Make no mistake: eLearning is hard.
It is hard if you are the learner, and it is hard if you are the parent of an eLearner (and believe it or not, it is hard if you are the teacher, too).
If you are like most new eSchool learners and their parents, you signed up thinking that eSchool would be different. eSchool would be better. eSchool would be the solution to all your problems.
It is true that enrolling in, and attending an eSchool has some advantages over mainstream face-to-face schools. You don’t have to get dressed in the morning. You don’t have to brush your hair, or your teeth for that matter. If you can connect to the internet, you can go to class. Often your days are shorter than at a mainstream school, but not always. If you are anxious, have poor mobility, are chronically unwell or are itinerant or travelling, you can still complete your education and have teachers support in your learning.
But... and there is always a but, isn’t there?
You still have to get up every day and make that conscious decision to attend and participate in lessons. You have to make a decision to complete your assignments, and then actually finish them and hand them in. You have to manage your own time. You have to make a commitment to your learning, and then stick with it.
As a student, the time management thing is really hard, and so is making that constant commitment to get up, get to class, join in and work to your potential. It is hard. Teachers know that it is hard. But we cannot physically make you come to class. We cannot lean in to your room through the computer and make you type up that assignment, do that experiment, complete that quiz or write that short story.
We know it is hard and we want to help, but we aren’t mind readers. If you honestly and sincerely want to succeed, but you are having trouble getting started, keeping going or understanding what to do – you have to tell us. We can’t see that you are confused when you don’t answer questions. We think you may have gone to answer the phone or make a cup of tea or are checking facebook.
As parents, it is hard, too. Your teenagers should be taking responsibility for their learning. But they don’t know how to. They don’t have the skills to complete the tasks without constant supervision. They might be having trouble with the technology. You might feel you don’t have the skills to help them either. You might be feeling overwhelmed with all the new technology, the different ways of learning and teaching and whatever else is happening in your family that you needed to enroll in eSchool (your learners probably are, too).
Talk to your learner. Try to find a way to work it out together. Be interested and enthusiastic if you can. If you and your child really can’t work it out, get in touch with the school. Your teachers might not have all the answers, but there will be few problems we haven’t heard before. We might have some ideas or strategies that might help. We might be able to point you in the right direction, and we will be able to see your situation from a different perspective.
Everyone has trouble getting used to eSchool. Sometimes just talking about it is enough. The reassurance that you are not alone helps immensely. Let your student’s teachers help you to help your learner, and to help you develop the skills you need to support your learner.
If you are trying, you are doing a great job. Education is important.
Getting help and support when you and your learner need it is even more important.
eSchool shouldn’t be a constant struggle.
You can do this! I promise…