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At Futures Academy, we are constantly researching and sharing relevant topics that affect our students and families. We also have guest bloggers sharing their research and best practices. Read our blogs to learn more! 

Five Simple Tips for Online Learning Success

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Article contributed by guest author, Sarah R. Weidman.

The surprise of distance learning this past spring was a wake-up call for many families as they quickly realized their students strengths and challenges when it came to independent learning. With a little over a month left of summer here are five tips to set your student up for success whether distant or in-person learning:

1.     Help your student discover if they need a “maker’s” or a “manager’s” schedule. This idea was originated by Paul Graham who suggested that “makers” thrive when they have large uninterrupted chunks of time to work on a project whereas managers need their time broken up into small chunks of time. Of course, both types of schedules intersect and for students the needs may largely be based on the type of assignment and their schedule. For some students, however, a project may be more easily finished if it is broken down into smaller time/task segments whereas for other students the project may more easily be accomplished if there is a large chunk of time in which they can work uninterrupted.

2.      Help your student create a distraction-free zone. Decide if it’s better if there is one designated workplace (a desk, perhaps, with all the materials necessary at their fingertips) or if a moveable workspace is better. For the latter, keep all materials (pencils, pens, rules, etc) in a bin. Students can work in one area on one task for a set period of time and then move their “mobile desk” to another area for a designated time.

3.     Keep a family calendar. If you haven’t started a calendar already, please do so. For all students, but especially those who have ADHD, knowing when they have time to work and when they have family obligations are particularly useful. Knowing when parents are available for help and when they are working also helps  to reduce stress.

4.     Work with your child to figure out what types of assignments they can do independently and when they need additional assistance. Also, help your student figure out how much time independently they can do work on their own. Begin to help them build stamina by setting a timer (if they become distracted easily) and give them one small task to work on during that time.

5.     Help your student reflect. It’s important that when you are helping your student build a skill or try on a new habit that you discuss what is working and what is not! Sometimes a strategy just needs some tweaking and sometimes it needs to be scrapped and a new strategy needs to be put in place altogether.

About the Author: Sarah Weidman is an academic life coach that works with stressed out teens who are overwhelmed by school pressure to help them get their work done without the stress. As a classroom teacher for over ten years, she knows from her experience as a teacher and a student that not being able to produce because of poor time-management and organization can feel insufferable.

Since 2015, Sarah has been helping students and their families bust through their studying woes! Sarah loves helping students discover how they can use their unique strengths to overcome the challenges that they have in school whether it is breaking down a project and figuring out the first step or learning how to structure a paper. Sarah serves students with learning differences and those who are simply overwhelmed.