrome.

It’s not always your child’s fault, either. Sometimes, you had trouble figuring out the OLS, and it took a little longer to get started on the year than you thought it would. Sometimes, it took too long for supplies to arrive. There might have been a particular unit or skill that he just didn’t understand, or a concept that she missed early in a lesson that built until she finally got around to admitting it. Whatever the case, now, you’re way behind…and both of you have some catching up to do.

It’s easy to look at the day off and say, “But we don’t have to work today!” On the other hand, it’s also a day when you aren’t expected to complete anything else. There are no class connect sessions. No assignments given by the teacher that need to be completed. Just you, your child, and the curriculum.

You don’t have to get crazy about it. It’s entirely possible that a couple of hours will be all you need to get back on track. But if you happen to be a little bit behind and need it, then taking a couple of hours on what would otherwise be a free day to catch up might make all the difference.

Remember that they don’t have to write out every answer to every problem. Working on math? If your child is understanding the concept, they need only do the odd problems, or the even problems, or even every third. Working on science, history, literature? It might be better to answer questions aloud, so that you know that they’re understanding, but they don’t have to put forth the extra effort to write it down.

Be engaged with your child. If you’re going to make both of you work on a day off, make sure you’re both engaged in it and that it’s actually productive. Sit down and do the lesson with them. If you have multiple children enrolled in the virtual academy and only one who needs a little bit of extra help, this might be the best time to accomplish that—when the others don’t need anything. Do something fun. Read that literature story together using funny voices, or drag out all the materials for that science experiment. Keep it interesting!

Write down any questions that you have. Your teacher is probably not going to be logging in today, either (though he or she might also be using it as an opportunity to catch up on some things that have gotten behind). However, he or she will be back bright and early on the next school morning, and they’ll respond quickly to a kmail. If you have a phone number for your child’s teacher, it’s possible that a quick text might be enough to get the answers that you need, too.

Keep at it! The first month or two of virtual schooling is often the hardest. You’re trying to figure out a new system, get into a new routine, and engage your child with new materials. There’s definitely a learning curve; but before you know it, you’ll be moving right along, wondering how you ever thought this was hard!