You are a homeschooling family! WOW! That is great. You have a tremendous amount of choice, flexibility and independence. There are amazing opportunities out there. Online education is one of those options.
When it comes to online education, there are certain things that will help you get the most out of your online classes. As an online teacher, I have often wondered what the student’s end of the class looks like. In other words, if I had all my student’s webcams on – the entire class – what would I see during the 90-minute classes. Yes, I know that students participate in class from their bedrooms, kitchens, home offices, car, coffee shops, while at various co-ops and yes, I have had students take their classes from hotel rooms, Disney World and even on a cruise ship! With this said, there are several ways to maximize your child’s success in OTA’s online classes!
Attend class live
If at all possible, try coming to the live class. Yes, recordings work fine when absolutely necessary; however, there is something about being the live class as it is happening so that you are engaged and interacting with your teacher and classmates.
Be prepared for class
Most teachers post class notes and/or the PowerPoint that they will be using during class prior to the actual class. It truly benefits you to review these BEFORE class so that you have some prior knowledge of what class will be about. In addition, make sure any reading and homework that is due before the class is done! Teachers assign homework to enhance the classroom experience. If you haven’t done what is expected, you will be one step behind.
This might sound obvious; however, I can’t say it enough. Participate as much as possible. Come to class and be prepared to
- ask questions
- offer answers
- leaving encouraging feedback for your classmates
By participating in the class, you will be more engaged, and you will find the entire online classroom experience more enjoyable.
Get to know your Classmates
All OTA teachers open their classrooms ten minutes prior to the class beginning. You have this opportunity to come in and “chat” freely with your classmates. Find out what state or country they are from. Ask them questions. Find out what they enjoy reading. Learn about their hobbies. These are the students you will be interacting with during the entire course. Get to know your online friends.
Keep Multi-tasking to a Minimum
I hate to say this out loud; however, I know that some students do this. It is possible for a student to attend an online class, while eating a meal and checking social media and/or email and/or instant messages. We know that siblings can walk in or parents can ask you a question. Yes – we do also know that some students work on other subjects’ homework while “listening” to an online class. However, this only HURTS YOU. Your teacher is aware of when this happens. How? You do not respond when spoken to. You might ask a question that we just answered. You might be completely clueless on a homework assignment.
True – we can’t see you. But taking an online class is a privilege. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Immerse yourself in it. You will be surprised how much you can learn and how much you will enjoy it.
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.