5 Days to a More Confident Homeschool

by | Jan 21, 2019 | Teaching Tips | 19 comments

Would you like to have a more confident homeschool?

Would you like to have a more confident homeschool? Check out this series and have a more confident homeschool in just 5 days!

When we first started homeschooling 20+ years ago, I had big plans. Yup, my kids were going to be the super kids whose knowledge and educational excellence would set me apart from others.

Education had been very important to my family as I grew up and I wanted to show my slightly concerned family members that we had this homeschool thing!

It wasn’t long before I was crying in my coffee and sweeping up my shattered vision for my kids’ homeschool experience. In a nutshell, my kids were not learning like I did, like I thought they would, or (apparently) like any other kids in our homeschool circles. Two months into first grade and I was stumped. Confused. Overwhelmed. I was at a complete loss for how to teach this clearly very bright child so that the information wouldn’t leak out of his ears in the night!

The Recipe for Homeschool Overwhelm

Teaching kids with dyslexia is tricky. On the one hand our kids are smart. They can understand anything and often excel at understanding concepts and ideas. On the other hand, when it comes to reading or writing about those very same concepts, it’s like some wall goes up and they are unable to learn.

Homeschool parents are a savvy bunch. They do their research and take seriously the responsibility for teaching their kids.

So when our award-winning curriculum produces less than ideal results, we end up confused. Are we doing something wrong? Maybe I’m not cut out for homeschooling.

Learning struggles are frustrating for our kids too. This can result in a resistance to doing school which results in more confusion. Am I doing too much?

Then when our kids aren’t making significant progress, we begin to question if we’re doing enough!

Gaining Confidence in Your Homeschool

I struggled for years to figure out how to teach my kids with dyslexia and made a lot of mistakes.

I’ve learned a lot since those early days of homeschooling.  I’m going to share some of that with you in this series. I’ll detail some knowledge, strategies, and mindsets that I learned that made the biggest difference in my homeschool.

We’ll be talking about:

  • Kid’s attitudes towards learning
  • The myth of being behind
  • Putting academics in their place
  • My simple formula for success

And so you feel better, four of our kids with dyslexia have graduated from our homeschool and are doing very well despite my teaching disability and their academic challenges!

Start Here

Before we begin this journey, it’s important to assess where we’re starting from.

  • What’s going well?
  • What isn’t?
  • What would you like to change in your homeschool?

If you’d like some guidance here, download the quick assessment form below and I’ll see you here tomorrow where we’ll get started by talking about our kids’ attitudes towards learning.

Download the homeschool assessment form here.

Fill out the simple assessment and come back tomorrow where we’ll talk about how to address kids’ limiting beliefs about learning.

Leave a comment below and let me know in which areas you are lacking confidence. You are not alone!

Find the rest of the posts in this series below:

Help for the Discouraged Learner

Rethinking What it Means to be ‘Behind’

How Important is Academic Success?

My Homeschool Success Formula


  1. Rebekah Garrison

    This post spoke straight to me.
    I’m struggling with the thought “Am I doing enough?” It’s seems to be two steps forward then three steps back or seems to be no progress at all. It’s hard to determine if my children are progressing enough.

  2. Jennifer

    Spelling – my son is going through the Take Flight – Scottish Rite program. It is Orrin Gillingham based and has helped tremendously with reading. They also teach spelling, but we’re not seeing great strides in that area. Any suggestions?
    Thank you for your blog!! Your experience and wisdom are greatly appreciated.

    • Jolene Klabunde

      The Barton Reading & Spelling System is one of the strongest Orton- Gillingham curriculums for teaching Spelling. It was designed with homeschool parents in mind and is easy to use with plenty of support from the developer, Susan Barton, along with other Barton tutors.

  3. Sarah M

    This sounds like a great series. I am definitely in the ‘are we doing enough?’ camp. I have 1 diagnosed (but one other suspected) child with dyslexia, and the amount of work we do seems so small. They don’t always have the best attitude about doing school work, either. Some days it’s a breeze and they are motivated to get their ‘have tos’ done so they can spend more time on their ‘get tos’, but those are usually the exception.

    • Marianne

      Hi Sarah. That is very common. What is important to remember is that you have to focus on priorities: reading and math and some read alouds are what make up our minimum homeschool day. If we get that done, I know that we’ll be okay. History and science don’t need to be done every day and in the younger years, can be done with read alouds, documentaries, field trips, nature study – and again NOT every day. Be gentle with yourself. The schools may be covering more content but nothing can top a caring parent giving their dyslexic kids the individualized education they need. One day, teaching the basics won’t be so intensive and you will be able to do a lot more! They will get there!!

  4. Alexis

    I feel like I’m letting my kids down. They are 10,9,8,7 and all but the 9yr old are struggling with reading and especially spelling . I have all about reading all about spelling we tried reading horizons. They feel dumb and I feel as tho I have let them down. They love math science and history but when we go to reading it’s a fight every day!

    • stacy

      Hi Alexis, Have you looked into the Barton System for reading and spelling? It really turned my daughter around. I’ve been tutoring her with it for 3 years now and it’s been a lifesaver and very easy to administer. Not sure if the curicullum you mentioned is Orton-Gillingham based or not but if it isn’t and they’re dyslexic, they really need an OG based system or you’re wasting your time. Before Barton, the school used 3 different programs for her that did not work because they were not designed for dyslexics. You’re kids are still young, never too late to start. My daughter is 15 now but did not start Barton until she was 12.

    • Marianne

      Hi Alexis. I’m going to be talking about this more over the next few days! Stay tuned!!

  5. DH

    Lack of student confidence and not wanting to do any “schooling”.

    Writing is extremely difficult.

    • Marianne

      Tomorrow’s post will talk about kids. Stay tuned!

  6. Lisa Speed Saks

    I have a nagging worry that my children’s writing skills are lagging too far behind. At ages 11 and 9, both in Barton book 3, they are making plenty of progress overall. I could use encouragement from moms who have been in this same place but are on the other side- Lisa

    • Marianne

      Well you’ve come to the right place Lisa! I can worry about that too but you on are on the right path. For now, have them do some copy work. Copying passages of interest, passages from their Barton lists, passages that they have dictated to you. Use narration (telling you back what they learned) to practice composition without writing.

  7. Marisol

    Every thing you wrote about in this post is how I feel. I am feeling discouraged right now.

    • Marianne

      Homeschooling kids with dyslexia is hard! But it is good! Keep reading this week Marisol. I’ll be writing more about how to help our kids and enjoy homeschooling.

  8. Marie

    Hi, I have 5 children below 11 and three first 3 (boys) have ADHD and dyslexia. Every day is a battle to get them to focus on what we’re learning and then when they do focus, often they struggle to read (simple texts) and give up very quickly. My youngest boy (8) often says “what’s the point?” I feel I’m always at them for not working hard enough and we seem to be making little progress. I really want to enjoy homeschooling but each day is a real challenge!! Any thoughts gratefully received. Thanks!

  9. Michelle

    I have been so discouraged after 3 years of constant battles to start school, finish a subject, start your reader, start writing or dictation or typing that I finally put up the white flag and placed both my boys in public school. The youngest is dyslexic and the oldest couldn’t stand the battles and my stress. The olderst was driven crazy by the youngest’s perceived disobedience. I vacilated between responding like the arguments and refusal to start/ finish/ cooperate were defiance / disobedience and anxiety/ feelings of stress. Now they are both in school and I see that I’ve been doing WAY MORE than the public school system. Now I am still getting the arguing and refussal to work for homework. The school says he’s doing great. This transition is terrible and I’m not convinced that I made the best decision. Although, I still don’t know what I would use to teach him spelling and writing. His reading is good unless it comes to math problems. He has no clue what he’s supposed to do. He talks about wanting to homeschool next year, but without a plan of how to teach him, I’m not feeling very confident.

    • Marianne

      What an interesting comparison! Choosing curriculum depends on the age. Spelling is always the last thing to develop so it’s a good idea to choose and Orton-Gillingham-based program and just be faithful with it. Kids with dyslexia learn at a different pace than traditional learners.

  10. Chrystel Blagg

    Marianne, I cannot express how thankful I am for you and going forth in your calling to help other struggling Mom’s with dyslexic kids like me. You are right, we really can’t compare our homeschooling experience to the public school or seat based programs. Life is just so completely different with homeschooling these kids. I am unique I’m that I have two I homeschool and 2 that aren’t dyslexic and are in a public school. I often find myself comparing the other two and wondering if I’m doing enough. But remembering that we can’t try to teach an apple like an orange, vice versa. So thank you so much and cannot wait to see more of your words of wisdom!

  11. Lisa Speed Saks

    thanks so much, Marianne, that is encouraging. I began using narration for history and science. Sometimes I panic because my son’s recall often doesn’t cover more than 2 paragraphs of what was read, but I’m going to stick with it.


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