Uh-oh. You're halfway through the year, and you've just realized that your child has fallen way behind in their online home school work. They haven't been completing assignments. Their progress has slowed to a screeching halt. Now, all of a sudden, you're looking at piles of extra work that need to be completed, and you're scrambling to catch up. Luckily, there's good news: winter break is here, and with it, the perfect opportunity to let your child focus on catching up.
Start with a list. What, exactly, does your child need to complete in order to catch up? Is it a single subject in which no work has been done for weeks? All of their schoolwork that is significantly behind schedule? Make a list of everything that will need to be done over the break in order to get their progress back on track. If at all possible, you should get this done a few days before the break begins so that you can ask your child's teachers any questions that you might have, but if you can't, that's okay, too! Most of the material you need will be contained within the online system, and with a little digging, you'll be able to find it.
Start early in the break. You might not be able to jump straight in and get schoolwork done on the first few days of break. There's Christmas to get ready for, and family is your current priority. As soon as the holiday is over, however, so is the break: your child has work to catch up on, and they need to get it done. While you can allow some freedom in their schedule to allow for break-related activities, especially family-focused ones, it's important to let your child know that they aren't going to be able to fully enjoy their time off until they're done with their school work. Just like you'd have to work overtime if you fell behind on an important project at work, so your child needs to work overtime to catch up all that missing schoolwork. Once it's done, then they can play.
Look for resources outside the online system. Your child's teachers are on break, too, and they might not be available for questions until after your child has returned to school for the semester. Instead of allowing your child to put off work under the guise that they "don't understand it," find people who will be able to explain the material to them. Do you have a friend who just happens to be a writer who could explain the ins and outs of an English assignment? An accountant who could sit down with your child and go over the math? In some cases, you may find yourself learning material in order to explain it to your child.
Be flexible, but keep working. It's Christmas break. You desperately want your child to be able to have some fun, especially if they've been struggling to keep up with their schoolwork throughout the semester. After all, everyone deserves a break, right? Be more flexible with your scheduling than usual over the winter break. You can allow your child to reconnect with their friends from their brick and mortar school, participate in family activities, or watch a favorite movie or two on television. You don't, however, want to fall into the trap of always putting the work off for "tomorrow." Before you know it, the break will be over, and you don't want your child to still be far behind.
Working through winter break might feel like a punishment. You can certainly present it to your child that way, but it might be better to take the stance that it's a natural consequence of their choices. They chose not to complete their schoolwork throughout the semester, so now, they're going to have to take the steps necessary to catch up. It's a challenge--but it's one that you're both up to. Dig in and complete it to the best of your ability, and you'll be able to start back after winter break with the assurance that your child is back on track.