Advice Column, Education, Koa Academy, Online Education, Recently


  • Koa Academy
  • Category Advice Column, Education, Koa Academy, Online Education, Recently

Every year, more and more South African children are enrolled in an online school, bringing changes to their family’s rhythms and routines.  It’s important for parents to set their child up for success, and here are 7 top tips from Koa Academy’s Principal and Co-founder, Mark Anderson:

  1. Quality tech – “It’s important to equip your child with the best tools possible.  While it might be tempting to opt for the entry-level laptops marketed for students, the reality is that your child needs a reliable workhorse when it comes to their computer.  Koa’s students learn across multiple best-in-class educational platforms, and they need to navigate seamlessly and speedily so that teaching and learning flows.  Good quality audio and camera are essential so that they can engage fully with their Pod teacher and peers.  Given that load-shedding is here to stay for the foreseeable future, parents should also invest in at least a basic backup power option that keeps them online during the most critical school hours.”
  2. Conducive learning environment – “Children need a quiet, designated space in the house where they can comfortably spend their school day, free from distractions.  Optimally, they should have their own desk and chair workstation, as well as tidy, storage space for their schoolbooks and materials. As far as possible, avoid using their bedroom with a closed door, or the dining room table.”
  3. Think critically about screentime – “Not all screentime is created equally. A well designed online educational programme which is age appropriate will be engaging and constructive for your child. But they still need healthy boundaries when it comes to other forms of screentime, such as social media and gaming. Parents should investigate ways of keeping healthy boundaries in place to manage screentime outside of their child’s online schooling.”  
  4. Keep track of your child’s progress – “Parents play a role in ensuring accountability when it comes to online schooling, just as they do in physical schooling. Koa’s Pod teachers keep daily track of your child’s targets and progress on a live Dashboard because it’s important for parents to also know what their child is busy with, what their priorities are and how they are advancing with the curriculum.  A good online school makes sure that this information is always available to you so that you can support their ongoing development. Make use of the increased access to this sort of information!”
  5. Connect with your child’s teachers and school leaders – “Just as you would get to know your child’s teachers in a traditional school, be open to forging constructive relationships with your child’s online teachers.  The lines of communication between parents and teachers should always be clear and open.”
  6. Integrate your school and family year planners – “Online schooling should offer families far more flexibility when it comes to determining school hours and days.  That said, there will still be important schoolwork deadlines and Koa has special dates for key assessments, parent-teacher meetings, as well as educational outings and socials that you won’t want your child to miss.”
  7. Organising your child’s participation in sports and culture – “Even if your child is attending a high-engagement online school such as Koa where they have daily interaction in their small pods, it’s important to involve your child in other activities that give them the opportunity to socialise and engage in person.  This gives you the opportunity to maximise the extra time and resources you get by attending an online school and meet other families with children who have similar interests while they broaden their horizons through sports and cultural experiences.”

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