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Homeschooling and Dyslexia

With the onslaught of the “unknowns” created by the world-wide pandemic, the world as we knew it has changed in so many ways.   Suddenly, we must act as homeschoolers, a role with which most of us were unfamiliar.  Among our new jobs, it is one that we want desperately to do well; however, most of us do not have the necessary skills.  How do we most effectively teach our children?

When a child receives a diagnosis of having dyslexia, parents often find themselves in the position of having to take their child’s education in their own hands.  Often they realize that homeschooling is the avenue that will provide that child with the best possible avenue for learning.  Yet, how does a parent even begin in one of the most important roles they will ever undertake?  Where do parents find the skills to lead their dyslexic children to find success in learning?  Dyslexic On Demand understands that having the right tools to guarantee success in learning makes all the difference for a child, particularly with a child with dyslexia.

Children with dyslexia do have particular learning strengths; however, they are also faced with particular challenges that make learning and retaining what they have learned especially difficult in subjects such as:

  • Phonics and reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Mathematics

Parents must be mindful that there is no better ratio that guarantees success in learning than 1:1.  This is what makes homeschooling so very desirable as an educational option.  As a parent who homeschools, you can customize your child’s education to meet his particular needs.  You have the ability to provide your child with the perfect blend of curriculum, teaching style, and perfect understanding of how your child learns the most proficiently.  Keep in mind that you even have total control of the materials that you select to utilize when teaching, as well as the ability to select a homeschool curriculum that is targeted especially for your child who is dyslexic.

The following information may prove to be helpful to you if you are considering the option of homeschooling your child with dyslexia.

How You Can Help a Child with Dyslexia Read

Remember that the traditional methods for teaching reading do not usually work for a child who has dyslexia.  It is important to keep in mind that there are reading strategies that prove to be effective for students with dyslexia because they focus on their specific learning strengths.  These include:

  • Integrating assistive technology such as text-to-speech software and audiobooks.
  • Utilizing multisensory techniques that merge as many of the senses as possible.
  • Building self-assurance by introducing new words and progressing  slowly .
  • Turning memorization of sight words into fun by playing games such as “Go Fish” and “Concentration”.
  • Making sure that during instruction there are frequent breaks.
  • Systematic phonics instruction such as TAKE FLIGHT.

Reading Programs for Dyslexia Found Online

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that it allows parents to have the flexibility and freedom to select the means of instruction that brings their child the most success in learning.  For example, many children with dyslexia learn most effectively through visual methods of instruction.  It is for this reason that families so frequently turn to online dyslexia reading programs.  In addition, using a multimedia approach to learning ensures that multiple senses are being accessed, thus leading so often to better comprehension and retention for the child with dyslexia.

Of course, it is crucial that parents read to their children, helping to sound out words, directing reading activities, etc.  However, remember that you cannot learn for your child.  This is where online reading programs designed specifically for dyslexia can be so beneficial.  These reading programs aid in independent mastery.  For dyslexic students, an ideal reading curriculum that fosters independent mastery would:

  • Include instruction both in sight words and phonics.
  • Allow students the freedom to move at their own pace, moving ahead when reading becomes easy and reviewing whenever ideas are not as clear.
  • Use multistory techniques and include lots of visual instruction and support.
  • Utilize strategies for both decoding and spelling words that are new.
  • Include specific instruction for all rules of reading.

How to Help a Child with Dyslexia Write

Visual-spatial learning is often an area of strength for individuals with dyslexia.  Learners with dyslexia can often improve writing skills, as with reading skills, through use of visual aids that assist them in connecting words with objects or scenes.  Mind mapping is one visual technique that assists many children who have dyslexia to organize their ideas before they begin to write.  

Other writing strategies that are particularly helpful for learners with dyslexia include:

  • Having writers focus strictly on their content for the first draft.  Sentence structure, word choice, grammar, and spelling can be a concern later in the writing process.
  • Using writing rubrics that specify desired features of a written piece help young writers to identify errors and areas needing improvement in their written piece.
  • Assistive technology tools such as word prediction programs and speech recognition software assist with particular challenges of learners.

Online Writing Programs for Learners with Dyslexia

For individuals with dyslexia, difficulties with handwriting and with transferring thoughts into letters and words on paper can make writing a daunting task.  Although elementary students need to practice their fine motor skills through handwriting instruction, their composition will usually be far more successful if done using a keyboard.

Every learner is affected differently by dyslexia.  Because this is true, there is also no ONE writing curriculum that most effectively meets the needs of all students with dyslexia.  As a parent, you can hone in on the strengths and weaknesses of your child.  In addition, you can identify your learner’s own preferences as a writer.  By doing this, you can customize the homeschool writing curriculum that best meets the needs and desires of your young writer.There are truly a plethora of materials out there from which to select.  Parents will find interactive videos, personal computers, laptops, online courses, and tablet devices that offer thrilling and inspiring materials that their learner with dyslexia can thrive on.  However, these numerous and varied materials can also often confuse parents.  This is especial true for new homeschoolers.  It is important for parents to realize that the best choice may well be mixing different activities and devices.  This is often the choice that will keep their learners excited and eager about learning.

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