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5 Effective Study Skills for High School Online Learning Success

Written by Allison Brenner on Wednesday, 21 May 2014. Posted in Helpful Tips

5 Effective Study Skills for High School Online Learning Success

The self-paced environment high school online programs offer is one of the many attractive features parent decisionmakers and educators seek; specifically when selecting or recommending homeschooling curricula for secondary education to earn a high school diploma online. The child that struggles to keep up or is far beyond his grade-level often finds a measure of success through homeschooling that perhaps is unobtainable in an on-campus classroom atmosphere. For one to adapt to an environment that promotes flexibility, one must also develop and employ the same study skills that traditional students do to prepare for higher education and the real world.

Classic Study Skills That Every Student Should Master:

Effective Reading

Learning to read is a life-long process. Aside from reading for pleasure, readers read for different purposes. Effective reading helps the student to understand written language and constructively process the meaning of the text. Parsing the language and the reading topic influences how well students communicate with one another and the world at large.


Memorization is a study skill that will follow a student throughout their academic career and beyond. Students are expected to memorize grammar rules, vocabulary words, poems, math facts and scientific principles. Memorization skills are taught using a variety of methods including rote learning, flash cards, word association and mnemonic devices such as song and rhyme – think Ray Charles singing the Alphabet Song on Sesame Street. As a student identifies which method or methods work best for him, employing this skill will become as necessary as the retention of the memorized information.

Note Taking

Although many homeschooling and online high school programs are offered – well, online, your child should continue and master the practice of note taking. Taking notes can be tricky. If a student picks up only high-level information, he may not easily remember the material upon review. If he takes copious notes with no direction or form, the result could be the same as if he took too few notes. Successful note takers do the following:

  • Preview Readings
  • Pay Attention to Boldface Words & Headings
  • Rework Main Ideas into Concepts they can Understand
  • Pay Attention to Captions
  • Use Different Note Taking Methods:
    Highlighters, Sticky Notes, Index Cards & Charts & Diagrams
  • Make Sure that Notes Reference the Objectives of Each Lesson


Online high school programs and other homeschooling curricula require testing at various phases during the course of each lesson and class. Mastering test taking is amongst the most fundamental skills your child will utilize during his academic career. Testing is how a student will qualify and quantify what he has learned and retained. Especially if your child has aspirations of attending University, in which case practicing quality testing skills is excellent preparation for college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.

Time Management & Organization

Learning without walls is a unique experience for many, and it requires a level of self-discipline that is not expected in the traditional classroom. For students in on-campus environments, each day is structured by lesson plans; bells to start the day, begin and dismiss class, signal lunch period and end the day. This systematic structure ensures that students manage their time within the confines of their day.

While homeschooling and online high school programs offer flexibility, time management and organization is as indispensable as these skills would be in an on-campus environment. Requiring your child to have a separate, clean and neat workspace for his materials and completing coursework before any other activity in his daily schedule serves to keep him focused and on task not distracted by other stimuli such as television, games, siblings or pets.

What's more, excellent time management and organizational skills will be a beneficial necessity for a successful college career and in the work-world.

James Madison High School Accreditation

Since 1996, JMHS has built a tradition of excellence in online high school education. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency, nationally accredits James Madison High School.

In early 2012, James Madison High School introduced its curricula to meet the state- and territory-led Common Core State Standard Initiatives in Language Arts, Math and Science – well ahead of the mandated deadline of 2014. We are proud to be amongst the first distance learning institutions to implement the Common Core, and we look forward to its tremendous impact on our student body.

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About the Author

Allison Brenner

Allison Brenner

Allison Brenner is a copywriter for both James Madison High School and Ashworth College. Alli holds a B.S. in Journalism from the Georgia Southern University College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.