Online classes and tutorials can offer great enrichment for children during the summer or holiday breaks. They can also help kids during the school year or can form the basis of a home-schooling program. For those who are pre-school age through 4th grade, these can be excellent learning tools during the most important formative years of development. Below are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to go this route with your child.
Costs vary for these programs. There are some free resources, but these generally are not a full curriculum and are better as supplements. You should do some research to determine which programs are the best value for money. While there are a number of options for paying for a program, consider personal loans as an effective method to secure funding. There are many online lenders, and they tend to make the application process easier and quick than the loan process generally is with traditional brick-and-mortar lenders.
Choose the Right Program
Cost will narrow down your selection, but there is still plenty to consider. Some programs will cover a variety of different topics or everything that is in a typical school curriculum, while others will specialize in just one area such as music or science. There are a number of homeschooling communities that may be able to offer recommendations, even if you are not homeschooling your children full-time. Another thing to consider is how your child learns best. Most children will do well with interactive programs and games, but by the time they are in the 3rd or 4th grade, some will have the patience for more challenging material, including some short lectures if it is an area they are especially interested in. Keep in mind that while it’s possible and can even be beneficial to turn older children loose in an online learning environment, the process will be much more collaborative with this age group, and the younger they are, the more they will need your supervision.
Younger children are unlikely to be dealing with distractions such as smartphones, but if they are working in an area that is cluttered, especially with their toys, this can distract them as well. If at all possible, you should have a dedicated space for your child even if it is just the corner of the kitchen table, and it should be as distraction-free as possible.
Kids thrive on routine. There needs to be a built-in routine to the school day and a schedule that they can expect to follow. This includes meals and naps if the child still takes them. One great advantage of online classes is that if they are asynchronous, you can schedule your child’s time based on when they are at their best and most alert. For example, your child might learn best in the morning. Be sure to build in frequent breaks, as the younger the child, the more frequent these will need to be as well. It’s a good idea to have kids get up and move around during at least some of these breaks. However, don’t become so strict to the idea of time management that you cause undue stress. Another of the many advantages of online learning is that you can cater it to your child’s pace. Flexibility should be built into the schedule to allow them time to absorb a particularly complex concept or anything that they are struggling with. You should also consider how you will handle a situation in which your child becomes particularly intrigued with something they are learning and wants to pursue it further. You’ll need to balance encouraging this interest against the need to continue on with the curriculum. One way to approach this might be to schedule an anything goes session at the end of the school day that allows the child to spend more time on a subject of interest.
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