If you’re virtual schooling your kids, you’re probably already actively involved in their education. You know that you can’t just toss them a computer and sit back and let the learning take place on its own—but you may be a little bit confused about your actual role. What do you actually need to do to be a good virtual schooling parent? How do you do it? And how do you navigate the difference between letting the teacher do her job—which she’s undoubtedly better at than you are, having received specific training—and helping your child learn to their full potential?
Make sure that your child is present for as many class connect sessions as possible. Have a positive attitude about them, even when they’re inconvenient. Sure, it’s a pain to have to be in front of the computer at the same time every day—but it’s a bigger pain to have a child who doesn’t understand the curriculum she’s been given and has no idea what to do with it.
Keep track of your child’s progress. This isn’t something that has to be done every day, but it is something that you should do on a fairly regular basis. Know what they’re accomplishing each day, and know when they start to have trouble. Knowing when they’re starting to have trouble is much more valuable than picking up on it when they get in way over their head—because if you wait until they’re in over their heads, it’ll be twice as difficult to pull them back out again.
Know what your child is learning. What are they working on? What subjects interest them? Talk about what they’re learning, and dig deeper when you have the opportunity. This will keep your child more engaged, which in turn means that they are learning more.
Make sure your child isn’t taking shortcuts. It can be tempting to only really check the assessments that have to be entered into the computer. As long as it’s a completion-based lesson, “complete” is easy to determine—but it’s not teaching your child, either. If they don’t do the lessons correctly, they aren’t going to be doing the assessment correctly, either. This also applies to Study Island, in class connect sessions, and in other areas. Don’t let them take shortcuts—because if they take them now, they might not understand what they’re doing later!
Stay involved with the teacher. Make sure that she knows you’re willing to do what it takes. Take her suggestions, keep her informed when things are going on that she needs to know about, and make sure that you don’t get sucked into the trap of “handling it all yourself.” Teachers are a vital part of the TNVA process, and staying involved with yours will make things a lot easier for both of you.