Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read and can make homeschooling more challenging. If your child has dyslexia, learning to read is harder for them than for other children, and working with written language is harder.
Where to start when you suspect dyslexia is involved.
Does your child have signs of dyslexia? This is a good checklist of symptoms to look for. If you look at it, you’ll see that the symptoms are more than just difficulty reading.
Helping your child with dyslexia to succeed is complicated. To help with reading, learning phonics is essential to learning to read and spell. Foundations & Fundamentals method for teaching phonics is a good place to start.
If your child is ready to progress beyond that, looking for a program that is Orton Gillingham-based is important. This means that your child learns phonics in a logical, progressive way.
There is more you can do
What else is helpful with homeschooling a child with dyslexia? Remember that as a homeschooler, you can adapt your curriculum and make choices that help your child succeed.
- Read for them. Read instructions, stories, or books to your child. They don’t have to read everything for themselves. Have your student read only their reading program if you can. This way they can focus on it.
- Use audiobooks. Audiobooks are a great way for students to listen to books on their own.
- Use movies and TV as literature. Classics, like Shakespeare’s plays, are made to be watched not read. So, find good versions and watch them. You can also watch documentaries for science and history instead of reading books. YouTube channels like Crash Course and SciShow are educational and entertaining.
- Choose a math program that they are comfortable with. This could mean looking for a program like Miquon Math, that has very few words or instructions on the student pages. Or you may just wish to read for your student or use a video-based program to remove the stresses of reading when doing math.
- Let your child give reports orally or in other creative ways. Create dioramas. Do an interpretive dance. Let them be creative instead of just making written reports about what they know.
Whatever you do to help your child with their reading and writing, be sure that you are honoring their strengths. While you may feel you have to work on their reading and writing skills, don’t do it so much that your child only sees their weakness.
Be sure to give your child time for art, dance, music, math, physics, or whatever gives them joy. Spend time on their interests, whether it is dinosaurs or outer space or the history of cannons. Enjoy those with them.
About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.