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Sponsored post by Straighterline

You’ve signed up your student for online courses — maybe even self-paced, college-level courses at StraighterLine – and it seemed like a great idea at the time, but now you’re a little worried about the best ways to navigate the online course environment so your student has the best opportunity for success. If you’ve never experienced an online learning environment before (or it’s been a while), here are several tips to consider as you start this new journey.

  •     Find or create a suitable place to study. Where your student chooses to study might depend on their personal learning style. Some students study well with music playing where others need total silence to concentrate. Many do well to set up a designated “study spot” in their home to allow them to separate learning from sleep, entertainment, or eating. They may also work better in a whole different environment, like the local library or coffee house. No matter the preference, it’s a great idea to have an established location where you know your student can study effectively.
  •     Create a consistent schedule. The good news is that online courses are generally self-paced, and your student is free to complete assignments at their convenience, within some boundaries. Creating a schedule can help your student stay focused and organized—and allow you all to take family vacations and long weekends without stressing out. Ideally, they should make their schedule consistent from week to week, to get used to the pace. When schoolwork becomes a routine, your student will be more likely to succeed and complete their course by the goal date. Try breaking your course into weekly chunks (or smaller) and keep your student accountable by scheduling when they plan to complete tasks.  
  •     Complete the course topics in sequence. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised how tempting it will be for your student to dig into material they’ve either encountered before or seems more interesting. Keep in mind that, in general, each assignment builds upon the skills learned in prior assignments and lessons. For example, the first three assignments in StraighterLine’s English 101 are the Fable Narrative, the Descriptive Paragraph, and the Summary Exercise. The skills used to write these assignments will be very useful in subsequent, longer essays. Likewise, the basic algebraic operations you master in Topic 1 of College Algebra are necessary for proficiency in the more challenging lessons that will follow. Think of the lessons like building blocks of knowledge—you don’t want them to miss out on putting together a good foundation for later learning.
  •     Use the textbooks. Believe it or not, many well-intentioned students want to ditch the textbooks for online classes. Textbooks are there for a reason: they provide a solid foundation and a resource for learning concepts in an organized and accessible format. We all know textbooks can be expensive, so start looking early enough to get used textbooks or digital textbooks, which save money. Some online programs offer eTextbooks for free with their courses, which provides students a lot more flexibility financially as well as some nifty digital tools such as highlighting and index searching.
  •    Ask for help. If your student needs help with any aspect of their course, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. While it’s good to have a friend or family member to bounce ideas off, the school will also have digital resources your student can use at any time. Most online options also come with access to live chat as well as virtual tutors, ensuring that one-on-one academic support is there when your student needs it. Likewise, libraries both on and off campus have grown their digital resources by leaps and bounds, ensuring you can research any topic, any time without worrying about whether you are using reputable and reliable sources. Your student’s success is important to everyone involved, so remember that the only bad question is the unasked question.

Online courses can be intimidating and ever-changing, so these tips will help you ease into a new and different learning environment. StraighterLine endorses all these helpful tips and encourages you to look into course options with us as you consider whether online college courses are right for your student. We offer self-paced online courses with eTextbooks included and free, live assistance. Get an exclusive $50 off for homeschool students, use promo code HOMESCHOOLSL50 at checkout for your first course. We’re available to help, so visit our website or give us a call today with your questions at (844) 357-5221. We look forward to working with you!

 

About the Author

Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]

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