(This series of blog posts is excerpted from Sarah’s book, Windows to Our World: Sarah’s Journal – Growing Up, Crossing Oceans, Finding Love & Giving Life to 10 Children)
Isaac started reading at age three. Back then, I thought homeschooling was going to be easy. Anna, our second child, was born dancing, drawing, and dreaming, but at age nine she was still reversing letters and forgetting how to sound out three-letter words. She continued to struggle with pencil and paper, and I didn’t know why. I had started both children with the same reading program, but Anna wasn’t learning to read.
I tried several reading programs over the years, but nothing helped. Nothing interested her. Reading was exhausting and confusing. I really began to feel like there was something wrong with her, and because we were homeschooling, I blamed myself. I was afraid to talk to anyone about Anna’s problem with reading. I never suspected dyslexia. I just thought I was a bad teacher until Estera, our third, taught herself to read and write at age five. She would always play school with the workbooks that Anna couldn’t use. By then, we had dozens of them.
One fall day a couple of years earlier, Anna and I were sitting under the big tree in the backyard working on reading lesson number one for the 30th time. I was still trying to help her see the difference between b and d. We were making a new set of colorful flash cards but seeing no progress.
She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “Mom, there is NO difference! I will never read!” she said. “Can’t I just be an artist and a mommy when I grow up?” I remembered having the same dream when I was a little girl and the same struggles. I had blamed the school system for my problems with reading, but Anna was being homeschooled, how could the same thing be happening to her?
I looked up into the sky and asked God to show me how to help my child. The first thing I realized was that I didn’t have what it takes to help her and needed to seek out a professional. I had to get over my own fear and pride and ask for help. The first reading tutor we hired was mystified by Anna’s problem too, but we eventually found a specialist who understood Anna. The teacher evaluated Anna and revealed that she had dyslexia. (click here to continue reading)