Helping The Online Middle/High School Student Succeed

  • For parents of students attending virtual high school, the biggest challenge is often making the learning arrangement work. Parental involvement is crucial in the online learning process as support from parents has been shown to improve both grades and test scores and leads to higher graduation rates. Yet, in high school, the amount of parental involvement diminishes as the student transitions to a greater level of academic independence. Indeed, granting 13 to 18 year-olds greater levels of freedom (and responsibility) affords them the opportunity to hone their personal and time management skills—which are central factors to success at the post-secondary level.


    Most parents of online high school students gradually find their involvement is typically limited to the evenings and weekends. Between grades 9 and 12, students begin to tackle more complex subject matter, which means they may spend between five to six hours per day working and studying independently. Secondly, as high school progresses, students traditionally are required to participate in a greater number of synchronous (real-time) class sessions and discussions—creating a much more consistent daily schedule.


    The first and most basic point of support is reporting daily attendance to the online school. Beyond that, parents are also responsible for ensuring their student’s assignments, lessons, and tests are completed. For students of prospective online high school students, there are numerous other ways to be a supportive (but not dominating) parent. Three ways to show support include the following: