Online high school students have the chance to learn a lot about independence, and that means they have the chance to experience life much more fully than their peers who spend seven hours a day in a traditional school setting. You can work a part-time job, hone your personal interests and hobbies, explore job shadowing, and develop important life skills.
However, this freedom can also lead to the temptation to slack off a little bit at a time, and that temptation can start to sneak in a bit more heavily partway through the school year. It’s so easy to take just a little break that ads up to several days that then compounds into weeks. Pretty soon, you’re stuck under the heavy burden of procrastination and disorganization and you don’t know how to get out!
If you know this could be you, or you’ve experienced this in the past, then you also know that there are solutions to this problem. Here are Excel High School’s tips to successfully managing your online classes.
Claim A Workspace
As comfortable as school is stretched out on your bed, to become or to stay focused, you will want to claim a workspace that is better suited for focus and productivity. If you need to move around a lot, then claim a couple of good places for work. Some students aren’t easily distracted, and to them, we say Good For You! You can probably work just about anywhere!
But to those students who need a little help staying focused, it’s going to take some experimentation to find the spot that’s just right for you to grab hold of your work flow and keep it going. Avoid a location where you spend a lot of time outside of your school day. That means your bed is probably off limits, and most likely, the couch or chair near your game console is not going to be a good choice either. You might even need to set aside your phone for chunks of time and then only check it on breaks.
Along with finding a distraction-free environment, you will also benefit from cleaning your workspace at the end of most class days. When your workspace is organized, you’re doing yourself a favor by avoiding unnecessary frustration that gives you a handy excuse to quit before you even start. Be kind to future you and make some organized piles at the end of your work time.
Set Your Standards
You know who you are and you know your abilities, and they’re probably better than your brain tries to trick you into believing. That means that only you can set the standards that you’ll live by when it comes to your academics. Sure, your parents will give you guidance, and that’s a great way for them to support you; however, you have to be the one to set the standards for your performance in order for those standards to be meaningful to you.
That means you need to set some healthy and realistic goals for yourself. Whether those goals are to prevent getting in a rut or to dig your way out of one, you are going to want to sit down and figure out what your priorities are and create a schedule for completing your courses. What date do you want to be done by? How many lessons do you have? Once you know that information, you can easily figure out how many days you have to get caught up or finish, and then assess how many lessons you need to do each day in order to meet your goal.
Know The Technology
Get familiar with all the technology that you need to use to be successful in your online classes. How long can your laptop or tablet stay charged before it needs to be plugged in? In that case, where is your charger? Do you understand how to submit your assignments, work with the word processing and presentation tools you use for essays and other projects? How do you see your grades? Where do you go if you need to ask questions?
If you don’t know these things, then each and every one of them has the potential of being a frustrating obstacle that could lead to anxiety. You definitely don’t want to create barriers to your own success! In other words, you will want to make sure you’re prepared to work with your technology every day. If there’s something you don’t know how to do with your technology, then get online and do a little research. You can find step-by-step instructions or videos to help you understand how to do everything from typing a word document to editing videos, so there’s no way to say, “I can’t.” Instead, it’s time to reframe what you don’t know as “I can’t YET.” And if you don’t know how to interact with the learning management system your classes are presented on, then it’s time to reach out to your school’s support staff. For more information, check out our blog post, “How Does Excel High School Work?”.
Connect With Support Staff
Students who don’t reach out for help when they need it often end up falling behind because their motivation takes a dive! Don’t let that happen to you. Stay on top of your classes by reaching out for help when you need it. Reach out to your instructors, your academic success coach, or sign up for tutoring. It’s okay not to know everything; it’s not okay to avoid getting help when you’ve got a variety of support staff who want to help you succeed.
Own Your Work
That last bit of advice we can give you to help you successfully manage your online courses is to own your work. When you see your academic life as REAL life, then you start to understand that your academics are a product of you. The work you produce is helping to shape the person you’re choosing to become. In the end, when you own your work as a part of you, then you can start to take pride in it, too. Motivation then starts coming from inside of you instead of from the threat of bad things happening.
That understanding is one of the biggest leaps toward being an independent human being capable of making good decision and taking charge of your own future. Online students have the unique experience of being able to learn how to be independent and the positive feelings that independence gives you. Take advantage of this by following the steps to successfully managing your online classes.
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Excel High School is an accredited online school that offers many different academic program options for students grade 6 through graduation. Our fully online, self-paced programs fit around your family’s schedule, and our support team is here to help you along the way. If you’re not already a student with Excel High School but would like to learn more, feel free to check out our programs on our website. Still got questions? Feel free to reach out to us by text at 952-465-3700 or call us at 800-620-3844. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have and guide you to the best program for your individual needs.