How To Encourage Parents With K-12 Online Learning

Online courses are gaining popularity across the United States and around the world. Here’s how to encourage your online-learning efforts and still keep our sanity intact.

Sometimes the biggest way to educate and inspire parents is by creating a good, self-motivated environment in the home. As we continue our journey to promote online learning with our kids, we’re seeing a consistent return of parents who want their kids to take online education seriously. For some, it’s become a rite of passage — allowing them to interact with an education of their own choosing without the hassle of school. For others, online learning is an opportunity to learn from their own children and show them new things.

We share with you their ideas for making their online education their own — and letting them create what they want at the time.

Create an online resource for the whole family

A really encouraging online resource could involve a list of things that parents and their children could work on together (say, letter writing or math). Bring in the other family members, such as siblings, grandparents and in-laws to get everyone involved. This has the added benefit of providing an extra hug and check on interest level in various subjects, thus encouraging kids to work on them even when the grades are bad or grades are so high you can’t believe it.

Let them create for themselves

We love how Eliana Rojas, a single mom of five from San Diego, Calif., inspires her kids by allowing them to be creative. That means some of her kids can create their own cooking videos — rather than talk to a registered chef (who can set an overall tone in the kitchen). They’re able to explore their own knowledge and skills with the attitude of “That’s how it’s done in my family.”

Read and discuss online with a child

Reddit has become an excellent resource to teach kids about “dynamic” reading. As a user puts it, kids can “craft the way they learn, rather than what their parents read or play.” Blogs, online gaming and more provide tremendous opportunities for children to learn more independently, translating directly into a sense of ownership. Take advantage of these great tools, and encourage your kids to read on their own.

Nurture their own interests

As Samantha Cannon, a mother of two boys from Texas, puts it, “Play rooms. It’s not about structured time per se. It’s about you and your boys creating their own space. You have to allow your kids to lead the way and then you have to have confidence in letting them know that you’re here for them. I let them do whatever they want and just let them go and be who they are. It’s easy to get lost in a system. I’m pretty much on-board with letting them be.”

Baby-proof your home

Is your home completely safe? Consider new ways to keep your child safe during online learning. Cede control of computers to your kids. For example, one baby-proof modification would be for your laptop to be suspended from the ceiling. Computers can become flat-screen TVs or jewelry in a way that allows youngsters to not take full advantage of. This might be pricey, but it is much less complex than locking off your kids’ favorite spot in the household or locking down the whole family’s computer.

Communicate to the family

Remember, online learning is more than a mere data dump: It’s a way for parents to talk to their kids and provide the trust for your children to take initiative. If kids don’t appear to be listening or don’t seem to be fully engaged in your system, contact the online instructor and ask about guest rates. It’s also imperative that you provide reviews on online classes, especially during income tax season. One significant online learning success story had parents of a child with cerebral palsy ask to give their kid review points so they could potentially earn some free tuition money. This shows you you’re serious about teaching and that your online experience is still helping your child with their schoolwork.

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