“Start with one online class your first year,” my adviser recommended during our initial consultation. It was clear that easing into online classes was the way to go. I took the recommendation with a grain of salt and signed my nine-year-old up for two online classes–back to back. At orientation, her teachers told everyone that it takes about four to six weeks to get acclimated. “Don’t worry; you’ll get used to it.” If anyone could do it, Ava could, I told myself. Plus, I’d have three solid hours to do my son’s school, right?
Ava is now doing great in her online class and feeling more comfortable speaking on camera, but it was a rocky start for all of us. I made the mistake of leaving her alone in class, thinking she had everything under control. Well, it was a lot to ask a nine-year-old, let alone one who was new to online learning. Needless to say, technical difficulties arose, and tears were shed. She vowed never to attend class again.
We are now in week six of classes, and just like her teachers predicted, we’re getting into the swing of things. We have since dropped one of the classes and focused on her online Literature 3 class because Ava’s strength is in reading and language. You may have reasons for deciding which classes your child takes online and which you do at home. I wanted to build confidence in my sensitive and shy daughter, so I chose a course I knew she would enjoy and succeed in.
The live online classes have been a blessing in many ways. They’ve allowed Ava to connect with other students. This was huge as she was getting older and needed to make friends of her own. It encouraged discussion with students with different perspectives and academic levels. It held me accountable for completing all of the coursework. The list could go on. But it is not the equivalent of sending her off to a brick-and-mortar school as far as parent supervision goes.
The learning curve with online classes with Veritas does take about four to six weeks. I’m grateful that the teachers are very gracious and understanding to new online learners. That being said, parents should plan to sit by young students for the duration of the class at first. It’s helpful for the parent to know what is going on in the class and to help the student stay focused. An hour and fifteen minutes is a long time for a young child to sit still. I’ve found that doing mindless activities to keep them busy has helped with this. Coloring, doodling, making string bracelets, and other repetitive activities are good ways to keep little hands busy and minds focused.
Distraction has been our biggest enemy with online classes. Make sure your child’s headset is plugged in to deter it. If you have other children in the house, this is huge. Set up a private area, even if it’s part of a bigger room, where your child can do their class quietly while you are still close by. Make it fun by decorating the space with pictures and a comfy chair or blanket.
As the parent, it’s your job to keep track of assignments, quizzes, projects, and tests. You’ll need to print out the Course Assignment Sheet from the Materials section of the course page (every course has one). Make a note of the due dates on your calendar so you can help your child upload or take computer-graded assessments on time. Veritas has a very strict late work policy that you’ll want to make your child aware of.
As mentioned above, each grammar school class meets for an hour and fifteen minutes twice a week. However, there is also homework of about the same amount of time commitment per meeting. You’ll need to schedule homework time for the class as well.
Live online classes are a commitment for young students and parents, but the benefits outweigh the initial stress. It’s an excellent opportunity to teach young children time management and accountability. They’ll connect with other students and be stretched academically. I’m excited to watch my daughter mature with her online classes this year! See how you can help your child grow academically with our online grammar classes. Not sure which classes to sign up for? Talk to one of our advisers!
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