Homeschooling with Dyslexia: Is it Better for A Child?

mom and child homeschooling with dyslexiaParents who see their dyslexic child struggle with traditional schooling often wonder: Might homeschooling be better for my child?  

Dyslexia does not fit neatly into a boxthis cause, this manifestation, this treatmentbut instead is on a continuum. Some students with dyslexia have mainly spelling and writing difficulties while others struggle to read even single-syllable words. Some dyslexic students, including those with apparently mild symptoms, may suffer from extreme stress and anxiety related to reading and writing

Because of this variability, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for dyslexia. In this post, we will provide some practical, research-based guidance for parents who may be wondering if homeschooling is the best option for their child.

A New Time for Homeschooling

Students with dyslexia differ widely. At the same time, homeschooling differs widely from home to home. For example, some homeschoolers use a structured, academic curriculum. Some attend a full-time online school. Others are part of the unschooling movement in which life is the curriculum and there are no formal lessons.

Homeschooling is definitely growing. It is more often an option today, as more than half of American adults work from home, at least part time. Encouraged by the necessity of isolation during the early days of Covid-19, parents have become more resourceful and more willing to take on the responsibility of home-based education. In addition, many of the instructional barriers that once discouraged parents from homeschooling are lower in new, sophisticated, online material.

Is Homeschooling Right for Your Family?

But before jumping onto the homeschooling bandwagon, it makes sense to evaluate the costs and critical elements of schooling options that are available and possible for you and your child. The chart below is designed to help you compare schooling options and spot the most promising ones.

As you complete the chart, bear in mind these important considerations:

  • Hours per day – Successful homeschooling (even unschooling!) requires adult guidance and supervision. A homeschool parent needs schedule flexibility and availability but also the interest and patience to provide consistent guidance and supervision on a daily basis. 
  • Curriculum – All students benefit from challenging, knowledge-based curricula in subject areas such as social studies and math. All students, and especially those with dyslexia, need a structured literacy curriculum. They may benefit from using technology, such as audiobooks, to access their subject matter curricula. 
  • Costs – Costs may include:
    • Tuition or fees
    • Curricular materials or subscriptions
    • Technology
    • Extracurricular activities
    • Transportation
    • Uniforms or other clothing
    • Special testing (e.g., some states require annual testing for homeschoolers)
    • Lost income
  • Requirements – Some private schools have admissions requirements, and public and public-charter schools often have residency requirements. Some states have homeschool requirements. See Homeschool Laws by State.
  • Pros & Cons for the child – Think about the setting(s) in which your child is most attentive and engaged. Some students learn best in group situations, with peer engagement. Others learn best in one-on-one discussions with an adult or when using interactive media. Knowing what helps your child pay attention and stay engaged is important because attention and active engagement are two of the four “pillars” of  learning.

homeschooling with dyslexia chart

Summarizing their 2021 multi-day, virtual conference on The Post-Pandemic Future of Homeschooling, the Harvard Kennedy School of Education leaders concluded, “The success of homeschooling seems to depend largely on the individual child and parents.”  

Even if you decide that homeschooling is not the best option for your family at the present, there are plenty of things you can do to help your struggling reader at home

Lexercise is Here to Help when Homeschooling a Dyslexic Child

To learn more about dyslexia, homeschooling, and the latest resources to support you and your child, sign up for the Lexercise blog below. If you suspect that your child may be a struggling reader or have a learning disability, visit the Lexercise testing page and take the first step toward helping your child become a skilled and confident reader and writer.

2 Responses to Homeschooling with Dyslexia: Is it Better for A Child?

  • henni piscitello commented

    I intend to take my child out of public school and homeschool her. Lily receives special education services but is regressing. She begs me to take her out of school and I believe it is time to do just that.

    I am dually certified in regular and special education in NYS.

    Regarding homeschooling, I want to make sure that I am doing everything correctly. Obviously reading and writing is not the only thing that needs to be taught. I do need information and some guidance.

    • Andrea Lacotte commented

      Henni, this is such a good point: “…reading and writing is not the only thing that needs to be taught.” An early emphasis on teaching reading and writing is important because written communication skills are underpinnings for gaining knowledge and the mastery of other academic skills, such as mathematics.

      For more about that see this article and especially the section, Two-Sided Reading Instruction and Knowledge-Rich Curricula: What Works and What Doesn’t.

      For specific guidance, we suggest taking an advantage of a free 15-minute consultation with a Lexercise therapist. You can schedule a call here. For state-specific homeschooling information, you can head over to HSLDA’s page on Homeschooling laws by state.

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Sandie Barrie Blackley, MA/CCC

MA/CCC - Cofounder and CKO

Sandie is a speech-language pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice sector. She is Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at University of North Carolina Greensboro, and founder/owner of the Language & Learning Clinic, PLLC, a private practice in Elkin, NC, and Greensboro, NC, specializing in communication disorders, including disorders of reading and written language.