If you have read this post about my own homeschooling journey, you know that I am dyslexic. It was very difficult for me in 1st, 2nd & 3rd grades in public school. I failed 3rd grade, but over the summer my mom used the Narnia books to teach me to read. Once I could envision the words as I sounded them out, I began to read. I felt like the words would swim on the page if I couldn’t visualize a picture in my mind. At first I tried to think a picture for each word, but with Narnia I was able to visualize the whole story as a movie. My mom read the first part to me, and when I was really absorbed she told me I had to read it myself to find out what would happen next.
I began homeschooling at age 13, and we did Library Based – Delight Directed Learning for the first year. It was wonderful. Then my parents got a tax return and bought a bunch of Abeka, Saxon and Bob Jones University Curriculum. I lost the joy because it wasn’t fun and it brought back the challenges of dyslexia. Later we started mostly un-schooling, but with a little more structure.
In high school, I had a grammar curriculum, a government and economics curriculum, and Spanish videos. Everything else was my choice, and I loved it. I majored in art, nutrition, architecture, and brain development all through high school. I always struggled with writing, but my mom encouraged exposure to a lot of poetry, copying poetry and scriptures, and reading biographies. I did a lot of creative writing in my homeschooling journals that I didn’t share. I was ashamed of my spelling. Later we got a computer and spell check helped a lot.
When I was in 12th grade I accepted a job as a newspaper reporter and photographer. It really helped my confidence. I never wanted that job, but I wrote a story and took some photos about something interesting that happened in my neighborhood and gave it to the local paper. They published my story and offered me a job. All the Ds and Fs that I got in elementary school made me believe I would never have what it take to be a writer, so I thought I would be an artist. Secretly I was filling my journals with stories and poems, but I would have died if anyone would have found them and read them…I knew I couldn’t spell, but I loved writing. It helped me process my thoughts and feelings and ideas. Having the job as a reporter gave me confidence to speak up with my writing and open myself up to share with others.
Don’t feel like dyslexia is a limiting factor for your child. Do what you can to help them overcome the problems, but don’t think that dyslexia will keep them from being anything they want to be. I am a good writer because of dyslexia. Dyslexics are storytellers. When they tell stories and create stories and reflect on memories they create whole worlds in their minds and think 1000 times faster than people who think with words.
I created Dyslexia Games for my daughter Anna. She was a lot like me. BUT she was homeschooled, from a young age, so I could customize her education. I allowed her to major in the arts, and let her enjoy and direct her own education. She couldn’t read or write before she was nine. I was determined to use art and logic (her gifts) to teach her reading, writing, and spelling. But I waited until she was motivated. What motivated her to want to read? Yes, she was embarrassed at church, and constantly humiliated by relatives. That wasn’t her main motivation. She wanted to communicate and research and read a comic book, but she couldn’t. It was really sad because for a long time she tried so hard. We used 100 Easy Lessons and had a private tutor, she went to a Kumon learning center. Nothing worked.
That’s when I began trying the pattern games and the “what’s missing” art games that you see in Dyslexia Games. I created about 100 little games with hidden letters and symbols. Within 3 months she could read. She still had trouble with spelling. But she would fill countless journals with her secret stories, songs and poems. Now she is a singer and songwriter.
When I realized that she had a gift and desire in the area of songwriting I didn’t discourage her because of her dyslexia. I got the best teacher I could find – Christine Dente from the band Out of the Grey. Anna’s lessons eventually inspired our “Singer and the Songwriter” Idea Book. Anna has set the “Book of Matthew” to music and has produced a 30-song musical. She still gets tired of writing so we uses a voice to text app. And that works for her.
I shared this just to encourage you who feel like dyslexia can hold your child back, it is such a gift–it’s just that kids with dyslexia have a different timeline for developing skills. Dyslexia Games can speed up the process of helping a child to read, write and spell… without frustration and without compromising creativity. We focus on the gifting of the dyslexic mind, not the weak areas. Trying to teach a dyslexic child phonics is like trying to force a left handed child to write with the right hand just because 80% of people are right handed. Dyslexic people learn differently and have talents that will amaze you. Just don’t expect them to be able to excel in reading, writing and spelling before ages 10 -13. In the teen years, with self motivation they take off and surpass others if given the right tools. (click here to continue reading)