5 Things Your Student Needs To Start Online Middle School

If you've been considering online middle school as an option for your child, one of the first things you want to do is prepare. You know that online school is going to be very different from a traditional brick and mortar school. Knowing what materials you need to have on hand is a critical part of developing a learning environment for your child that will allow them to succeed in this new endeavor. 

1. A computer dedicated to your child's school. When your child attends school online, they need to be able to access the computer whenever they need it. While you can make do with a family computer if you simply must, you'll discover that your entire day runs much smoother if each child attending online school has a computer dedicated to their work. This is particularly important if the supervising parent works from home and also needs access to the computer. Struggles to allow everyone the computer time they need can lead to high levels of stress and difficulty completing all the necessary work. 

2. A learning space is a critical part of developing a learning environment, especially if you have more than one child at home with you during the day. From toddler siblings who are loud and demanding to middle and high school-aged siblings who are trying to complete their schoolwork at the same time, the demands of the environment can make it difficult for your online schooled child to focus. To help improve their odds of success, provide your child with a learning space that will allow them to get away from everyone else and focus on the task at hand. 

3. Basic school supplies are a critical part of online schooling. There's not anyone to borrow from anymore! Supply your child with a calculator, a ruler, a protractor, plenty of printer paper, notebook paper, and graph paper, and a wide array of art supplies. You should keep poster board on hand for any projects that need a broader canvas. Ideally, all of these school supplies should be kept in a central area. Then, when your child needs them, they're easy to find instead of requiring a scavenger hunt around the house. Consider designating different materials for school versus home tasks, especially art supplies, so that the school supplies won't go missing at a critical time. 

4. A basic look over the curriculum and the online system will make your transition to online learning much easier. Method Schools uses Compass Learning, K12, and FuelEd. All three platforms are intuitive and offer a customized pace for students. Don't wait until the first day of classes to look over the materials! Take the time to glance through the system, become familiar with it, and figure out how to make it work for you and your family. Sit down and work out a schedule for what your child will need to complete each day. Take the time to understand the materials you're going to be using up front instead of just diving straight in and hoping things will sort themselves out. This is also a great time to go over your materials and make sure there isn't anything missing.

5. A positive attitude is one of the most critical ingredients to transferring to an online school. If you go into this assuming that your child is going to fail, chances are excellent that ultimately, they will fail. On the other hand, if you go into it assuring your child that you believe in them and that both of you are going to do your best to take advantage of the opportunity you've been offered, you'll discover that your odds of success significantly increase. At Method, we see this time and time again. Your child's attitude matters, too! If they've already determined that they're "bad" at school or that they don't have the tools they need to succeed, they're setting themselves up for failure. On the other hand, if your child is eager to dive in and start learning, they'll increase their odds of success and discover that online learning offers them a better opportunity than they ever imagined.

Finding success with online learning is possible for your student. Having the materials that they need already on hand will make it easier. When you compile the things your child needs and prepare them for online middle school, you'll discover that the entire process is smoother and easier for all of you.


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Mark Holley
Mark Holley
Mark is the co-founder of Method Schools and SmartFox and has been working in the marketing and finance areas of K-12 education for two decades. He holds a B.S. in Business from Utah Valley University and an MBA from Brigham Young University. In his spare time he’s usually on his mountain bike.

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