Children with dyslexia often thrive in a homeschooling environment. Here are tips for choosing right homeschool curriculum and successfully homeschooling a dyslexic child.
Dyslexia is a learning disability found to be highly hereditary. It is a neurological condition and research has shown that the brains of dyslexic people are quite different from the brains of those who are not dyslexic. These brain differences make it more difficult for children with dyslexia to do some or all of the following:
- Recognize words on the page
- Isolate sounds within a word and assign letters to those sounds
- Comprehend sentences and paragraphs when reading
- Write neatly with proper spelling
- Increasing vocabulary appropriate to grade level
The term “dyslexia” is actually an umbrella term that can include a range of difficulties with language. Some dyslexic children will struggle with speech and verbal communications, while others simply have trouble reading and writing. There are some other conditions that can cause these same problems, so it is important to get an official diagnosis of dyslexia before you start homeschooling your child.
Why Homeschool a Dyslexic Child
Once you know that your child is dyslexic, one of the best things you can do for them is home school them.
Children with this learning disorder are often teased by other children in school, and some teachers do not have the patience required to help them develop reading, writing and spelling skills. Though dyslexic children have normal to advanced intelligence and are just as smart as any other child, others can think of them as “slow” or developmentally challenged because their brains do not function the same as other children’s brains.
In the homeschooling environment, you strip away the judgment from other children and ensure your child always has a receptive, patient teacher who understands their needs and challenges (that’s you). You can adjust lessons in reading and language arts so your dyslexic child develops skills at their own pace, while still allowing them to excel in other subject areas.
As a homeschooling family, you are not bound to putting your child on lessons for one specific grade level across all subjects, so take advantage of that. If they are better off at a second grade reading level but are ready for third or fourth grade math, you can adjust lesson plans so they have the appropriate lessons. If they need to take extra time on a specific lesson, give them that time. They will move on when they are good and ready to advance.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help
This flexibility is great for children with dyslexia, but you may also need some help from the outside world. If you find yourself growing frustrated or you sense your child getting tense over their own struggles, stop the lesson and give everyone a chance to breathe and calm down. If you can get your child into some type of therapy program through their doctor, this will help them understand their own learning disability and work with it more effectively. You may need some professional lessons from an occupational therapist yourself, just to learn how to help your child overcome their dyslexic tendencies.
The worst thing you can do for your child is not acknowledge their problem. If you have the slightest suspicion that they may have dyslexia, it is important to get the official diagnosis so you can work with them more efficiently.
Homeschool Curriculum Choices
There is no perfect homeschool curriculum for every child. This is especially true for children with dyslexia. However, taking the time to try different options, you will find what works best for your child and your family.
Many parents find that computer-based learning choices like Hooked on Phonics, Switched on Schoolhouse, Time4Learning.com, and Stevenson Learning to be very helpful for their children. Depending on the age of your child, these may be good choices for you as well.
Homeschooling a dyslexic child does not have to leave you feeling alone. There are many resources to help. Here are some we think may be helpful in your journey:
Reading Success Lab – This site has a free dyslexia screening test and great articles for parents trying to help a dyslexic child.
LD Online – This site has interesting articles and a free monthly newsletter for parents of children living with various learning disabilities.