How to Help Your Child Succeed

Monitor Your Child’s Class Activity

Once your child is enrolled for the first time, you will be sent an e-mail that contains your Parent Username and Password. Please save it. Please use it. But, please do not share it. This is the login information for you to access your child’s school file and monitor their school work. You will also find links to contact school administration and your child’s Guidance Counselor.

You know your child best, but in our experience, every child needs to be monitored when it comes to school work. Set the tone early on that you will be an active part of your child’s daily educational routine. If your child expects you to log in every day to look at their school work, it can prevent conflicts later on down the road. Simply taking your child’s word for completion of their school work sets up a tempting dynamic for the student. Believe it or not, even motivated students prefer to play games and chat with friends, while they are on the computer, over completing their school work. If your child knows you will be logging in daily, this will help them stay focused on school.

Set Expectations, Make a Schedule, Make Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

In a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ school, your child must put in the time, sitting in class for a set number of hours every day. The student who puts their head down on the desk and sleeps through class has not learned anything, but they are marked present and have met the compulsory attendance requirement. At Whitmore School, there is no requirement for the amount of time a student must ‘sit in class’, only requirements for how much a student must learn before they are finished with a class. That being said, learning requires time and work. The amount of time and work will be different for every child. We do not dictate what your child’s learning schedule should be. However, we do recommend that students have a daily routine for logging in to do schoolwork. A daily routine helps keep students on track toward completing their classes and earning their diploma. It also helps guard against procrastination, which can be a common pitfall for students new to online learning.

Having a daily routine of setting time expectations that your child sits in front of the computer will not work at Whitmore School. Instead, you should sit down with your child, preview the course(s) he or she is enrolled in, and come up with a concrete schedule for the completion of school work. It’s a good idea to set short-term goals (for example, complete up to Lesson 4 by Friday) and long-term goals (for example, graduate by June). It’s also important to regularly review whether this daily routine is working to keep your child on track.

As a broad guideline, we recommend that a diploma program student plan to work on their courses 4-5 days each week. Students are scheduled with 3 courses at one time. They should plan to make one or two submissions in each of the 3 courses every day for those 4-5 days each week. The amount of time that this daily work will take will most likely vary from day to day. Some lessons might be a simple matter of revising a few answers, while other lessons might involve researching and writing an essay which will take quite a bit more time. After your child does a few lessons, you will begin to get a clearer picture of the time needed for your child to complete school work.

Below is a guideline of what a student is expected to submit.

Working less than 2 days each week is NOT recommended.

A student working 2 – 3 days each week in 3 courses is considered a Part-Time student.

A student working 4 days each week in 3 courses is considered a Full-Time student.

1 post each day in 3 courses x 4 days = 12 posts per week
2 posts each day in 3 courses x 4 days = 24 posts per week

A student working 5 days each week in 3 courses is considered a Full-Time student.

1 post each day in 3 courses x 5 days = 15 posts per week
2 posts each day in 3 courses x 5 days = 30 posts per week

NOTE:  One more important consideration about school attendance. Every state has a compulsory attendance law, no matter where the student attends school. It is the parent’s responsibility to comply with the compulsory attendance law in your state.

How You Can Help Your Child Engage His or Her Teacher

The back-and-forth learning process begins when your child asks a question of the teacher. Until the student initiates this contact, the teacher has no idea that the student is having any difficulty. The teacher cannot see the puzzled look on your child’s face. Initiating this contact with the teacher takes some practice for students new to online learning. You can help.

Most student difficulties start out with broad, vague questions: “Huh? What…? I don’t get it.” The longer a student stays there, sitting with their “Huh?” the bigger their frustration will grow. Before long, it could grow to the size of…”None of this makes any sense! I can’t do this!” Help your student get in the habit of shrinking down the question instead of growing it bigger. Ask your student questions like:

  • Which parts of the lesson do you think you already understand well?
  • Which part of this assignment is tripping you up?
  • What do you think you need to know to understand that better?
  • What can your teacher give you that might help you understand that?

Once your child has shrunk the problem down to a few specific questions, help and encourage them to ask their teacher those questions. Remind them to be polite (say “please”) and to polish up their grammar before hitting the ‘submit’ button.

Then congratulate your child for asking such a smart and apt question! Confidence in learning begins with the confidence to ask questions. Besides, teachers really like to see students become actively engaged in their courses and ask good questions (This will pay off when the time comes for writing college recommendations!)

Our courses are meant to challenge your child and expand their capabilities. However, if your child continues to have difficulties that seem unreasonable to you, please do not hesitate to give the office a call. Together we can brainstorm solutions.

Why Whitmore?

Whitmore School takes its mission very seriously:

Whitmore School seeks to provide a supportive, challenging, and alternate learning environment. Students are encouraged to be in charge of their education, giving them the opportunity to develop creativity, independence, responsibility, time management and critical thinking skills. We emphasize mastery of all academic courses, allowing students to view themselves as capable of achieving their educational goals.

Our goal is not only to educate your child on reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic’, so to say, but help them develop into confident, independent, lifelong learners. This includes the many, many students who come to us with learning challenges. As our mission says, we expect the student to take charge of their education. This means initiating communication with teachers and self-advocating throughout the process. This is a very important life skill. We want to empower each student to identify their needs, articulate them, then adjust as needed.  As our Core Values Statement says, “Students have the freedom to continuously define themselves through their choices, work and communication.” 

Keep in mind that this rarely happens quickly or easily. It takes repeated encouragement from both teachers and parents. But after time, Whitmore students do find their voice and do begin to view themselves as capable. 

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