JESSICA MONDAY

Far and away, the No. 1 concern I hear from parents is: How do I make sure my student is online and logged in to their classes when I’m at work?

This week the focus is on ways to create accountability with your student and help you make sure they are logging in during their required class times (when you’re not at home to make them).

First, find out the ways your program has set up to track your student’s attendance. Is their teacher or another staff member going to notify you of missed attendance in the classroom learning sessions, or is that something that you can call and ask about, etc. Each school will be different, so find out how your child’s program is set up to capture attendance and then work with your school to stay on top of things with your learner.

Be patient, but persistent. It’s a process to learn new skills, most especially for time-pressed adults. Be empathic to the fact that most people are feeling overwhelmed by this process, including school staff. Ask questions and if you still do not understand the answers, call back and talk to someone else at a different time.

That takes care of the school side of things; now, let’s work to create accountability with your learner at home. A little bit trickier, but still there’s hope.

Have a conversation. If your learner is not following through on the goals you made together, have a conversation about why they are avoiding the online classroom time. Is it because they want to watch TV or play video games instead? Is their class boring or have a lot of down time without them knowing what they are supposed to be doing? Are they scared to have their face on camera? Do they worry about comments from other students or what they are wearing? Get to the bottom of their resistance and then start to work through the problem with them.

Practice. Set aside 10 minutes after dinner or before work, or whenever you have time together, to set up a Zoom, Skype or FaceTime call with your learner and pretend to be the teacher and other students. Make it a play activity. Be silly and have some fun. And create an opportunity for your student to talk about why school is important to them.

Set goals together. Your goal is to get them online participating with their classroom and teacher. Their goal is probably not the same. Set this goal together — and understand that this is a goal that is outside their personal objectives, which include watching TV, playing video games, having fun, etc. Give grounding reasons for why education is important in your family, how your family works together or why it is important to participate and have a social learning atmosphere. Whatever reasons work with your family values and what education means for your family, give your learner the reason why behind their attendance matters.

Create rewards. Think of that golden carrot that your student would most like to earn and work toward that together. Create a way to earn recognition and reward their attendance daily.

Give praise and recognition for what they are getting right. Spend 10 minutes with your child and give them praise without any criticism, even constructive, for what they are getting right. Talk about about how much you appreciate their hard work and how proud you are of their accomplishments and discipline. Then have a different conversation at a different point in time about what still needs to change.

Figure out what you can live with and breathe. This is hard work. This is challenging. Let yourself accept that idea. Now tell yourself you can do this. Because you — and your student — can.

Jessica Monday is the online learning coordinator for Roseburg Public Schools.

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