Did you know Facebook was founded in 2004? Or that MySpace (may it rest in peace) was the forerunner? Or that cell phones were once giant bricks with big antennas? Within my lifetime, technology has changed (quite the understatement). I remember dial-up connections, flip phones, and CD players. Dial-up Internet sounded like donkeys braying (listen to it here, kids). Flip phones were razor-thin (no kidding, see?). Digital music? We had CD players that we used to jam to Backstreet Boys…and even before that we used a Sony Walkman to sing along to New Kids on the Block. Now, we’re now blessed with iPhones with three cameras and facial recognition, music streaming services, and WiFi. (Three cheers for WiFi!)
This technology has also changed how we homeschool and made it possible for us to research, read, listen, and learn online! (If you’re not familiar with online homeschooling, read this.) Now, how do you succeed in online homeschooling, especially in the internet-world where distractions are rabbit-holes of discovery? I know – it’s more fun to look at your Instagram feed than math assignments. But, learning is important, no?
Here’s how to succeed in online homeschooling!
Know thy learning style. Whether you’re auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, your learning style impacts the way you study and learn the material. Auditory? Listen to a lecture and take notes. Visual? Create a graphic organizer on the Civil War. Kinesthetic? Make a diorama of the solar system. Your personalized study habits will pay off when that beautiful “A” stares at you from your quiz results.
Notes will not take themselves. It’s all about paper and pencil, my friend. While typing out your notes may be easier, studies have shown handwriting your notes will help your brain retain the material better. Ditch the keyboard and grab a pen or pencil – you’ll be glad you did. Not sure how to take notes? Check out our super-handy blog post for study skills!
Back away from the computer. You know the feeling – your eyes water and you just know you can’t look at the Pythagorean theorem for one more minute. Then don’t! Scoot back your chair and go outside. Take a walk or a bike ride. Take a book and read or study outside. The key here is no electronic screens to give your eyes and brain a rest. The last thing you need is to be looking at your phone, tablet, or any other screen. Giving your brain some time to relax is smart and can increase your productivity when you come back to the table or desk.
Ask for help. Online homeschooling is pretty cool because asking for help is easy. You have your parent (of course), a personal advisor, and online resources for you. It’s okay to ask questions. In fact, we encourage it! It’s frustrating if you’re not understanding a concept. Ask questions always. Use a dictionary. (Yes, the online one. Do you really want to dust off your hardcover that weighs a million pounds?) Google all the things. Online homeschooling can be stressful if you’re not getting the help you need.
Stay focused. The internet is not (always) your friend. Sure, it’s great for cat YouTube videos or Netflix binges, but let’s be honest – we all get distracted from what we actually need to do online. As an online homeschooler, you’re tempted to watch movies rather than do schoolwork. Don’t cave into peer pressure! (And by peer, we mean our frenemy, the internet.) Take about 30 minutes each day to plan out your schedule. I recommend a daily planner that has each day mapped out hour by hour. Pencil in what you need to do for the day, check it off once (then twice), and then reward yourself with free time. And if that means free time playing Fortnite, by all means!
Shake it up. Believe it or not, the computer doesn’t give you ALL the answers. There are some things the internet can’t do, like conduct a science experiments. Or put on a real planetarium show. Take time to elevate your learning level by going on field trips. Go to the library (yes, it still exists) and research a topic in your astronomy course. Visit a local museum to understand the history of your hometown. Schedule a tour with a manufacturing plant to understand physics. There’s so much out there to do and see, and that’s a learning experience in itself!
Of course, these are all things you’ll have to wait to do once businesses reopen and things get back to normal. In the meantime, however, the internet actually can be an amazing resource for virtual field trips and tours. All you need is an internet connection to check in on the largest aquarium in America (keep an eye out for a whale shark, the largest fish in the world!), get a live look at the amazing animals at the San Diego Zoo, and take a virtual tour of the Louvre!
Succeeding in online homeschooling only works if you want it to work. You have to put forth the effort to see the results you want and reach your full potential. So, take notes, ask for help, take breaks when you need them, and be sure to integrate experiences to get the most from online homeschooling. After all, this is your education. It’s worth the effort to get it right!
Thinking about online homeschooling? Check out our programs and packages!
What are YOUR ideas on how to succeed in online homeschooling? Tell us in the comments below!