You Can Homeschool Your {Dyslexic} Child Successfully

I have written in the past about our Dyslexia Journey and How to Help the Dyslexic Child Learn.  Since I have – to this point – only taught dyslexic kids to read, I had no idea what  life was like on the other side.  Recently, I had the eye-opening experience of my 7-year old daughter mastering reading on her own with just basic phonic instruction and laying a firm foundation to encourage reading;  like giving her access to a lot of good books, taking plenty of time to read a loud and limiting computer and TV time.  You know… the way most kids learn to read.

Although I have happy memories of learning to love to read at an early age, I had forgotten those days, the memories having long ago been replaced by those of teaching bright, innovative, adventurous but struggling readers – year after year after year.

If you are new here to Abundant Life Blog, I’ll tell you a bit about who I am.  I have 8 kids – ages {nearly} 21 to 2-years old, and have homeschooled all of them from the beginning to the end {except for a short time with one child playing football at the local Christian highschool}.  All of them, except for my 7-year old, have Dyslexia.

Doesn’t really seem fair does it?  God has great and mysterious plans for this left-brained, linear, just-tell-me-how-many-pages-to-fill-out, mama!

I say this only to let you know that I have learned a thing or two about homeschooling with dyslexia.  Not only is it possible, in my humble opinion, it is the best option if it is within your power to do so.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, “dyslexic students need direct, systematic and individual instruction in reading and spelling and traditional schools do not always provide adequate levels of service“.

Benefits to Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia

  • Allows for the necessary individualized instruction in all subject areas:  reading, spelling, composition and comprehension.
  • Allows for kids to focus on areas of interest and for lessons to be planned around those interests.
  • Allows for freedom from being measured against peers, day in and day out, with no learning difficulties.
  • Allows for your child to work at their own pace using resources that work best with thier individual strengths.
  • Homeschooling necessarily avoids the rigid scheduling and standardized testing {and the practice of teaching to the test} that is required in the public schools.

How to Get Started Homeschooling

  • Find out the laws in your individual state.  Home School Legal Defense is a good place to start.
  • When planning your instruction, research methods and resources suited toward your child’s learning style.
  • Consider getting outside help beginning with testing from an educational psychologist and possibly tutroing from a trained educational therapist who will work alongside you as you homeschool.
  • Get plugged in to a good homeschool support group (resources available on the Homeschool Legal Defense web site).  Find other families who are teaching kids who learn differently who can support you and guide you along the way.

Two Things You Should Know

  • There is no magic cure for dyslexia.  A dyslexic child will become a dyslexic adult.  However, all children {and adults} can learn to read and write.  Teaching to your child’s strengths and teaching compensation techniques will go a long way to providing the level of literacy needed to become a successful adult.
  • There will be days of frustration when you feel that nothing is ‘working’ and want to give up.  Rome was not conquered in a day!  Press on and you will see, not only the advantages to homeschooling your dyslexic child, but the success.

Our Experience

You can read more about our journey with dyslexia here.  We have graduated 2 of our kids from highschool so far.  It was a steep learning curve for us having no knowledge of dyslexia before we started homeschooling.  There were a lot of tears and frustrations along the way.

This is part of the reason for this blog – to help others who are on the same path but maybe not so far along.  We made a lot of mistakes but, in the end, we were able to teach to their strengths, give them lots of real life experience and God, in His infinite wisdom, wove that all together in their lives.  Both of our oldest children hold world records in sailing and have inspired people of all ages around the world to live their dreams.  One of them even wrote a book {with a little help}!  Read more about Zac and Abby on their web sites.

Are you homeschooling a dyslexic child?  Are you considering it?  What successes have you had?  What concerns do you have?

Related posts:

The Ultimate List of Dyslexia Resources

10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum

10 Little-known Advantages of Dyslexia

Beginning on Monday October 15 thru Friday October 26, 2012 I will be featuring a 10-Day Series on Homeschooling a child with Dyslexia.  Click on the image below to head over to those posts.  Subscribe by email to receive these and other blog posts via email.

Marianne Sunderland

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  1. I will be camping out at your place this week. I am a bit blurry eyed, as it’s past midnight here 🙂 But you have links and information and books I need to look into and learn from 🙂

    You are amazing! Truly amazing…. I am so glad to have found you.

  2. I’m adding you to my reader and watching this with interest. I have one very, very reluctant reader. I’m trying to discern if it’s just a matter of late blooming, or if there are actual learning struggles. Thanks for sharing!

    • It is important to figure it out as early as possible if it is dyslexia. I would pray and consider testing. Early intervention is key. Blessings to your family.

  3. What a great post! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have a free ebook that I wrote after homeschooling our own son with dyslexia. If you know of anyone who might benefit from it, please feel free to pass along the link:

  5. Wow, what an inspiration you are to me. I have three children and all of them have dyslexia. I thought nobody understood what I was going through. I’ve often wondered why God would give me, left brain linear thinker, three right brained kids. Although the challenge greater homeschooling dyslexic kids, so is the reward. : )

    • Hi Tracey. Well, we could talk, huh? 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment. I started blogging in many ways because I wanted to encourage other parents that homeschooling kids with dyslexia is doable and even the best option. There is a lot to understand and it can get overwhelming though. Glad you dropped by.

  6. Thank you for encouraging words. I have a 10 yr old son who was just diagnosed officially with dyslexia. He reads at a 2nd grade level. I am overwhelmed with everything and feeling that his success starts with me as we homeschool also. I don’t really know where to start. I will be reading your blog and looking into more things. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. This is our 4th yr home schooling our son. He is 11 & has a horrible time with reading. He was in public school prek-1st (was held back & did 1st gr again) & they never did anything to help him. We even paid for a tutor the summer after kindergarten & in between his 2 stents in 1st grade, but to no avail. I decided after lots of prayerful consideration to start home schooling. We have made some progress since then, but I would say he reads on a 2nd grade level. He HATES reading too. I have had him tested twice. Both say Learning disability in reading but will not say dyslexia or not, said it doesn’t matter. I beg to differ with them. However, after reading a couple of books on dyslexia I am sure that is what our son has. He is so frustrated & embarrassed about it when at church in class, etc with peers…even playing games….he just struggles & this is now overflowing into other areas as well. I just want to help him & do what I can to help him overcome this hurdle. Any advice would be wonderful!

    Veronica in Indiana

  8. Renée Lehman says:

    Thank you for sharing! I am mom to 11 and number 5 has been struggling in school (we have homeschooled them all) and I am looking for help b/c this is my first experience with dyslexia. Looking forward to learning from your experience. Thank you!

    • Marianne Sunderland says:

      Hi Renee! I hope my blog can help. The best thing that you can do is to get informed. Knowing what dyslexia is and how dyslexic kids learn best will help you as you teach them everything, not just reading. Feel free to drop in with questions anytime! Blessings! Marianne

  9. sara woody says:

    I am new to homeschooling, and new to kids above 3 lol. Recently remarried after an abusive marriage and picked up two stepsons. They were way behind in learning. The now 10 year old was held back in first and was going to be in second too. Our kindergartener got out of prek with no clue what his shapes, numbers, or letters were. I had already planned to homeschool mine later and after many conversations we decided I would homeschool them. Their birth mother rarely sees them sadly but because of that they bonded to me quickly and asked to call me mom and if i could be their mom forever. Very heartbreaking and heart warming. Needless to say i have found out after 5 months that what i thought was laziness and public school failure is probably dyslexia. Getting tested soon. Been at my wits end over it. We only do math, english, and spelling and that takes 5-9 hours a day! Its not hard, in fact rather slowed down. He can verbally understand a lot but once he reads direction or sentences on his own its like “where did that answer come from?” In english it will say find two nouns. He will rewrite the sentence and add two nouns or write what kind of sentence it is. Does this sound like dyslexia? Very hard time reading. Reading on a 1st/2nd grade level

  10. I’ve been devouring your blog posts on dyslexia! This has been so helpful for me in dealing with my struggling son. I do wonder though, as we go into our 3rd grade year, how do I set realistic goals for him? I’m still easily discouraged as I see other homeschool moms checking our chapter books for their kids from the library after 1-2 years of “reading” training and here we are finishing up our 4th year of phonics and chapter books would be a joke!!! What should my goals be and how do I figure that out?

    • Marianne Sunderland says:

      That is a really good question Ellie. The thing is that you really can’t push them where they aren’t ready to go. This IS the beauty of homeschooling a child with dyslexia. If your son was in school, he would be assigned to read those same chapter books and you both would be miserable. So, keep going slow and steady and don’t look at the families next to you. God made your son unique and for great purpose. He will read in time. 🙂

  11. I loved reading your article as sometimes we feel like we are the only ones in this world with a dyslexic child. I do however have one question, which is how did you tackle maths? My daughter is dyslexic and has struggled with math. I have spent loads of money on tutors and have yet to find one that can help her. If I choose to home school her are the homeschool materials designed for her needs or will I have to find a way to tap into her learning style?

  12. I’m so glad I found this. I knew in my heart that home school had to be the best thing for my daughter (a feeling from above I think). My husband and I have been discussing it for the past couple of years. She’s five now, so we’ve started really getting into the reading. Though, I’ve noticed she’s had some trouble in certain areas. I am dyslexic, my father was as well. We’ll be starting kindergarten/first this year. And I was worried that once I knew this that I may be holding her back by not sending her to traditional school where there are professionals who can help. This reassured me that we can do this and we can find the resources we need. Thank you.

    • Marianne Sunderland says:

      Andrea. I am so glad that you found me too! Unfortunately many schools are uneducated about dyslexia and how to teach students with dyslexia. Homeschooling them allows them time to learn at their own pace. Too many dyslexic kids leave school feeling demoralized by their experience. Please let me know how it is going and if you have any questions.

  13. Here’s hoping this site is still a going conern, right?
    I’m homeschooling three kids, one of whom, my older daughter, is dyslexic. She’s 8 and is still struggling at reading. Months like these, I feel like we haven’t made any real progress, and that she’ll never be a fluent reader, especially as my younger daughter, 5, is starting to take off with reading. I’m using a lite version of my older daughters reading curriculum and she’s doing so well, the contrast between the two is heartbreaking.
    I know she has progressed. A year and a half ago, she was reading at a Kindergarten level. Now, she tests at about a second grade level. Still, she sounds out every word she reads and reading is an arduous process for her. It’s good to find resources like this site. My daughter has never been formally diagnosed, but everything I’ve read and everyone I’ve talked to who has experience with LDs says dyslexia.

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