I have heard, through the grape-vine, of several people recently pulling their kiddos from public schools for wanting to homeschool. Whatever their reasons for pulling them mid-year, it got me thinking about how many questions those Moms would have. What if their kiddo has Dyslexia? I’m guessing their questions would double. It can be hard to get a grip on how to homeschool, even if done well planned out starting at the beginning of the school year. Pulling them mid-year could leave any Momma feeling rushed and maybe even panicked, wanting to get things right. That is where I step in. I want to offer you some easy, workable, solutions for helping you homeschool your Dyslexic kiddo. Yes, you CAN do this and your child CAN thrive at home!
Dyslexia Accommodations that Work
- Allow your child to dictate their “writing” to you. They may be struggling with reading, spelling and writing, but that does not mean that their creativity has to be put on hold. Give your child a topic to think about and “write” about. After brainstorming with them, have them speak to you what they would have written down if they didn’t struggle with reading and writing. As they speak, you write down what they are saying. Not only in this way are they still using their creative side, but they are seeing story/essay writing as not so bad. Another bonus is since your kiddo has already told you and knows exactly what is in the story/essay when you both re-read it together they are going to start seeing and hopefully over time recognizing more words.
- When it comes to pretty much every subject, don’t be afraid to ditch those worksheets and instead enjoy some good old-fashioned conversation. You can use the worksheets as a guide to their conversation and if you really want to keep records you can jot down a bit of what your kiddo says to answer the questions on the worksheet yourself, noting when you talked through them.
- When you do have your kiddo reading or writing, allow for extra time. Give them the time they need to comfortably complete the assignment.
- Break up assignments into small manageable chunks. Just like the last point of giving your kids the time they need, don’t overwhelm them with an assignment that they just can not complete in a day. If a worksheet or assignment is pretty long have them only work on a few of the problems that day. Say something like, “Today I need you to only complete the numbers that are highlighted yellow.” or “Today you only need to complete the first 4 problems.” or if possible you can cut the worksheets into sections so they only are able to see the work you have for them to complete that day. By doing this you allow them to succeed in accomplishing a hard task. They feel proud to have completed their work and are more willing to go at it again the next day, without frustration.
- With any assignment, give the directions orally, even if you think they can fully read them. Anyone with Dyslexia that has successfully learned to read can tell you that even though we can read, that does not mean we learn best by reading. By reading the directions to them you are taking the pressure off your kids. When they read anything, they have to struggle to read all the words, but also have to try in the midst of all that to comprehend what they are reading. It is draining. By reading them the directions that pressure is off and makes it that much easier for you as the teacher to know they understand what is required of them. After reading them the directions they can be on their way to completing the assignment with success in mind.
- Find and use videos. Typically Dyslexic kids tend to be more creative in nature. They thrive with visual materials. Anything you can find to help supplement their learning using videos, pictures, posters, online games, hands on creative activities, etc. will only help your child gain confidence that they ARE smart. An easy source to check out first is YouTube. You will be surprised at how much you can find to help your child in just this one place alone.
- Have them enjoy LOTS of audiobooks. Even though they may be struggling to read, or are reading just at a slower pace that is okay, they can still learn to enjoy books. Set aside time each day for listening to audiobooks. Just like in public school where the kids are required to have 20 minutes of silent reading each day, make listening to audiobooks their silent reading time. There are soooo many books now that are also available as audio.
- Speaking of audiobooks, with your older kids, when it comes to literature studies give your child an audiobook for whatever literature study they are working on. Sure they can follow along in the hardcopy of the book if they like but just having someone else read the book to them allows them to fully absorb the content of the story/book without having to focus on the reading. When it comes time for that chapter’s assignments they are going to be more fully able to give their best since they have not tired out from trying so hard just reading the material.
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Not sure where to get Audiobooks or worried about the price being too high?
- Check out Librivox for some FREE audiobooks.
- Your local library is also a great source for borrowing audiobooks. Some even have online access to download audiobooks to a device for a normal rental period of 2 weeks. So if you are not sure, check with your librarian, you just might be surprised what they do offer.
- If you have younger kids, another option is the app Epic! This computer and app subscription gives your child unlimited access to thousands of books to view and read at their own pace. The plus with this app that makes it perfect for Dyslexic kiddos is that a LOT of the books have built-in audio. So not only are your kids hearing the stories but they are also enjoying looking at the pictures and following along with the words of the story. As a homeschooler you can see everything your child has “read” including how long they were reading for. Being a homeschooler has it’s perks at times. This is one of them. You get the option to try out this amazing resource for 2 weeks FREE. No credit card required! If you decide to continue with the service you get a FREE month when you add your credit card info, and after that it is only $4.99/month. You can get the price down even cheaper if you buy either 6 or 12 months at a time. Epic! for Homeschoolers is totally worth checking out.
- Another option is Audible. Yes they are a bit on the pricey side but they offer a HUGE variety of audiobooks, especially for your teens. You can get a subscription to get a discount on titles. Another option instead of paying for the subscription that seems to sometimes help me get the audios cheaper is to actually buy the paperback book on Amazon. When you buy the book, Amazon gives a discount on also buying the audiobook for the same title, if one has been made. Usually at less than $4.
Ready to homeschool but still need more ideas for working with your Dyslexic Kid?
Besides all these accommodations I have mentioned there are many programs and helps out there that work great with a Dyslexic kiddo. I wrote another post on what my Top 5 Resources for Homeschooling Your Dyslexic Child are. I hope you are able to take the time to check it out. I know for me I wish I had known about these resources when I was just starting out with my kids. Maybe things would have gone easier for us. You on the other hand, now have the knowledge I wish I had.
With all this I do not want to overwhelm you. I hope that you are able to see just how easy it is to adapt a typical education to help your Dyslexic kiddo succeed. Homeschooling is amazing and by working with your child’s strengths you will be able to see them flourish. So go for it, pull your kiddo mid-year and enjoy this journey of homeschooling. You CAN do this!