Q&A: What is the most common reason students might struggle with online schooling?

Answer: A student's ability to thrive in an online school setting may depend on multiple factors, such as the child's age, maturity and temperament, the ability to stick to a schedule, and the offline support and guidance provided by a parent or tutor.

One of the most common reasons a student might struggle with online schooling is that it can be hard to stay motivated to complete assignments in a timely manner. Because online students typically work on their assignments in the comfort of their own home, they can become easily distracted. Frequent study breaks can also be disruptive and may interfere with the completion of schoolwork. It is extremely important for online students to create good study habits, to set goals for completing specific assignments, and to adhere to a schedule.

Another reason some students might be less successful with online schooling may be the lack of collaborative work time with peers. Some virtual schools include discussion forums or online collaborative assignments, but not all online schools include these components in their program. Many students have the need to work with others -- and can benefit from that peer interaction -- but it can be difficult to create the type of atmosphere available in brick-and-mortar classrooms. Online learning that doesn't include the option of working on group projects with others can become repetitive and boring for some students -- factors that might lead many to transfer back to a more traditional classroom setting.

Students who appreciate the flexibility of working at their own pace and in the comfort of their own homes can be successful with online schooling, but it does require dedication and motivation. It can be helpful for online students to have a learning coach at home with them either full time or at least part of the time to offer necessary support. Learning coaches can be a parent, grandparent, a tutor, or another reliable person.

Christi WilsonChristi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.