Enthusiastic Progress in Neurodivergent Virtual Learning
As a special educator in the United States, public school systems, a big challenge I faced was students who were burnt out with long school days filled with a standard-based curriculum that was unengaging and unsuited to students’ development levels. With a large caseload, I was often unable to curate resources and plan extensively for each individual child. It was a pressure-filled environment that left me feeling stretched thin and frustrated with the lack of authentic joyous learning that was taking place.
My transition to supporting homeschooling families through virtual 1-1 tutoring has rejuvenated my passion and creative spark in educating neurodivergent children.
The biggest change I see is in the students. They are doing structured learning for far fewer hours per day than children enrolled in a typical school day and as a result, come to our sessions refreshed and ready to put energy into their learning. I meet with students in 20-minute to 1-hour sessions depending on their age, stamina, and ability to focus on virtual learning. Students are offered multiple short activities within the session to keep them engaged and support their learning goals. Parents report that their children are excited to come to class and share their learning with their home community. Because they are given choice and their material preferences are honored, children generally enjoy engaging in the academic materials at times even asking for extra classes.
The seemingly limitless supply of virtual learning materials from reading materials to multi-media learning tools supports my ability to plan for each child. I show up to class enthusiastically because I am utilizing fun effective material.
1-1 instruction at short intervals several times a week has been extremely effective in supporting children to make academic gains in areas such as phonics, comprehension skills, and writing. Interest-based materials utilized over longer periods of time have supported students in learning deep information about topics meaningful to them.
As much as I intend to continue working 1-1 with homeschoolers, I realize it is not accessible to all families. In an effort to support more homeschoolers, I am offering group classes in 2023. These learning groups will be 2-3 students per group, keeping the class intentionally small to accommodate diverse learning needs and ensure each child receives individualized support. They will also allow for a collaborative social learning environment and an opportunity to connect with homeschooling peers.
I’m currently looking to pair current students in grades Pre-K-4 for group sessions in novel studies, science comprehension, writing, poetry, and more. For more information reach out to Kaitlin at EmergentExpressions@gmail.com or visit EmergentExpressions.com