JMHS Blog

10 Secrets to Online Homeschool Success

Written by James Madison High School on Wednesday, 25 September 2019. Posted in For Parents

Girl studying at kitchen table.

If you’re homeschooling your high school student online for the first time, you want to make sure that you set them up for success from the very beginning. Unlike traditional education, there’s a level of independence and freedom to how the school day is structured for both of you. Online lessons are available 24/7, your student can take exams and submit assignments when they feel ready to, and you can set a study-pace that suits them and their goals. But with so much freedom and no deadlines, it’s important to make sure your child is finishing their work and doing well in their online classes on a regular basis. To make sure they stay on track, try out these 10 secrets to success from day one.

10 steps to finding success in online homeschool

  • Set goals. What goals do you and your homeschool student have? Why did you decide to enroll them in an online high school? What’s their next step? Sit down with them and decide what goals you both have for this school “year.” Understanding the point or being able to visualize the desired outcome for their studies can help them stay on track, even when it’s tempting to procrastinate.
  • Get organized. As a homeschooler, your student doesn’t necessarily need a traditional study space, but getting organized before jumping into the first class can start the school “year” on the right note. Having a dedicated study space that’s neat and separate from relaxation spaces and having supplies like notebooks, pens, and post-its available can prevent your student from getting unnecessarily distracted.
  • Set a schedule that works for everyone. Online homeschooling allows you and your student to decide what study pace and schedule works best for both of you. Instead of going into online high school with the idea that your child can study whenever they want to, work out a regular schedule with them. Whether that means four hours of studying a day in the evenings five days a week, or eight hours a day, three days a week, having the expectation of a steady schedule can get everyone into the school routine.
  • Stick to that schedule as much as possible. Things come up and life isn’t always predictable, but sticking to the study schedule you set together as much as possible can make a difference. If studying regularly becomes a habit, it’s much easier to keep moving forward because it’s something you’re used to doing.
  • Take days off when needed. While studying at home comes with a lot of benefits, it can also feel like you shouldn’t allow your student to take days off when they’re not feeling well, or just can’t concentrate. After all, they’re at home anyway. Why not study like usual? But just like you need a personal day from work, your student may need a break from school. While it’s important to stick to a schedule, a day or two off here and there isn’t going to set your child’s progress behind.
  • Expect that your student will try their best. You’ve chosen online homeschooling for a reason and, if you made the decision with your child’s input, they know that it’s important for them to work hard. Expect that they will try their best on their own, but offer help when they need it. When they don’t do their best - which happens to everyone - try to find out what may be discouraging them and help them work through it.
  • Show them how to learn from their mistakes. When they do less than their best, find out why. Maybe the lesson they were working on was challenging and they didn’t understand the concepts. Or, on the other hand, maybe your student thought they were an expert in the material and didn’t need to study before taking a test. Whatever the case, they can learn from their mistakes. Failure isn’t game over, but an opportunity to try again—especially in a self-paced environment like online high school.
  • Know your James Madison resources. Just because the classes are online doesn’t mean that you or your student are in this alone. The teachers and staff at James Madison High School are here to help, whether that comes down to going over a tough-to-grasp concept or helping you both stay motivated. Learn what resources you have available and how to reach them.
    • Academic Advisors are your go-to for tutoring, motivation, and more. The first line for help when your student is stuck on a subject or assignment, our advisors are subject matter experts who can get your student back on track. Advisors are available to help by calling into the school!
    • Certified Teachers are experts in their subjects and dedicated to seeing your homeschooler succeed. Teachers are available for help through email and phone.
  • Connect with other students and parents online. Besides having help with academics, an important part of learning is connecting with the school, other students, and homeschooling parents. Get advice from those who’ve gone through the program before, stay up to date on James Madison news, and get tips and tricks to stay motivated by joining the conversation on one of our online platforms.
  • Take learning on the go. With James Madison’s online homeschooling curriculum and self-paced courses, your student can learn wherever they go. While maintaining that dedicated study space and schedule can be important to staying on track with their classwork, an occasional change of scenery can be refreshing. Whether that’s taking their tablet to the park, or studying in a favorite coffee shop, studying in a different place can get your student back in the study groove if they’ve been feeling stuck.

Choose what success means to you and your student with JMHS.

Our online high school diploma program allows you and your student to set your pace and choose what success means to you. Whether that’s early graduation or having the flexibility to allow your student to take their time, James Madison lets you decide. Not sure if online homeschool is the right fit for your family? Talk with our experienced Admissions team today at .

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James Madison High School

James Madison High School

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