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This post was inspired by an email I received recently. This concerned mama wanted my advice on how to be the best teacher she could for her son with dyslexia. She had done much to prepare herself for the task of home educating her son, yet she desired to do even more. The heart of this reader is one that I see in many of you and is why I love being in community with you all. I was a little bit surprised by my response to this dear reader, and I wanted to share these thoughts with you today.
Parents who want to teach their kids with dyslexia – or ADHD or ADD or dysgraphia or dyscalculia – sincerely desire to provide their kids with the best education and the best environment for living and learning that they can.
Preparing to Homeschool Kids With Dyslexia
Most of the parents I talk to have already read many of the books every parent of a dyslexic child should read. They have even taken my parent dyslexia classes which are a great way to get up to speed on what dyslexia is and how kids with dyslexia learn, as well as understanding how the many facets of dyslexia affect learning.
I’ve even spoken to parents who have gone through dyslexia tutoring training, whether it is with the Dyslexia Training Institute like I did in San Diego (their online program is awesome) or maybe they are a Barton tutor or they have gone through some other agency to become a certified dyslexia tutor.
Even after doing all of these things to prepare themselves to teach their kids with dyslexia, these parents will still email me and say to me, “You know, I have done all of these things. I pulled my kids out of school because they are being traumatized there. I have gotten certified, read all these books, taken your classes and so now, we are starting to teach, what do I do? What advice do you have for me?”
And this is the advice that I have for that parent who has done everything that they can to prepare themselves to teach their children that learned differently. They have educated themselves. They have researched curriculum using the guides on our site.
The One Thing
My advice for a parent who is in this situation is that the only thing this type of parent is lacking, and all of those things are excellent by the way, is experience.
What I mean by that is that you can study the research on dyslexia and you can understand how dyslexia affects your child, how it affects reading and spelling and handwriting and math and organization and motivation and all these things. You can know all that, but nothing is going to prepare you like experience is and the only way to get experience is to actually pull out the books, sit down at the table or the couch or the floor, the bed or wherever you are going to your school, and get started.
You are going to have good days where you see your children’s love of learning blooming. You are going to see those ‘aha’ moments where they are truely learning something hard. Because of your prepartation, you will see fewer meltdowns and tears, but then there are still going be days where you have been teaching them the same sight word for a month and they cannot remember it. Not even for a day.
I know that all of you know of what I speak, right? About this time you are thinking, what am I going to do? Or maybe your child has mastered learning all of their sounds, and yet when it comes to blending a three-letter word together, it’s just not happening.
This is what I am talking about with experience.
My first reaction to these sorts of situations was to panic. My first reaction was to be discouraged and to be frustrated and to not know what to do, but I am telling you, that if you have done all of this research and gone through all of this training and preparing yourself, you will find the answer for each unique problem that your child encounters.
I bring up these examples of the problems that you may face because they happen to be ones that I faced myself. Here I am, you know, I have created these courses, I have been homeschooling for 20 years, I am a certified dyslexia tutor, and yet my 5-year-old learned all of his sounds and could not blend a single word together no matter what I tried.
And so you know what I did? I went on Google and I looked and I looked and I looked.
Because of all of my training and education, I knew the things that were not going to help, right? I knew that filling out worksheets was not going to help. However, I knew that driving a Matchbox car over the letters might work. I knew that hopping on paper letters on the floor, saying each sound until hopping on the next one might help, because I know my kid, I know what kinds of things work with kids with dyslexia, and so sure enough, I was able to figure that out with him.
He needed that extra multi-sensory input and perhaps a little more time as he was little young for his age. Now that he is 6, he is much better able to blend words together and it is not an issue, but it was an issue that really threw me for a loop when I first encountered it.
So, if you are a parent who has done the training, who has read the books, taken the classes, purchased the right curriculum and you are wondering what else you can do, it is pretty simple; though not necessarily easy.
I will never say teaching kids with dyslexia is easy.
You simply need to get started. You need pull out the books, sit down at the table and start, and when you come to those bumps on the road, you know that you have the ability to figure it out.
No one knows your child like you do. No one cares for your chld like you do. You both may cry from time to time, but what does not kill you makes you stronger.