Online Learning and Parental Responsibilities

Online Learning and Parental Responsibilities

If your child’s taking one or more distance-learning classes, know that your parental duties vis-à-vis those classes involve more than just paying for them. Indeed, in order for your children to get the most out of their Internet courses, you have several important responsibilities.

First, before you sign your children up with an online school, sit down with them and check out a number of these schools together. Think of this process as analogous to the college visits which high school juniors go on. Are there any teachers at these institutions whom you can chat with? Any sample lessons you can try out? Are the sample instructions clear? Will your children be able to learn at their own  pace? Will teachers email you their grades?

Once your kids are enrolled in an Internet school, keep tabs on their progress. Ask them from time to time how their online studies are going. What material do they find especially challenging? When it’s time for them to be learning, check in on them occasionally just to make sure they’re not surfing the web or fooling around on social media sites. (If your child has a real problem with this, consider setting up a computer in the house that’s strictly designated for schoolwork, and block social sites on it.) And offer them assistance with their homework once in a while, just as you might with any traditional class.

At the same time, however, you don’t want to interrogate your children too often or offer too much help with their Internet studies. Rather, it’s important to find a balance that works. After all, online courses, by their very nature, foster independence. But if you’re on your kids’ cases too much, you might inhibit the development of independent-learning skills. It’s important, too, to simply offer lots of encouragement and praise – where appropriate, of course – along the way.

If your children take part in an online classroom setting whereby they study simultaneously with the same students at each session, see if any of those other children live near you. Maybe you, your children, those nearby children and their parents could meet up in real life at some point. It could be a way to introduce your kids to new friends. 

You might even consider enrolling in an online course yourself. What better way to help your children than by setting a positive example for them?

Online learning market place

Nov 30, 1999