If you’ve landed here on the Choosing Curriculum post without first reading How Dyslexics Learn, take a few minutes to read this post and increase your understanding of the best methods for teaching dyslexic kids.

This is important because there will be a curriculum that appeals to you as the teacher and your learning style and one that will appeal to your student and their learning style.  Understanding learning styles and preferences will hep as you choose and implement homeschool curriculum for your child with dyslexia.

How to Choose the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Child With Dyslexia

Homeschool Methods

The teacher-to-student ratio in the public or private schoolroom makes the traditional text book, workbook, quiz and test format the best fit – mainly for organizational purposes. Everybody has the same assignments. Everyone is required to complete the same work. There is little room for individualized instruction, even if there was a desire to do so.

The beauty of homeschooling, and ironically one of the most difficult to embrace, is the inherent freedom to be found in the homeschool. We tend to go to what we are familiar with or what we experienced as children. There are many methods of homeschooling.  Many families choose to use one method for one subject and another method for another subject. The is referred to as an eclectic homeschool approach.

The following is a brief list of major teaching methods available for your homeschool:

I haven’t met many people who exclusively use one homeschool method.  Most of us mix and match to meet our needs.

Traditional – Closest to what you find in a traditional classroom. This approach may be good if you have recently brought your kids out of the public school system and they like this method. This method is heavily teacher driven and will require a lot of preparation time for the parent.

Unit Studies – Integrates all subjects into one theme. Good for combining subjects with multiple ages, is hands-on and activity based. Good for teaching multiple ages at once.

Charlotte Mason – A whole child approach that is based around reading ‘living books” but includes focus on short, intense class meetings, nature study, narration, copy work, and the study of fine arts. The goal of the Charlotte Mason method is to instill a love of learning and a curiosity about life in the student.

Classical – Based on the three stages of intellectual development (grammar, logic, rhetoric) and relies heavily on the Classics in literature for the base of study. The goal of the Classical Method is to create critical thinkers.

Eclectic – A mix of many methods – usually gained by experience of what works best in your home. Nice for accommodating multiple learning styles.

Unschooling – Child directed, no text books yet purposeful.

All of these methods can be altered to fit the needs of your student.

Finding Balance in the Homeschool

I am a classic left-brained, just-tell-me-how-many-pages-to-fill-in kind of girl. I like the order and clarity of workbooks. My kids, however, struggle with that type of learning. My right-brained, creative children would rather act out a scene from a certain period of history than write a paper on it. This is completely overwhelming to me. We have had to find compromise in our curriculum so that they are learning and I am not stressing out!

Considering the General Learning Preferences of Dyslexic Learners

Dyslexic kids do better with:

  • shorter {intense} teaching sessions
  • auditory learning {audio books, discussion, educational DVDs}
  • oral work or discussion of material

Dyslexic learners don’t do as well with:

  • lots of writing {look for narration exercises, arts-based assignments}
  • learning by reading {look for curriculums with video or audio lectures}
  • spelling lists
  • rote memorization

While all people (dyslexic or not) have certain ways that they learn best, using a multi-sensory approach (combining seeing, saying, listening and doing) will help your child learn faster and enhance his or her ability to retain new information. Also, making accommodations for learning styles should not exclude learning by other methods. If your child learns better through the auditory channel, great. Use auditory methods when you can but still be working on improving reading speed and comprehension on a daily basis.

Don’t be Afraid to Cut and Paste

Most homeschool curricula can be adapted to fit alternate learning styles.  As you begin teaching and come across some kind of issue with learning, look for ways to adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of your family.  For example, one year, I was teaching a rigorous Science curriculum to my high schoolers. I chose a curriculum that was taught on video that appealed to their auditory learning preference. However, their reading assignments were difficult and full of vocabulary that they had never heard before.

We began the year plugging their (online) reading assignments into a text-to-speech app on our iPad. This was helpful, because they could follow along as the iPad read their assignment. However, the content was still confusing to them so, rather than immediately list the curriculum on eBay (which I have done plenty of times!) I decided to sit one or two days per week and read the assignment with them.

We stopped whenever there was something we didn’t understand, looked up vocabulary words or better yet, watched a video or two online.  We also had a lot of discussions about what we were learning and finding connections to things that we already knew. By creatively working with our curriculum, we were able to make it work for us. Will I buy this curriculum for Science next year? Maybe not, but we are learning how to learn which is a large part of homeschooling, especially for the dyslexic.

See this post on ideas for modifying your curriculum.

How to Find the Best Homeschool Curriculum for Your Family

With so many excellent curriculums to choose from, how can you find the best materials for your family? Taking into account learning styles and homeschool methods that appeal to you and your students, you can begin to search for curriculums that are the best fit.

General Tips

  • Search online for curricula that fit your family’s learning styles
  • Read reviews
  • Talk to other homeschool moms of dyslexic kids

Further Tips for Dyslexia

  • Look for curricula with audio options
  • Look for curricula with hands-on activities

Don’t Hesitate to Use Technology

I used to think that using technology in our homeschool was somehow inferior to classic pen and paper learning.  Not any longer!  From multi-sensory iPad apps, to text-to-speech programs to help with reading, and speech-to-text apps to help with writing and more, these tools give our dyslexic kids the chance to work well and efficiently at their intellectual ability.  Often referred to as accommodations, these tools should be taught to all dyslexic learners so that they can become more independent learners.  See our Resources Page for lists of my favorite assistive technology resources.

Truths About Finding the Right Homeschool Curriculum

  • It may take several tries to get a good fit that works well with your family.
  • Don’t be too hasty or too slow to replace a curriculum.
  • Just because it works for everyone else or got great reviews, doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for your family.

For more information for finding curriculum by subject and grade, read this post:

How-to-Find-Homeschool-Curriculum-for-Kids-With-Dyslexia

 

Curriculum Choices by Grade

The following are posts with teaching tips and curriculum choices by grade:

Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Grades 1-3 Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Grade 4 Homeschool Curriculum Choices

How to Homeschool Your Dyslexic 7th Grader

Middle School Homeschool Curriculum Choices

High School Homeschool Curriculum Choices