The first week of virtual school is much like the first week in a traditional classroom: filled with a lot of paperwork, a lot of organizational details to cover, and short on actual learning. You’ll get a phone call from your teacher where you’ll discuss things like class connect sessions, conference schedules, and the new rules and regulations for the year. This is your opportunity to discuss your child with your teacher. Is there anything that he or she needs to know? Now is the time to make sure that it’s clear. You’ll discuss your child’s individual learning plan—something that all Tennessee Virtual Academy students have. You’ll go over any new or different expectations for the year—a transition that is more apparent between fifth and sixth grade than any other, but which may appear at any point, especially during these crucial developmental years for TNVA.
Your child will likely be asked to take a series of tests in Study Island and on the Scantron site to give your teacher a basis for their future performance. These should be written into your daily schedule and completed in a timely manner. In fact, those tests should be one of the first things that your child completes in their first few days.
The first lesson in many different subjects is not as much a curriculum lesson as it is a getting-to-know-the-system lesson. Many of these will be simple lessons that don’t take your child very long to complete, particularly once they’ve already read through the first one. As a bonus, this means that they won’t have to leap into their first week of school with a full day’s worth of work. However, you can also encourage them to get a head start on some of their other work, which will benefit them down the road.
Make sure that your child takes advantage of the slower pace of the first week to get used to her new classes, learn how to navigate the Online Learning System and Study Island, and ask any questions that she may have for her teacher. This is the best time to ask questions: things aren’t too busy, the teacher is energetic and ready to get started with the year, and they have all the answers at their fingertips, particularly as they answer them for other families, as well.
This is also the time to establish the routine that you’ll be using for the rest of the year. Get your child used to getting out of bed around the same time every school day, whether that’s bright and early in the morning or just in time for his first class connect session. Get in the habit of eating a good breakfast—preferably not in front of the computer. Schedule in some time to get outside or get moving. Learn how your regular chores and other activities are going to fit in with your new schedule. It’s a learning experience; but it’s one that is well worth the time.