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How to be a successful UCT Online High School parent

Nothing is as daunting as change. By the time you’re the guardian of a high school learner, you’re usually pretty set in your ways. But you clearly know how to move with the times because your child is either learning online or you're thinking about it. Lets dive into how to be a successful online school parent
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Nothing is as daunting as change. And the older you are, the harder it is. By the time you’re the guardian of a high school learner, you’re usually pretty set in your ways. But you clearly know how to move with the times because your child is either learning online or you're thinking about it. 

The benefits of online school for parents and children

There are so many benefits to having your child learn with UCT Online High School. But we won't tell you all about, instead we will let our parents speak for themselves.

"How online school has improved my own life and my childs"

One of our guardians, Shantelle Engelbrecht, says: “

As a single working mom, my day is pretty crazy. Besides the normal stress of work, I also travel a lot. So before joining UCT Online High School, I would be getting up an hour earlier, shouting at kids to wake up and get done, making sure lunches are ready, and then, I'd still find a kid putting on one sock at a time at a snail’s pace. We were always late and eventually, I even started using an e-hailing service to get them to school because I couldn't wait. Now our routine is so much simpler. I don't have to wake up earlier because Tyler wakes up at 7 am, makes his own breakfast and is ready and willing at 8 am for his live sessions. It has cut out getting dressed — because let's be honest, he is very much starting his morning in his PJs — he has had an extra hour of sleep and is, therefore, more open to learning. I have saved petrol and cab money because he hasn't left home, and most importantly, I know where he is and that he is safe.”

You can read more of Shantelle's journey with online school here.

Are there any down sides of online school?

Getting to spend more time with your children, having less chaotic mornings, knowing that your child is safe at home and on top of that receiving a world-class education may sound too good to be true, so here’s the catch: it’s only possible with quite a lot of self-discipline.

Since most teenagers are still building this, we ask our guardians to play an active role in their child’s educational journey.

We have also put together is helpful article to help you figure out if your child will thrive in an online school environment.

What is UCT Online High School doing differently?

UCT Online High School is not a traditional school delivered online, we are re-imagining secondary education with the aim of changing the learning landscape at scale.

We have Learning Compass sessions that learners attend with their Support Coach, as well as Ask Me Anything sessions for each subject during which Teachers cover important topics pertaining to the module for that week and create a space for learners to ask questions.

What is the role of a guardian for children doing online school?

Children differ and making the switch to online learning will look different in each home. Shantelle found that her child struggled to find his rhythm in the beginning, but was amazed by the amount of responsibility he quickly learnt.

1. Stay committed to the transition to online school

The transition to online school goes beyond the learner. The whole household might need to make adjustments to this new system. For instance, if your child uses the dining or living room as their workspace, you might need to watch the TV at different times to allow for more studying to take place. 

- As a guardian, you’ll need to help your child set, and stick to, a schedule.

- Ask them if their work is complete. Take an active role in knowing where they are at with their workload, if they are managing their task loads.

- Be aware of deadlines, Cycle Tests, and their personal progress.

If your child is doing all of their work and putting in the time to master their subjects, it’s unlikely that they will have more free time than at a traditional school so do not expect this to be the case.

2. Encourage your child to engage

Please encourage your child to ask questions, while raising your hand may feel daunting, online learning requires active engagement from our learners. We constantly strive to encourage our learners to engage in and practise transferable life skills.

The opportunities for and spaces to cultivate innovation, connection, independent thinking and doing, becoming acutely aware of how we engage with others (as everything is recorded or documented in the online world), taking initiative, organisational skills, commitment, forward planning and time management are but a few of the benefits that the online space provides.

As an online school that prides itself on accessibility and inclusion, we have a student well-being team to support learners with barriers to learning. Should your child have an identified barrier to learning or require an accommodation or concession, please advise your child's support coach, who will then process the necessary documentation. Accommodations that require external service providers and technology etc, will be for the account of the guardian.

3. Stay on top of communication

Being online means that we are accountable to being intentional about the connections we make, we are aware that it does indeed take a village to raise a child and that collaboration is key in offering support that is effective, sustainable and relevant to the varying and diverse needs of our school community.

It’s therefore essential for guardians to stay on top of all communication by reading their emails. We understand that you probably receive more emails than you’d like, but emails from UCT Online High School contain important information that will help you help your child succeed. These emails will help clear up a lot of confusion and create a better understanding of our system.

Also, visiting our guardian portal regularly will let you see your child’s progress and connecting with the online guardian community will help you create a support system and more shared information.

If you’ve read the emails and still need help, please book a call with our friendly Admissions Team here.

We know this is no small task, but nothing great ever is! We are committed to working with you as you have committed to a high-quality education by sending your child to learn and own their future with us.

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