If you’re a busy homeschooling parent who is looking to maximize learning opportunities while minimizing your teacher workload, then you’re likely happy to add a video course or two (or four? five?) to your curriculum choices.
But how can we increase the chances that our kids will get absolutely everything those online and video courses have to offer? It’s easy to let them loose each day to go watch their lessons, but the reality is, sometimes even the most studious of kids will find themselves daydreaming or distracted, and we realize that they haven’t actually learned much of anything.
Even when we get to hand over the reins and rely on a remote teacher, if we fail to plan, we’re almost guaranteed a plan to fail. In order to make the most of video courses, here are four ways to develop good offline study habits:
Create a plan.
My kids, especially those who struggle to organize themselves, thrive when they know where the day or school year are going. A simple checklist on the front end of a semester will help them stay on task and help you to see if they’re where they should be with the course or behind and needing to catch up.
Keep it simple so it will stick: Calculate the number of school days you have to finish a particular curriculum, then multiply them by the number of videos you have to watch. Will that work out to one per week? One per day? Whatever it is, write it down and put a checkmark next to the lessons completed. We all need a visual measure of our progress.
Search for note-taking templates.
This year, my high school senior will be taking American government in an online video format. One simple online search and I was able to find ready-made note-taking templates for her course exactly. The course itself was free and the note templates were a nominal fee—this was definitely a winning combo.
Of course, there are other solutions for taking notes if you are using an online course from Compass Classroom. “Economics for Everybody”, for instance, includes a free study guide. Print it out and allow your student to take notes right on the printed pdf., using the scope and sequence as a guide.
Standard note-taking templates for formats like Cornell Notes can be found online with a simple search, as well. The power of the internet is vast; use it to your advantage by using a search term like “cornell notes pdf.”
Make good use of flash cards.
Yes! Good, old-fashioned flash cards. If something is worth memorizing, it’s worth memorizing with tools created just for that purpose. Flash cards can be used for quizzing, taping to a mirror, or stashing in the car while waiting for lessons and such.
Don’t forget the built-in tools!
Compass Classroom incorporates effective review resources like Quizlet right into the video lessons. I love it when smart companies think about busy homeschooling parents. If you’re using another video or online curriculum that hasn’t done that extra step for you, it’s not too difficult to create your own. Better yet, let your student create the Quizlet cards based on their own notes. The reinforcement of creating the quiz and then using it as a review tool will be highly effective.
Offline Study Habits for Video Courses
Congratulations on discovering the power of online learning. We’ve been given such a dynamic tool in this era of homeschooling, and it’s exciting to realize that our students can be absorbing so many lifelong lessons because of it. By keeping a few excellent review tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be giving them the gift of a lifetime!
Author, Kendra Fletcher
Kendra Fletcher is a mother of 8, speaker, author, and 22-year homeschool veteran. She is the author of Lost and Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace, and Leaving Legalism, and she regularly writes for Key Life Ministries. The Fletchers reside in California, where they play in the Pacific Ocean as often as possible. Find her here: www.kendrafletcher.com.