If your child has dyslexia you most likely have a number of walls in reading, spelling, and organization. The challenges that dyslexia presents can be overwhelming and defeating. But, dyslexia isn’t a disaster for your learner, quite the opposite. You have reasons to be encouraged after a dyslexia diagnosis. The great news is you’ve already chosen one of the best solutions to dyslexia and learning, homeschooling. But, now what? If you’re wondering how to homeschool a child with dyslexia, you’ve come to the right place. In light of Dyslexia Awareness Month, here are the top 4 tips on homeschooling a child with dyslexia and putting him (and yourself!) on the path to success.
Homeschooling Despite Dyslexia
Because students with dyslexia need individual attention, homeschooling is a great option! But, it means that you’ll have to provide a completely unique, individual approach to teaching. The best approach to homeschooling a student with dyslexia is to make sure it’s individualized, systematic, multi-sensory, and above all, positive.
One of the hardest parts about homeschooling a dyslexic student is that your child will learn completely differently than you or your other students. Your approach as a teacher will need to be very different and individualized. You can’t teach a child with dyslexia to read in the same way you would a child who doesn’t have it, nor should you use the same curriculum. You’ll need to modify and adapt the curriculum and strategies you’re using to your student’s particular needs. While this can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be!
One great way to create your own teaching manual, so to speak, is to keep a journal of what teaching methods work and what don’t. As you begin to catalog what’s working, you’ll be able to develop a system of teaching and studying strategies that you can then apply specifically to your child and to each subject. Taking note of what clicks will give you tools to use and enable you both to feel more successful.
Dyslexia requires a systematic approach to reading, writing, and organization. Everything you do should follow the same pattern of teaching and process to learning. Why? Because your child’s brain will become familiar with the process and enabled to focus solely on making new memories and mastering the concept. Using repetitive, systematic methods when presenting new information means your student focuses more on the mastery of the concept and less on the instructions being given.
You’ll want to start each lesson by explaining what you’re going to do, what you’ll be learning, why you’re learning it, and the method you’ll be using. An added benefit to sticking to a routine in your teaching methods is that your homeschooler will pick up on the benefits of having a routine and following a pattern. This can translate to better organizational skills and stronger routines in the home, something dyslexics often struggle with!
When teaching reading or any new concept, you should always engage as many senses as possible. Think about what your child will see, hear, and touch during the lesson. Using the hands is especially helpful as it engages the body along with the brain, thus creating physical memories alongside neural memories. What does this mean? The more senses you use the stronger the memories your learner will have. Touch Math is a perfect example of a multi-sensory learning method that works for students with dyslexia. By placing counting points on the numbers, the Touch Math method enables students to understand the quantity and how to manipulate numbers visually as they physically count. Your child will count out loud, touch the quantity, all while seeing the numbers that are to be manipulated. That’s multi-sensory learning at its best!
The Most Important Principle is Praise. While all of these teaching approaches are critical for you to use if you’re wondering how to homeschool a child with dyslexia, the most important strategy you can offer your child can’t be learned in a book or purchased along with the new curriculum. Staying positive and encouraging your child’s strengths must be the cornerstone of your homeschooling strategy. The fact is dyslexia is a challenge and it will stretch your homeschooler in uncomfortable and hard ways. But, staying focused on your homeschooler’s strengths and abilities will enable you both to push through the tough times and come out as conquerors.
Remembering to praise can be hard, so give yourself a visual cue! Place a hair tie, rubber band, or sticker on your wrist or shirt. Every time you see it, remind yourself to praise, praise, praise! We all flourish when we are encouraged, and we wither when we are put down. So, make it a point to pour out the positive onto your homeschooler so that your child sees the positive in their future. Because, after all, dyslexia is a part of your child’s life and accepting it as a benefit can turn something that would be defeating into that which propels success.
Sometimes the hurdles are a little too high and, despite your best efforts, you just can’t seem to break through the barrier. If the dyslexia is too much for you to tackle at this time, call for help! Homeschool experts can help you to find the right curriculum and community of encouragement. They’ve been there, so why not get the help you need and rely on the knowledge and experience of an expert to return the love of learning and homeschooling that struggling with dyslexia can steal.