Over the years, I have received a lot of feedback from parents that are concerned about taking on the responsibility of homeschooling their dyslexic kids. Is it worth it? I am sharing what to expect when homeschooling with dyslexia.
Over the years, I have received a lot of feedback from parents that are concerned about taking on the responsibility of homeschooling their dyslexic kids. Some of you are just starting out with homeschooling. Some of you have just received a diagnosis of dyslexia that explains a lot of the school struggles your child has been having and some of you are suspecting dyslexia and are looking for help. Whatever your situation, homeschooling kids with dyslexia can be a daunting task!
First of all, please know that after homeschooling kids with dyslexia for the past 19 years, I can say without a doubt, despite the struggles – and there were many – that homeschooling is by far the best place for your dyslexic kids.
Don’t just take my word for it. Even the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) agrees:
“Dyslexic children require direct, systematic, and individualized instruction in reading and spelling. Public schools cannot always provide an adequate level of service. Indeed, some systems are woefully ill-prepared to deal with such children and may even deny, against all scientific evidence, that dyslexia exists. Homeschooling can provide solid remediation without the burden of travel and can allow the parent to see directly the progress of the child.”
I would add to this that homeschooling also eliminates the very real stress that dyslexic kids feel every single day in school because they are behind everyone else, leaving them with the impression that they are not as intelligent. This is a toxic environment for a young person to deal with day after day, despite the best intentions of their teachers. (Don’t agree with me? Ask any adult who had dyslexia about their school experience!) Dyslexic learners learn differently – it is not an issue of intelligence. For more myths and facts about dyslexia – see this post.
What you can Expect Homeschooling Your Dyslexic Child
Homeschooling parents need to be educated on what dyslexia is.
Although we have sought help from educational therapists for several of our kids, I have found immense benefit in learning all I can about dyslexia as well. You must understand learning styles, the strengths of the dyslexic mind and the best teaching methods for these right-brained, visual learners.
There is no one curriculum that will meet all of your child’s needs.
You will need to tweak and modify most any curriculum from time to time – either providing more review, more tactile learning or more auditory options. For example, reading aloud (or listening to audio boooks) together is great. Filling in worksheets is not. Have your child discuss the answers to the fill-in-the-blank questions with you. Have them narrate (tell back) what they have just heard. Studies show that this is one of the best pre-writing methods you can use. Most any curriculum can be modified for the dyslexic learner.
Parents may very well need to change their expectations.
Notice that I said ‘change’ here, not lower. This is especially true if you are are like me – one of the most left-brained and linear people around. I come from a long line of college educated folks. Not that college isn’t an option for the dyslexic learner. It absolutely is. It is just not going to be entered into lightly. A dyslexic learner can excel in college with the right motivation and skills.
However, you may find that a life of adventure or entrepreneurial or artistic pursuits is more to their liking. Learn to observe early on where their interests and abilities intersect – that is likely where their vocation or calling lie. To understand more of the strengths of the dyslexic mind, take our Parent Dyslexia Training Course on Understanding Dyslexia.
Honestly, if you had asked me if my two oldest kids – both homeschooled and dyslexic – would hold world records in sailing, and that one of them would write a book, I would have called you crazy. Thinking outside the box comes naturally to these kids. They can, and will, teach us left-brainers a thing or two.
There will be days…
There will be days that despite your best plans and intentions, the school day will end in tears of frustration. Overcoming dyslexia requires hard work on the part of your child (and you!). We have had some of the most amazing breakthroughs after taking a break – even a break of several weeks! It is during these times that it helps to step back and remember why you are homeschooling.
Get informed, get connected and get going! You can do this!!