7 Benefits of Online Classes for Special Needs Homeschoolers

If you're struggling to find a curriculum fit or a co-op that works, it's time to consider online classes for special needs homeschoolers!

I’ve seen so many benefits of online classes for special needs homeschoolers

Although I do not have any special needs children of my own, while teaching at our local co-op for about 10 years and online for the past 5 years, I have noticed that special needs students often cope very well in an online environment and there seems to be a very real benefit of online classes for special needs homeschoolers.

I realize that, just like other children, special needs students don’t want to be taught by mom all the time, and they do like to interact with other children – but co-ops and live classes can be challenging!

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7 reasons why online classes for special needs homeschoolers are a great fit:

1. Distractions are minimized

In an online classroom, students aren’t distracted by the sensory stimuli around them. Nither are fellow classmates distractions. This means they can more easily focus on the subject matter at hand.

2. Videos can be rewatched

A large part of most online classes is video media. Even if the class is live, there is usually a recording of the live session. This means students can stop, rewind, and rewatch as many times as they need to.

If you're struggling to find a curriculum fit or a co-op that works, it's time to consider online classes for special needs homeschoolers!

3. Students can work at their own pace

This follows on from point 2. Students dare not left behind because they can’t keep up with the speed the teacher moves through the material. This is particularly true of asynchronous online classes (ie there is no live component). Students do not need to finish an assignment in a specific amount of time. No one is waiting for them to finish so the class can move on. They can take all the time they need to process the material and complete assignments. FundaFunda’s for-credit classes for high schoolers do have deadlines (because students need to be done by the end of the semester) but our web-based unit studies are completely self-paced.

4. Students can work at the time of day that is best for them

If students want to be in live classes, parents can select times they know will be good for their students. There are so many online classes available now, that this really is possible. And, once again, in an asynchronous class, students can do their studies whenever they want to. This way parents can make sure subjects that are more challenging can be completed at times when their focus is at its peak, and can schedule easier classes and electives when attention starts to wane.

If you're struggling to find a curriculum fit or a co-op that works, it's time to consider online classes for special needs homeschoolers!

5. Peers will assess them based on their abilities, not their “disabilities”

Online classes are great equalizers. Usually, most of the students do not know each other. There isn’t an “in” crowd. And students’ disabilities aren’t often obvious. In some classes, there may be no peer interaction at all. In others, there may be a live component, but students can often choose how much they want to interact. But asynchronous classes WITH some student interaction (this applies to most of the FundaFunda Academy classes), allow students to view and comment on each other’s work and even work virtually on group projects occasionally.

If you're struggling to find a curriculum fit or a co-op that works, it's time to consider online classes for special needs homeschoolers!

In many of my online classes at FundaFunda Academy, I get students to post their projects to Padlet (imagine a virtual classroom wall). Every student can see everyone else’s and I might ask them to “like” their 5 favorites. If a student with a learning challenge has produced a great piece of work, they will be one of those with the most votes. I have seen this happen regularly. And I have wondered if this would have been the case had it been a presentation in a live class and the students had to select their favorites. I suspect that, unfortunately, they might be overlooked.

6. Students don’t have to sit still

Unlike in a physical classroom, students online can move as much they need to, they can use sensory “fidgets” or eat without disturbing classmates. They can take breaks as needed and no one is aware of what others may label as disruptive behavior.

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7. Some students with learning difficulties excel with technology

While many aspects of learning may come hard to these students, technology is often their friend. Not only can word processors help them with their grammar and spelling, and text-to-speech programs help them read, but they are often good at creating graphics and videos with online tools. Most of FundaFunda‘s full semester classes and web-based unit studies incorporate a good dose of tech, for both learning the material and showing their mastery of it. This also helps hold the interest of students and makes the lessons more engaging.  Online classes for special needs homeschoolers are certainly something to consider if you haven’t yet.

If you're struggling to find a curriculum fit or a co-op that works, it's time to consider online classes for special needs homeschoolers!

In conclusion…

If you’re interested in registering for online classes for special needs homeschoolers, please let the teacher know if they will need any accommodations and make sure to do it right at the beginning of the year. Too often, parents only tell their online teacher a few months into the course when their child’s grades are suffering. Most online teachers will want your child to succeed as much as you do and will be happy to partner with you to make that happen!

More about Meryl

Meryl van der Merwe homeschooled her 4 children, and during that time started teaching at the local homeschool co-op. She still teaches there – as well as online at FundaFunda Academy. In addition, she coaches homeschool Science Olympiad and Quiz Bowl teams and an inner-city First Lego League team. In her spare time, she loves reading and traveling.  You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Author: Jill C

Jill is a Christian, homeschooler, "boy mom", and special needs parent. Jill has ADHD and has learned firsthand how adapting environments can be key to finding success! Her current mission is to empower parents whose desire is to homeschool their special needs children and helping them squash their self-doubt!

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