Homeschooling has grown by leaps and bounds the last few years. In fact, some areas have seen an increase of more than 400% since 2019. Students with learning challenges, disabilities, and special needs make up a significant portion of this growth. Families realizing during the pandemic how much better their kids did at home, and decided to keep them there. Homeschooling a child with Dyslexia is by far the top learning disability we help families with. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help Dyslexic students.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disability impacting the ability to read. Students struggle to process letters and the sounds associated with letters. The most well-known manifestation is the inability to distinguish the difference between d/p/b/q. Children with Dyslexia may also describe letters on the page as “wiggly” or “moving.” Struggles with spelling, rhyming, letter names, phonics, and letter position are also common.
It is estimated 10-20% of people have Dyslexia. Other learning disabilities or challenges such as ADD/AHD are often present as well. Genetics also plays a part as it seems to run strongly in families. Proper diagnosis and identification has been increasing in the last decade. Most children are diagnosed between 2nd-3rd grade unless they are profoundly dyslexic.
Adaptations and tips for Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia
While it cannot be “cured,” homeschooling a child with Dyslexia gives you a unique opportunity to teach your child how to learn in spite of their challenges. In many cases, students no longer have symptoms of Dyslexia after they have homeschooled for a while- especially when they complete Dyslexia Games.
Dyslexia Games is always our recommended “first stop.” This is the Dyslexia therapy program that started our company! You can read more about the creation of Dyslexia Games here. We have had thousands of students and adults complete this program and either reduce or eliminate their symptoms. The Dyslexic brain is strongly right-brained. When we can tap into that art-based mind, students are able to learn more efficiently. You’ll find art incorporated in everything we make because it has so many benefits for all kids!
Provide plenty of breaks, processing time, and rest. Your student has to work extra hard to process the words on the page in front of them. This can lead to fatigue and overwhelm. Families have found it to be helpful to give students a break in between reading/writing tasks and to vary activities.
Audiobooks can be a lifesaver- both for Mom and kids. They can serve a couple purposes. One, to help your child take in information without needing to look at words on a page. Two, to give your student a chance to listen while they follow along in a book. Families homeschooling a child with Dyslexia usually utilize audiobooks for both purposes depending on age, severity of dyslexia, and season of life. Librivox is a popular option for free audiobooks, as well as your local library.
Utilize a “cut out.” This involves taking a piece of paper- heavier cardstock works best- and cutting a “window” in it. Providing this “window” helps reduce the amount of visual stimulation on the page. Start out with a smaller window. They will move this along as they read/complete their work. You can gradually increase the size of the window over time until they no longer need it.
View it as a gift! Can it be frustrating? Yes. And your child sees the world unlike other children- this is a gift. Most dyslexic children are extremely creative, artistic, and passionate. If you help them to view it as a gift rather than a hindrance, you’ll open up the world for them.
Building a Learning Plan/ Curriculum for Dyslexia
If your student was in public or private school for a while, you may want to start with a period of de-schooling. Children with learning disabilities and special needs often have trauma and/or bad experiences in school. The de-schooling period allows them to reset their nervous systems a bit and recognize things will be different.
We suggest letting Dyslexic students do a deep dive into their interests while completing Dyslexia Games. As mentioned above, these are extremely creative kids with big ideas. If they are allowed to study their interests, they’ll blow you away! Plus, they’re more motivated to learn when they are studying something they’re interested in. You can use one of our core journals to cover all the required academic subjects while diving into their interests.
It’s often best to start out slow and build from there. Some Dyslexic students thrive with variety in their materials, while others shut down. Start out with one or two journals and 4-6 books to use alongside them. At least one of the books could be an audiobook they just get to listen to. Another book could be an audiobook they follow-along with. Only add more as your child expresses interest/desire for more.
Make good use of Dyslexia-Friendly fonts in your homeschool materials. All of our journals use the Dyslexie font for easier reading. You can also find books and e-readers with this, or a similar font, available.
Don’t forget to stagger activities throughout your homeschool day. For example, squeeze in a 5-minute movement break in between language arts and history. Many families like to start with Dyslexia Games and then listen to an audiobook. Try to avoid having reading or writing tasks back-to-back, let them color a picture or do math or science in between.
Homeschooling a child with Dyslexia will open your child up to a whole new world. There is lots of support out there for you and your child. Check out our private Facebook group, Homeschooling Kids with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and ADHD to connect with other families and get more tips.
Wondering about the top journals for kids with Dyslexia? Check out this post to find out
& learn more about Dyslexia Games
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Learn more about Homeschooling a child with Dyslexia
Remember– This series is based on the average child with this learning challenge. We recognize most of these have a huge range of expression. This is intended to be a supportive overview. The bell curve is extremely important to remember throughout this series. Some children will fall outside of this average. We’ve chosen to homeschool for a reason- so we can customize our children’s education to their unique academic level and needs This is especially important for children with special needs, medical concerns, and learning disabilities.
Disclaimer- The content of this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease. Please seek advice from your healthcare provider for your personal health concerns prior to making any changes for yourself or your child.
About the Author- Amanda Osenga is a Fun-Schooling mom in Columbus, Ohio. She is also the social media manager and Virtual Assistant for Thinking Tree. Her family combines Thinking Tree books with the Charlotte Mason method using books from Ambleside Online and Wildwood Curriculum. In her free time, Amanda is an avid reader and loves to be outdoors.