Through the years of raising struggling learners, I have learned a few things about nurturing the hearts of these wonderful and talented kids. Homeschooling the struggling learner comes with challenges. We want to encourage our kids. Here are some things that you can do to help encourage your struggling learner.
Parenting a child who learns differently can be challenging. Hard-earned academic successes can take a toll on a child’s confidence over time. It isn’t easy to be performing behind most of the kids in your age group. Over time, these difficulties can result in a deep-seated discouragement that can affect other areas of the child’s life.
Over our years of raising kids who struggled to learn to read, write and spell, we have learned a few things about nurturing the hearts of these wonderful and talented kids.
Here are some things that you can do to help encourage your struggling learner:
1. Study the lives of well-known and successful dyslexics to learn how they overcame the learning obstacles in their lives.
Here are some You Tube videos to get you started: Charles Schwab, Richard Branson, and Steven Spielberg. These well-known dyslexics have come forward to share their stories of growing up with, and overcoming dyslexia. These stories go to show that though dyslexia makes school days more challenging, the inherent strengths of dyslexics paired with some pretty impressive compensation techniques can lead to a very successful future. Google ‘famous dyslexics’. You’re sure to find someone that your child can relate to; whether an actor, scientist, politician, or other.
2. Teach your child to look at their learning challenges as learning differences rather than learning disabilities.
Read through a book like High School Drop Out to Harvard or The Dyslexic Advantage to learn more about these substantial strengths. Studies have shown that more than 40% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Expect and encourage that creativity. It has been said that dyslexics spend so much time trying to figure things out during their school years, that they are natural at finding new ways of doing things, making them successful in business!
3. Have your child tested by an experienced and qualified educational tester
Read this post on how and why to get your child tested. Not only will these help any potential tutor to pinpoint your child’s specific areas of weakness, an IQ test can be the objective truth that your child needs to finally believe that they really are intelligent.
4. Consider finding outside help in the form of an educational therapist/tutor.
An educational therapist or tutor can quickly and effectively pinpoint areas that need work and begin the process of getting your child the help they need to get back on track. Giving your child the extra help they need to overcome their academic struggles is so key. It is never too late!
5. Find a way for your child to get involved with something in which he or she excels.
This could be anything from sports to service projects to artistic or musical pursuits. Think outside the box and look for mentors that can help develop interests and passions in your kids. The more your child can feel useful and successful, the less impact their school time struggles will have. Many dyslexics report that it was the pleasure and satisfaction from these non-academic pursuits that kept them going during the really difficult times.
6. If you aren’t homeschooling, consider it.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, “dyslexic students need direct, systematic and individual instruction in reading and spelling and traditional schools do not always provide adequate levels of service“. Other benefits to homeschooling a child who learns differently are: the freedom from daily comparison to kids with no learning difficulties, allows kids to work at their own pace and follow their interests and passions. For more information on benefits and how to get started in homeschooling a child with learning struggles, click here.
7. Encourage perseverance.
Studies show that there are many factors, besides level of education, that are characteristic of successful people. Some of those characteristics are: an ability to think out side the box, having a strong sense of commitment (perseverance), creative problem solving, drive, understanding people, and trustworthiness. Some of our greatest strengths are birthed out of our greatest struggles.
8. Keep your sense of humor.
Being able to laugh at yourself in a light-hearted way is great for working through difficult times. Since my husband is also dyslexic, he is not only able to relate to our kids’ struggles but he is able to help keep it all in perspective with a healthy dose of humor.
You are already doing great things with your kids who learn differently. Keep encouraging them – it makes a world of difference!