When you consider traditional schooling, the process of education has always been really simple. All you had to do is drop off your children to school and pick them up after, or make sure they got on the school bus on time. However, over the years, everything has changed. Education is now no longer limited to school. Children seem to be learning from every environment they’re exposed to. While teachers are there to monitor their learning experience at school, who’s responsible for what they pick up outside the classroom? As technology brings information closer to us, it has become very vital for parents to collaborate with teachers to ensure their children receive the right education.
Although online education is similar to conventional schooling methods in terms of curriculum, the environment provided for learning differs significantly. Here, students are required to log in to a virtual environment and access their course material via the Internet. While this arrangement provides students with all the required flexibility it also opens up room for the misuse of that freedom. Although mechanisms have been put in place to monitor a student’s progress regularly, on occasion they may require supervision to ensure they stick to the course schedule that has been outlined for them.
With online learning, parents, and guardians, assume the responsibility of being an integral component of the child’s learning environment. They are required to be a part of the team that’s responsible for the educational experience of the child. This entails working together with the teaching faculty and support staff at the school. While teachers and guidance counselors hold up their end of the bargain by assisting students via their online environment, parents are required to provide the necessary support at home. This partnership is vital for the successful working of online education in delivering the right educational experience.
But have no fear. For those parents who are entirely new to this practice, online schools are well-equipped to provide you with all the information you require. Almost all online schools provide parents with the requisite information about online education and the different programs that are offered. Parents are also made aware of the online environment that their child will have access to in addition to the course curriculum and the method of delivery. Since online learning is fairly new, students and parents are also provided with a bunch of information on online student practices that have proved successful over the years, as well as supportive learning environments conducive to the child’s education.
Online environments employed by schools in the country have been designed in a manner that supports the involvement of parents and guardians. Teachers and student advisors make use of the facilities provided online to communicate with parents in a cost-effective and timely manner. Regular progress reports are submitted and online video chats may also be conducted to review the performance of the student. Frequent and effective communication is essential to monitor and rectify any hindrances a student may be facing when adapting to an online learning platform. There are various modes of online communication available that include email, online chats, video conferencing, discussion forums and the like to help provide the best possible support to the child.
The involvement of a parent in a child’s online learning process however, differs according to the grade the child is studying in. While students from higher grades spend a major portion of their course time studying online, it’s almost the opposite for the lower grades. In fact, children from lower grades rely heavily on the support of their parents or guardians since most of the learning takes place offline. As the child progresses and develops the necessary reading and interpretation skills, more of the work involved is carried out online. Also, as children grow, their affinity for technology and ability to grasp information increases, which makes it a lot easier for them to browse through their course material online.
During their early years, parents and guardians are required to spend a considerable amount of time with their children during their process of learning. As their primary coach, parents are the ones primarily responsible for helping their children develop necessary skill sets and also facilitate their academic progress. Moreover, with online learning offering students a different method of delivery, it is important that parents work together with their children to determine the pace of study that’s best suited to their child’s learning capacity. Depending on observations made and inputs from teachers, the child’s study schedule can then be suitably modified to help get the best out of the online learning experience.
Although there may be different levels of involvement for the parent or guardian depending on the grade, one common thread that runs through them all is the vital participation of the parent in the child’s educational endeavor. While the involvement of parents diminishes as the student grows older and assumes more responsibility, their presence cannot be completely done away with especially in terms of monitoring the progress of students and providing them with a supportive environment in dealing with issues that arise. They are absolutely necessary in developing critical partnerships with teachers to ensure students have access to everything they need.
One of the major benefits of online education is that most of the process is designed to take place in a virtual environment online. However, depending on the nature of the program, students may be required to travel to a school site for scheduled meetings. Online schooling entails different options for learning where the entire process may take place online or may involve a blended process. In the case of completely virtual online schools, the entire course is carried out in a virtual environment along with all associated communication. However, some online schools combine online learning with classroom sessions, which requires children to attend school for the purpose of face-to-face instruction. The frequency of these visits to a physical school site would depend on the course opted for.