Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia
During the COVID-19 pandemic, homeschooling and other types of at-home learning became the norm for many families. If that has caused you to reevaluate your future plans for educating your child, know that there are unique challenges when homeschooling a child with dyslexia.
If you’re considering this option, you might also be wondering what preparations, resources, or strategies would be most helpful in addition to or instead of traditional homeschooling methods. With that in mind, here is some advice from experts when it comes to homeschooling a child with dyslexia.
Benefits of Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia
Homeschooling allows families to customize an educational experience and create a learning environment that works best for everyone involved. More specifically, it gives parents the opportunity to develop a program that meets the unique needs of their children.
The benefits of homeschooling a child with dyslexia include:
- Ability to customize learning materials to the child’s specific learning profile, temperament, and learning goals
- Ability to identify and collaborate with a specialist who can develop a customized instructional program and ensure that it’s implemented (and then modified as needed) in an effective and child-centered way
- Ability to focus on content (for example, Spanish or algebra) and also on related skills such as paragraph structure, organization, executive function skills, or reading fluency
- Ability to adapt the pace of instruction and ways we assess mastery/growth in a meaningful, customized way
- Access to several resources and technologies to help students learn well and take agency over their learning
- Opportunity to see your child in action and guide other stakeholders based on your observations
- Access to others who are helping roll out this learning program, which can save time and reduce stressors if you have a strong, communicative, collaborative team
Challenges of Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia
Students with dyslexia need explicit, direct instruction in the sound structure of our language. This instruction needs to include teacher modeling and explanation, a multi-sensory approach, and ongoing support as students work to build their understanding of letter-sound correspondence.
Though many parents are skilled readers themselves, they often don’t have the foundational knowledge in reading development and linguistics that is necessary in homeschooling a child with dyslexia.
Parents may need to consider hiring an educational expert, learning specialist, or tutor trained to work with children who have dyslexia that can provide this service or work with the parent to develop a program they can then deliver to their child.
Strategies for Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia
While every child with dyslexia is different, there are some helpful tips and strategies you can apply to most homeschooling situations.
(1) Research Homeschool Curricula
Do a careful analysis of homeschool curricula before committing to specific methods. For example, many homeschool programs with pre-packaged materials require a great deal of mastery work to be submitted since students are not taking exams in a classroom.
So you want to be sure that you can adapt or otherwise use those materials with your dyslexic child (i.e., reading level of the textbook is not too tough). Also, for kids with processing issues or slow pacing in writing, it may not be realistic for your child to do the sheer amount of mastery assignments that are required.
(2) Get Familiar With Resources Available
Get to know different curricula and textbook sites so that you can see which supportive online materials are especially helpful.
(3) Vet the Experts You Hire
When hiring a tutoring company or education consultant, you should ask the direct and tough questions about training, background, and supervision.
Ask for specific examples of similar students they have taught in the past and how the homeschool program was structured and modified for those kids. You know your child best, so don’t be shy about asking specific questions and trusting your gut instinct.
(4) Balance Print Materials With Digital
When it comes to learning materials (workbooks, games, etc.), it is suggested that you think tactically and practically about which tools you will use, why you are selecting them, and how you will implement them for different learning goals.
There are wonderful tech tools, but the trick is to use ed-tech as a tool that helps dyslexic kids hone skills and also increase their metacognitive awareness, or understanding of themselves as learners.
(5) Keep an Eye on Tutors
You want to make sure that they are not spoon-feeding your kid. The goal of working with a trained tutor or educational consultant is for your child to be learning how to learn as they learn information.
Homeschooling a child with dyslexia can be a rewarding experience for both parent and student. Getting started on the right foot, and with the best resources, can help both of you navigate this educational path.
And whether your choice to homeschool is temporary or long term, reaching out for help from experts, calling on your support team, and staying up-to-date on research, curriculum, and learning strategies will give your child the best possible experience.
You might also be interested to take a look at our recent blogs for more learning tips and guides.
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