Parent’s Guide: Preparing your child for online school

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Navigating the world of online education can be both exciting and daunting for parents/guardians and students alike. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to prepare your student for success in online school. From understanding how an online program works to creating the perfect learning environment at home, we’ve got you covered.


The popularity of online schooling is growing and not slowing down anytime soon. Why? Because it’s flexible, easy to access, and ideal for catering to diverse learning needs of students everywhere.

When it comes to succeeding in online courses, having parent/guardian involvement is essential. That’s where you come in. From selecting the right program to actively participating in your child’s education, you provide a comprehensive support system that fosters academic success and personal growth for your student.

Parents/guardians can support their students by establishing structured routines, encouraging them to use interactive learning tools, fostering social interactions (on and offline), and familiarizing themselves with technology. These practical strategies really make a difference in making learning successful and fun!

Student learning at home

Understanding the basics of online school

Online classes typically involve a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning. Asynchronous learning allows students to access course materials and complete assignments at their own pace within a set timeframe. In contrast, synchronous learning involves live, interactive sessions where students can engage with teachers and peers in real-time, fostering a more interactive and collaborative learning environment. Some schools offer a hybrid or microschool program, which offers in-person sessions in addition to online learning.

A typical week in an online school setting, such as ASU Prep Digital might include a mix of interactive course lessons that students work through independently and self-paced, coupled with scheduled live lessons. During these live sessions, teachers can deliver lectures, answer questions, and facilitate discussions, much like in a traditional classroom. This blend of learning methods aims to provide a holistic education that balances flexibility with the benefits of direct teacher-student interaction.

The flexibility and accessibility of online schooling make it an attractive option for many, including students who require a more adaptable learning schedule, those living in remote areas, and learners seeking courses not available at local institutions.

Student learning online

Benefits of online education for students

Online education offers a multitude of benefits that cater to the evolving needs of students in the digital age.


One of the most significant benefits of online education is its flexibility, allowing students to engage with their coursework from anywhere, at any time, as long as they have internet access. This flexibility is beneficial for students with other commitments, such as extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, or part-time jobs, enabling them to balance their education with other aspects of their lives.

Personalized Learning

Additionally, high-quality online education can be tailored to a child’s individual needs, allowing for a personalized approach that accommodates different learning styles and paces. Online students work at their own pace, a feature that traditional classroom settings may not always accommodate. This means that students who grasp concepts quickly can accelerate their learning, moving on to more challenging material without waiting for their peers to catch up. On the other hand, those who need more time to understand certain topics can take the time they need without feeling rushed or pressured.

Learning Resources

The digital nature of online education provides access to resources and tools that support diverse learning styles. From interactive simulations and educational games to video lectures and digital textbooks, online learners can take advantage of various formats to enhance their understanding of subjects. These resources often include adaptive learning technologies that adjust to a student’s performance, offering personalized pathways through the curriculum. In addition, forums, chat rooms, and collaborative projects encourage peer interaction, mimicking the social aspects of a traditional classroom and supporting a holistic learning experience.

Life Skills

Engaging in online education requires a degree of self-motivation and organization that can foster essential life skills, including self-discipline and time management. Without the physical presence of teachers and classmates, online students must take the initiative to keep up with their studies, manage their time effectively, and meet deadlines. These skills are invaluable, not only in academic contexts but also in personal and professional life, preparing students for success beyond their education.

Student learning virtually

5 tips for preparing your student for online learning

1. Set up a productive learning space

Create a dedicated and distraction-free study area that is comfortable and well-lit. Consistency in location can help signal the brain that it’s time to focus. Learners can minimize potential distractions by turning off non-essential phone and computer notifications, and by using noise-canceling headphones.

A stable and fast internet connection is crucial for accessing course materials, submitting assignments, and participating in live sessions without interruptions. While tablets or smartphones may be suitable for certain tasks, consider a laptop or desktop computer for assignments that require extensive typing or software use.

Be prepared with backup solutions, just in case of technical difficulties. This could include having access to a secondary device, keeping chargers handy, and regularly backing up your work to cloud storage or an external hard drive.

2. Get familiar with online platforms and resources

It is essential for parents/guardians to have a basic understanding of how online learning platforms work and what resources are available to their child. This allows parents/guardians to help support their students as they navigate through different online platforms and tools. This includes knowing how to log in, access course materials, submit assignments, participate in discussions, and communicate with teachers.

In addition, being familiar with online platforms can also help parents monitor their student’s progress. These platforms typically have features that allow parents to track their child’s attendance, grades, and overall performance. By regularly checking these updates, parents can identify any areas where their child may need additional support or intervention.

Overall, having a good understanding of online platforms and resources will enable parents to actively engage in their child’s education and provide valuable support throughout the learning process.

A fundamental component of many online learning environments is the Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS is a software application or web-based technology used as the central hub for all course-related activities, allowing educators to manage course content, deliver material to students, facilitate communication and collaboration, and track student progress and performance. Examples of popular LMS platforms include Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, and Google Classroom.

Becoming more proficient with online platforms and software takes time and practice. Dedicate time to navigate and explore the LMS and other educational tools. Familiarize yourself with the layout, features, and settings. Don’t hesitate to click around; exploring is a part of the learning process. Utilize any available tutorials and guides along the way. Also, take advantage of the organizational tools provided by the LMS, such as calendars, task lists, and notification settings, to keep track of assignments, deadlines, and communications.

3. Stay organized and motivated

Helping students develop a routine and stay organized is crucial for their growth and learning. Similarly, maintaining motivation and interest in online learning requires strategic approaches to goal setting and rewards. Here are some helpful tips.

Strategies for helping your student develop a routine and stay organized:

  • Break tasks into manageable chunks
  • Introduce checklists and to-do lists
  • Teach calendar and time management skills
  • Establish daily routines
  • Encourage tidying up

Ideas for maintaining motivation and interest in online learning:

  • Set clear goals
  • Introduce rewards
  • Create a visual progress chart
  • Incorporate fun activities
  • Foster a growth mindset

4. Build an online learning routine

To optimize the online learning experience, start by setting a specific time and place for learning sessions. This will help in creating a structured environment conducive to learning. Next, help your student plan out the topics or assignments to focus on during each session to ensure a targeted approach. It’s also important that your student takes regular breaks to prevent burnout and maintain concentration over longer periods. Leveraging online tools such as calendars, to-do lists, and reminders will significantly aid in keeping track of assignments and deadlines, ensuring your student is organized and on top of their workload. While consistency in the routine is key, remaining flexible to make necessary adjustments is equally important to accommodate any unforeseen changes or challenges.

5. Get involved in socialization and extracurricular activities

Engaging with peers fosters a sense of community and is crucial for cognitive development, critical thinking, and enhancing learning experiences.

To help foster this socialization, parents/guardians can look into different online clubs, organizations, or events that align with their student’s interests and encourage them to join. Teachers and counselors are often aware of extracurricular opportunities for students. Parents/guardians can reach out to them and ask for recommendations or information on how their child can get involved in virtual socialization and extracurricular activities.

In addition, there are many social media groups specifically created for students enrolled in online learning programs. These groups provide a platform for students to connect, share experiences, and participate in virtual activities together.

Finally, incorporating socialization into your student’s daily routine of online learning can help break up the day and encourage students to collaborate. Parents can schedule time for their child to talk to friends over video chat or participate in group activities virtually.

Through structured group discussions, students are able to exchange ideas, challenge each other’s thinking, and collaborate on solutions to problems. Other community-building opportunities include peer review assignments, virtual study groups, interactive learning activities, and breakout sessions based on shared interests.

Many online schools are recognizing the importance of extracurricular and social opportunities in providing a well-rounded education. For example, ASU Prep Digital believes “socializing is learning” and offers various extracurricular activities and clubs that students of all ages can enjoy. These social activities include special interest clubs, student government, virtual field trips, student-run virtual talent shows and art exhibits, online events, and local in-person meetups for the whole family, as well as sports and fitness challenges.

Student working virtually

What to assess when choosing an online school

Choosing the right high-quality online school for your student involves careful consideration of various factors that can impact their learning experience and overall development. Beyond the basic curriculum, aspects such as enrollment tuition and other fees, the level of parent/guardian involvement required, and the availability of student support services play crucial roles in ensuring a successful educational journey. The following information will help you make an informed decision when selecting an online school that best fits your student’s needs and your family’s circumstances.

Enrollment process

Becoming an online student involves a series of steps that may vary slightly from one institution to another but generally follow a similar path. Let’s break down the enrollment process using ASU Prep Digital as an example.

Step 1: Research and choose the right school

The first step is to thoroughly research potential schools to find one that aligns with your educational goals, interests, and needs. This involves considering factors such as accreditation, curriculum, extracurricular opportunities, and tuition costs. ASU Prep Digital, for instance, offers a comprehensive K–12 curriculum that caters to a wide range of interests and academic goals. Accessing a school’s FAQ page will provide much of the information you’re looking for.

Step 2: Understand the enrollment requirements

Before applying, it’s important to understand the specific enrollment requirements of the school. This may include age restrictions, residency requirements, and previous academic records.

Step 3: Attend an information session

Many online schools offer information sessions for new students. These sessions provide valuable information about navigating the online learning environment, understanding academic policies, and accessing student support services.

Step 4: Complete the application process

The next step is to complete the application process, which typically involves filling out an online application form and following the instructions for submitting necessary documents.

Tuition and fees

The landscape of online education offers a diverse range of cost structures across different types of schools and platforms, including private and public school options. In school districts across many states, prospective students have the benefit of attending an online public school, tuition-free.

ASU Prep Digital, for example, is tuition-free for full-time students residing in Arizona. This opens doors for many students to access quality education without the burden of tuition fees. Furthermore, ASU Prep Digital offers high school students the unique opportunity to earn college credit from Arizona State University at no additional cost, saving them time and money toward their future degree. For out-of-state or international students, and those interested in individual courses rather than full-time enrollment, ASU Prep’s Global Academy offers competitive tuition rates.

Parent/guardian involvement

Parents/guardians play a crucial role in the success of online schooling, acting as motivators, coaches, and partners in their child’s education. Their involvement ranges from providing emotional support and encouraging successful habits for students to actively participating in learning activities.

One of the ways parents/guardians are involved in online schooling is through the use of Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs). ILPs are customized educational roadmaps designed to cater to each student’s unique learning needs, strengths, and interests. These plans are developed collaboratively between students, guardians, and educators, ensuring that learning objectives align with the student’s personal goals and capabilities. By being involved in the creation and monitoring of ILPs, parents can better understand their student’s learning journey and provide more targeted support at home.

Additionally, online schools often provide resources and support specifically for parents/guardians to help them fulfill their role effectively. For example, ASU Prep Digital offers a range of parent/guardian resources, including orientation sessions, workshops, and guides on navigating the online learning platform. These resources equip parents/guardians with the knowledge and tools they need to support their student’s education, from understanding the curriculum to managing time and staying organized.

Involvement also extends to communication with teachers and school staff. Many online schools facilitate regular updates and meetings between parents/guardians and educators, allowing them to stay informed about their student’s progress and address any challenges promptly. This ongoing communication fosters a collaborative environment where parents/guardians, students, and educators work together to ensure the student’s success.

Available student support

Think your student might benefit from extra support? Changes in your student’s behavior toward schoolwork, such as increased frustration, avoidance, or declining grades can be indicators they might need extra help. Consider seeking additional resources like tutoring, study groups, or educational apps tailored to address specific areas where they’re struggling. There are also parent/guardian support networks offering a platform for sharing experiences, resources, and advice among families navigating online learning. These networks can be found through social media groups, school community forums, or local education organizations.

Remember, proactive communication and collaboration with your child and their educators are essential in navigating online learning successfully. At ASU Prep Digital, each student is supported by a Learning Success Coach (LSC) who provides mentoring as well as assists with college and career goal setting. The LSC works closely with students to motivate, counsel, and advise them, ensuring they meet their educational objectives.

Student learning virtually


You’ve done the groundwork and are all set to enroll your student in online learning—what an exciting step forward! You’re about to unlock a world filled with the incredible benefits of online learning, including unmatched flexibility and personalized education tailored just for your student, the ability to adapt learning schedules to fit your family’s lifestyle, and the opportunity for your student to learn at their own pace. You’ve got this—embrace the rewarding experience that online learning offers with confidence!

Considering online school for your student?

Preparing for online school is easier than many parents think, whether it’s at the beginning or in the middle of the school year. ASU Prep Digital is a great option to consider if you want to explore the flexibility and personalization of an online school program.

At ASU Prep Digital we have a team dedicated to helping you navigate the enrollment process. We believe that every child and their family should be able to have an education that is unique and easily accessible.

ASU Prep Digital is an accredited online school program serving students in grades K–12, recognized as Arizona’s #1 Online School by Our unique teaching model supports students from the safety of their homes with the latest learning technologies and several layers of personalized instruction and coaching. In addition, our program is a college prep option where online high school and university courses converge, preparing students for college acceptance and encouraging them to start earning credit toward college majors and careers.

We support districts in Arizona, while serving students and schools around the world. To learn more about ASU Prep Digital, please visit our website.

Parent’s Guide: Preparing your child for online school FAQs

How do I choose the right online school for my child?

Choosing the right online school for your child is an important decision that requires careful consideration. Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  1. Accreditation: Make sure the online school is accredited by a reputable organization. This ensures that the curriculum and teaching methods meet high standards and will be recognized by colleges and universities.
  2. Technology: Check what technology and learning platforms the online school uses, as well as how they support student interaction and engagement. Look for schools with user-friendly platforms, strong technical support, and interactive features such as live video classes or virtual field trips.
  3. Flexibility: Online schools offer flexible schedules, but some may have more rigid structures than others. Consider your child’s learning style and preferences when choosing.

What kind of technology does my student need for online school?

Your student will need a reliable internet connection and a device such as a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer to access their online classes and materials. Some schools may have specific technology requirements, so it’s important to check with the school beforehand. Additionally, your student may need software programs or applications for certain courses, so make sure they have access to those as well. It’s also helpful to have headphones or earbuds for virtual classes or discussions.

How will my student stay motivated while learning online?

Learning online can be a big adjustment for students, and it’s important to find ways to keep them motivated. One strategy is to set clear goals and expectations for your student, such as completing assignments by certain deadlines or participating in virtual class discussions. It can also be helpful to have regular check-ins with your student and provide positive reinforcement for their progress. Additionally, you can encourage your student to take breaks and engage in physical activity or other hobbies during the school day.

Will there be opportunities for social interaction and connection with other students?

Yes, many online learning platforms offer opportunities for students to connect and interact with each other. This can include virtual group projects, discussion forums, and even live video chat sessions. Encouraging your student to participate in these activities can help them feel connected and engaged in their learning experience. You can also reach out to other parents or guardians of students in the class to arrange virtual study groups or meetups to promote social interaction outside of school work.