How to Help Your Kids Adjust to Virtual School

How to Help Your Kids Adjust to Virtual School

Is your kid having a hard time doing school from home? Whether in preschool or high school (or anything in between), learning at home is a very different experience from learning at school and can be a bit of an adjustment. As you may know, I’ve been a homeschooling mom for the past 4 years, while also running two businesses from home. In my latest segment on Good Morning CT at Nine, I share my best tips to help your kids adjust to doing virtual school at home.

Watch “Tips for How to Help Your Kids Adjust to Homeschooling” Below:

Rachael Pontillo shares her best tips for how to help your kids adjust to virtual school on Good Morning CT at Nine.

Here’s the rundown of how to help your kids adjust to virtual school.

The biggest difference between a classroom and home is time management.

At school, every minute of a student’s day is planned, and there are consequences for not being in the right place at the right time. At home, even if there is a daily schedule with live classes in virtual school, not every minute of the day is managed, which can lead to distraction. Learning great time management and self-motivation skills is a must.

I suggest that you and your child review the week’s schedule on Sunday, and then review the next day’s schedule the night before. Make sure both you and your learner have a clear understanding of how to mark attendance, access live classes, assignments, and due dates. Make sure they also know their usernames and passwords for online platforms.

Students may be more distracted doing virtual school at home (TV, YouTube, group chats, toys, etc).

Girl doing virtual school on a laptop

Instead of trying to fight this, face it head on, and work with it by rotating study spaces for a change of scenery, and taking dance breaks. It can be helpful to have a virtual school classroom area setup at home, but allowing for a change in scenery works better for some kids.

Give your kids choices!

If your student’s school has a more flexible online teaching schedule, and you feel you need to supplement, have the kids come up with a list of what they want to study for certain subjects. Then have them research it and create a fun project about it. For example, putting on a play about dinosaurs or giving a powerpoint with pictures about their favorite animal. Giving them useful things to do around the house is great too, and can be educational (cooking, sewing, etc)

Rewards and consequences.

A reward system might include treating older kids to a fancy fountain pen or set of gel pens and fun notebook to encourage note-taking on paper. Younger kids love stickers and reward charts. After completing a big project or getting a good grade, try serving their favorite dinner, or dessert (that they help prepare).

I also recommend that parents let consequences play out. If a student is late with assignments, not showing up to class, they need to understand that it will affect their grade. While you may need to manage their schedules more at first (and younger kids typically do need more oversight with virtual school than older kids), you can’t be their alarm clock and timer all the time.

Fancy fountain pens with a nice notebook help encourage kids to take notes on paper in virtual school.

If they choose to sleep late and start their day late, then that usually means they will have to work late or on weekends. This is actually a really good thing for kids to learn now, because most adults have to learn it the hard way later on!

Finally–go easy on yourself and have patience for yourself, your kids, and your kids’ teachers who are new to teaching virtual school!

This is a big adjustment for everyone. I remember wondering if I’d made a mistake keeping my daughter at home for the whole first year she was home. But she adjusted great, and has developed amazing time management, organizational, and leadership skills. She’s very independent and loves taking ownership of her day. Your kids will be fine 🙂

How are you and your kids adjusting to homeschooling or virtual school?

Please share with me in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “How to Help Your Kids Adjust to Virtual School”

  1. Hi Rachael, could you share some helpful websites or sources that you found helpful when you just started homeschooling, and that talk about how to get started and how to find out what curriculum to follow for your child’s grade that is mandated to pass to the next grade, or source that tell me what tests they need to pass and mandatory subjects or topics they need to study/ learn. I’m considering making this a permanent change perhaps.

    1. Hi Char, it REALLY differs state-to-state. I’d advise you to check with your school district to see what is required in terms of portfolio submissions and testing. We are really lucky here in PA to have laws that are homeschool-friendly, plus we have public cyber charter schools that are accredited and count the same as regular public schools. When my kids were young, we used sites like ABC Mouse, Prodigy, Khan Academy, and sites like Discovery.com and NationalGeographic.com. We did a lot of Waldorf-inspired art and homemaking projects as well. My daughter who is homeschooled primarily does a cyber charter program that allows for supplementation and modifications. It’s like a hybrid of cyber school and traditional homeschool, with the option for her to attend live classes daily taught by state certified teachers, but also to modify her schedule as needed to accommodate her ballet training and whatever we do that’s supplemental. My older daughter’s used sites like IXL, and we also love Outschool.com–they have a huge array of different structured classes for all ages and interests. Hope that helps!

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