When it comes to the first day of school, every TV commercial, Sunday newspaper ad and teen movie pictures it the same way – a student jumps off the bus, gossips with friends at their locker (while dodging some random skateboarder zooming through the hallway), and flashes their brand-new backpack and sneakers. What they don’t show is the child firing up their computer and jumping online, ready to kick off the new school year with all the same excitement and anticipation for the year ahead. This year, 5 million students will be learning remotely – double the number in 2019 – and their back-to-school experience should come with all the fanfare their in-person peers experience. So whether your child has attended a virtual school for years or is new to the virtual classroom, here are some ways to ring in the new school year. Create the ideal learning space. Ok, let’s be honest. The best part of heading back to school is stocking up on supplies. Remote learners get the added benefit of designing their at-home classroom. Help your student create a learning environment that is organized, comfortable and stocked with the tools they need. Most important, be sure they have the basic technology required to effectively learn online and communicate seamlessly with their teachers. Get social. The opening scene from the pop classic “Grease 2” features hundreds of teens singing about the pain of going “Back to School Again.” For a child who learns remotely, they may be performing solo. Be sure to celebrate the occasion by planning a gathering or activity with your child’s friends, whether it’s an art class, a day at the ballpark or an afternoon picnic. By scheduling activities outside of school and helping your child maintain friendships, you can ensure they stay socially engaged. Embrace the freedom. Whether a student learns in-person or online, there are core classes everyone needs to prep for college. Apex Learning Virtual School offers a variety of enriching, interdisciplinary AP courses and flexible scheduling that enables students to explore different fields and focus on their passion. For instance, if your child is an American history buff, discuss how they can spend their mornings learning about the subject online and their afternoons visiting historical landmarks around your hometown. And because remote learning can be done anywhere, you can even plan a weeklong field trip to a city like Washington D.C. where they can be fully immersed in the subject. Work on goals for the year ahead. Talk to your child about what you both expect this school year, not just from an academic standpoint, but an extracurricular one as well. Because your child isn’t confined to the traditional 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule, they can flex their classes around athletic or audition schedules, volunteering, traveling, or other interests. While their peers spend up to 12 hours a day on classes, homework and afterschool activities, your child can work at their own pace and erase the stress of a traditional school day while meeting their educational and personal goals. Team up with your child’s teaching squad. Almost every bricks-and-mortar school has a “Meet the Teacher” night when the parents, student and teacher can connect face-to-face. While online academies like Apex Learning Virtual School provide students the ability to work independently, your child has a team of teachers, counselors and tutors dedicated to their success. You and your child are encouraged to reach out anytime so that we can help you plan course loads, address learning challenges, and answer any questions you have throughout the year. After experiencing the benefits of online learning during the pandemic, students who thrive in an independent environment will continue to gravitate toward accredited online virtual schools such as ALVS. Even if their classroom no longer has walls, online students can still experience those important educational milestones like back-to-school celebrations with the support of their parents and caregivers. To learn more about how ALVS can support your student as they start a new school year, contact our academic advisors today.