The number of families that have decided to homeschool their children has boomed over the past few years. Are you a new homeschooling parent?
Homeschooling a child with dyslexia comes with plenty of joys and challenges. You have the opportunity to let your child learn at their own pace and to learn autonomy, but you are also now responsible for all of their education! That’s a lot of work for any busy parent.
Homeschooling a child who struggles with reading, writing, or math may have dyslexia. Dyslexia can present further challenges as standard homeschooling materials may not be as helpful for a child who needs extra assistance.
We are here to offer a few homeschooling tips for teaching a dyslexic child. Read on to learn more.
Know Your Child’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Not all children who struggle with reading are dealing with it in the same way or at the same level. Some children who struggle with reading have signs that are almost unnoticeable while others struggle. In fact, kids who struggle with reading are found on a continuum of mild, moderate, severe, profound; and everything in between!
To best help your child, make sure that you know where your child sits on this continuum. Consult with their doctor or get an evaluation from a qualified Dyslexia Specialist or Psychologist to determine your child’s starting point before you try to teach them on your own.
When you homeschool your child, you have the opportunity to mold their education not only to their needs but also to their strengths. You may find that they are more advanced in certain areas and weaker in others.
By establishing a starting point, you can identify a curriculum that will challenge them without becoming too overwhelming. In addition, you will need to find evidence-based curricula to address their weaknesses.
Have a Set Structure and Routine
All children do better with routines. When you start homeschooling your child, it will likely take a bit of time until you can find a routine that works for both of you.
Be sure that you do not let your child get too casual about their routine. Yes, they are learning at home, but they still need to get up, get dressed, and go to all of their classes on a consistent schedule so that they learn what is expected of them, keep up with the workload, and advance in their learning.
By creating a structured routine, you are making the homeschooling environment seem more like a “real” school, which might help your child stay focused and on task.
Children with dyslexia need structured reading instruction to thrive. While you can be more flexible with other classes, make sure that you include daily spelling and reading practice using evidence-based curricula. It may benefit you to have reading sessions throughout the day alongside your “main” language arts class.
Use Multisensory Reading Activities
Some children who struggle with reading, especially young ones, have a hard time learning in standard reading classes. This is one of the reasons that they fall behind in traditional public or private schools.
When you’re working with your child, find ways to make reading fun. The best methods for this will depend on your child’s age.
For very young children, invest in books that have elements of sound and touch that the child can interact with while they read. For example, a book about sheep may have soft and wooly sheep that your child can touch.
Sensory books are great for helping children grasp new words and concepts.
You can also incorporate movies. Buy books with a companion movie to provide a visual to the reading they are doing. Allow the child to read the book first, and then watch the movie to reinforce comprehension.
Games are another great way to help your child improve their reading skills. There are plenty of great games that you can play with items you already have at home.
Test out several fun sensory reading activities to see what works best for your child.
Try “Alternative” Learning Opportunities
Make sure to incorporate some alternative learning activities into your child’s school day. You do not have to stick with a standard school curriculum when you are teaching your child at home!
Keep in mind that you do need to fit everything from your child’s standard school day into their routine. Adding some extra activities, however, can bolster your child’s confidence, encourage new ways of thinking, and promote better life skills in the future.
Let them follow some of their passions, like sports, music, and art. Consider teaching them important life skills that they will need for the future.
When you are teaching a dyslexic child, find ways to incorporate reading into every alternative learning opportunity. For example, if you’re taking your child on a nature walk for “science class,” do a scavenger hunt.
Find photos of everything that the child should look for and label them. When the child sees the thing that they are looking for, they will read the label.
Move At Your Child’s Pace
You can meet your child where they are, skill-wise. Move at a pace that works for your child so that they do not fall behind or get bored with work that is too easy for them.
Your child must be exposed to content similar to other children in their age group, but that does not mean that you cannot take extra time on more complicated concepts if your child needs extra help.
Do not be afraid to pull resources from a grade level behind (or ahead) of where your child is. That is the beauty of meeting your child where they are at and tailoring their education to them.
Take Advantage of Tutoring Options
If your child is struggling with homeschooling, it is in their best interest (and yours) to try tutoring.
In specialized tutoring sessions, children will get extra help twice or more times per week to solidify what they have learned throughout the week and to improve some of their weak spots.
Homeschooling a Child Who Struggles with Reading Is Not Easy
When you are homeschooling a child with dyslexia, you are sure to come across your fair share of challenges. Remember, your child is bright and capable! They just need a bit of extra help.
With the right activities, the right curriculum, and the right outside help when needed, your child can thrive.
Are you looking for help with homeschooling your child who is struggling with reading, writing, or math skills? At Read Learning Center, we offer academic tutoring sessions that are great for homeschooled children. Contact us to learn more about our programs today.