Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia: Our Story
(This is the first time I have told this story… to anyone.) When we first started our journey homeschooling, I had so many ideas of how everything was going to work. My kids would be perfect. They would learn so much, and learn it quickly too. I had no clue that there may be unexpected road bumps along the way. I never suspected that I was homeschooling a child with dyslexia.
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The Reading Struggle
It took a lot of extra time teaching him the alphabet and letter sounds. I chalked it up as him being an overactive little boy… which he was.
After he finally mastered his letters and letter sounds, we began teaching our son how to read using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He would get so overwhelmed from all the words on the page. He would sit there and cry throughout these short little lessons. (For anyone who has ever used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons you know that the lessons are very short!) So we began to cover up the lesson with a sheet of paper, exposing only what he needed to see. This helped us immensely! Finally, he was reading!
The Reading Success Story
His little sister began to show interest in reading, so we started her in the same lessons. In no time, she was reading at a higher level than my son. It took my son a full 3 school years to be reading at the same level as his younger sister. This was really disappointing for him. It was a struggle for sure. He didn’t understand why his younger sister could read so much better than he could, and his father and I didn’t understand it either. He would get so embarrassed when reading in front of people. He would stumble over his words, and his reading was very choppy.
We waited and waited for him to grow out of his “overactive” stage and to “mature a bit.” (We were sure this was the problem.) But, as he started calming down, and maturing, he was still having difficulties with reading. Yes, his reading had progressed a lot, but he was still having issues with reading comprehension. He would read, but never fully understand what he was reading. I worked hard with him on reading comprehension. I ordered extra workbooks, and scoured Pinterest for any ideas that would help. Still, there was little progress.
Finally, in 4th grade, he has started to show improvement in his reading comprehension. He has started retaining so much more information from the books he reads! And his reading, is SO much smoother!! We are getting there. The key: Slow and steady wins the race!
The Spelling Struggle
Spelling has been probably our worst issue thus far. We have been through COUNTLESS curriculums. The only one I have noticed any progress with was All About Spelling Level 1. (We are making the switch back!) Traditional list programs were a huge flop. I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a struggle it was. We tried Spelling You See last year. My son liked it, but it was tiring for him after a while because of all of the writing. (another struggle for him)
I began to really notice my son’s struggle with spelling as words began to get longer and harder phonics rules were applied. (around late 2nd grade, early 3rd grade) We are still struggling in the 4th grade to learn words that are considered “simple” for his age group/grade. Bird would become brid. About would become ubot or ubowt. Many tears have been shed over spelling in our home. Not just by my son, but by me as well.
The Writing Struggle
Writing…oh writing. From day one handwriting was my son’s least favorite thing to do. He did not want to do it…. ever. It was torture for him to sit there and write or trace his letters. After realizing my son needed hands-on instruction, I ordered Handwriting Without Tears.
His handwriting improved so much using this program! It was crazy.
As we started to move on to writing sentences, he would cry about it. He hated it so much. At this point I decided that I would let him write as much as he could on his own, then do the writing for him. I had to do most of his writing during Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade.
As we entered the 3rd grade year, he began to write more on his own. A few sentences at a time. During 4th grade, he was able to write about 4 sentences at the most. So we are seeing progress.
It wasn’t until about the 3rd grade that we suspected Dyslexia. We began to read all we could about it. Honestly, I was shocked to see that everything I read was like they were talking about my son. I was so emotional as I read through the articles, and thought about how bad I wished I had known sooner. I know most people don’t even start noticing signs for dyslexia until about age 7 because these things are all “normal” for younger children. But as a mother, I was broken. I wanted to do so much more for him. If I could’ve known sooner, I could’ve been more proactive in his learning. I could’ve avoided all those tears shed by my son over these tasks that I thought should be “simple” for him.
What Have We Learned While Homeschooling a Child With Dyslexia??
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
This is something I need to remember every single day. In those times that I feel frustrated because my son’s “just not getting it.” I have to take a step back and remember that he needs that extra time. He needs one on one time from me, and plenty of enriching hands-on activities and visuals. This makes me so grateful for homeschooling!! We may not get there tomorrow, but we WILL reach our destination!
I’d love to hear your story!
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