This is my 25th year of homeschooling my outside-the-box, bright-but-struggling, dyslexic kids. Seven of my 8 kids to be exact. I created this site to help other families who are homeschooling their kids with dyslexia that are not so far along the path. I often think back to my early years of homeschooling to help me remember the important lessons I’ve learned that can help others. Here are a few things I wish I had known before I started homeschooling my kids with dyslexia.
I wish I’d known more about dyslexia.
For many years, I did not understand how my kids with dyslexia learned at all. I had a habit of getting frustrated with my kids for things they really couldn’t help, things that looked like laziness or like they weren’t paying attention.
For example, when I taught my kids some concept or rule one day and then they promptly forgot it the next. I know now that this really has nothing to do with laziness and everything to do with how kids with memory and processing weaknesses process information.
I know that my reaction hurt my kids. The truth is that they were trying to remember. Now that I understand dyslexia, I’ve apologized to my kids. They’ve forgiven me and moved on but, I wish I’d known more about dyslexia when I started homeschooling!
I wish I didn’t focus so much on keeping up with grade levels.
That was just a recipe for disaster! The truth is that, though our kids with dyslexia are not lacking in intelligence, they do learn at a different pace.
Most kids with dyslexia will learn to read independently somewhere between 9-12 years old. All of my kids have learned to read, even despite my lack of knowledge in the early years!
These days I teach my kids at their level and focus on mastery. They all get to grade levels eventually and learn to read independently on their own unique time frame!
I wish I had spent more time enjoying learning things that interested them and saved rote learning for the older years when they were ready for it. Did you know that research has shown that a child can learn all math concepts from K-6 in about 20 hours once they are ready and interested? 20 hours folks!
If you’re worried about your child being ‘behind’, read this article, “Help! My Homeschooler is Behind”
I kept switching curriculum instead of using accommodations.
I mistakenly believed that dictating a paper to mom or listening to an audiobook instead of ‘eye reading’ was cheating. NOT TRUE!
We need accommodations to help our kids work and learn at their intellectual ability. If our 10-year old is reading at 1st-grade level (happens all the time) they need to have access to audiobooks with the vocabulary and complex sentence structures that meet their intellectual needs while still working on decoding at their ability level.
Accommodations are the very thing that helps our kids continue to learn other aspects of language arts even though they aren’t able to read it yet or to progress through a math curriculum despite not knowing their math facts.
I didn’t appreciate the power of interest-led learning.
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that our kids have plenty of time to pursue their interests. This has led to all kinds of amazing learning opportunities for our kids over the years. It’s not uncommon for our kids to excel at business, farming, mechanics, art, theater, music, etc.
In my early years, I looked at these pursuits as ‘extra’ or ‘not school’. NOT TRUE. For all of my kids who have graduated from high school, those interests have led to their present career paths. Allowing and encouraging our kids to follow their interests is a BIG part of homeschooling and should happily and confidently be given time.