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.

4 Dyslexia Myths That Can Confuse Parents

As Lexercise therapists communicate with the families of children with dyslexia, they are continually impressed by the amount of research parents have done. Getting a dyslexia diagnosis for their child and then finding the right treatment for a student with learning differences is never simple. 

At the same time, Lexercise therapists express their surprise and concern at the prevailing myths and misunderstandings surrounding dyslexia. Thanks to these myths, some parents may even be persuaded that their child’s learning difficulties are not treatable.

Below is an infographic that gives you a quick overview of four of these dyslexia myths. Keep on reading for more information.

Here is more information on the four dyslexia myths that persist in spite of solid evidence:

MYTH #1: Dyslexia causes people to see words and letters backward. 

In 1925, Dr. Samuel Orton used the term strephosymbolia, literally reversed symbols, in explaining why some people have great trouble reading despite adequate intelligence. A decade later, Orton said that he thought the main problem was actually in “the process of synthesizing the word as a spoken unit from its component sounds.” (See What is Orton-Gillingham and How Does it Treat Dyslexia?

Since the 1970s, with modern neuroscience technologies, it has become clear that most dyslexics do not have difficulties with vision or visual perception. Instead, most people with dyslexia have difficulties with processing speech sounds. Still, the old idea that dyslexics see words and letters backward or reversed has persisted and become a popular myth. Some recent research suggests that a minority of struggling readers may have difficulty with some aspects of vision, such as visual spatial attention. In his book, Reading in the Brain: the New Science of How We Read, French neuroscientist Dr. Stanislas Dehaene sums up the current science: “…brain imaging supports the claim that the crux of the problem often lies at the interface between vision and speech….” For more information, see a related post by Dr. William O. Young, Five Ways Not to Treat Dyslexia.

MYTH #2: A student who is making good grades must not have dyslexia.

Good grades do not rule out dyslexia! We are going to address common concerns about grade level in an upcoming post, but meanwhile, see 5 Reasons Why Good Grades Don’t Rule Out Dyslexia.

 

MYTH #3: Dyslexia is a medical diagnosis that can only be used by a healthcare practitioner. 

Learning disorders, including dyslexia, have well-documented lifelong negative effects on health and wellbeing, especially when treatment is withheld or delayed. But a learning disorder like dyslexia is not considered a medical diagnosis, nor, in most cases, is the treatment for dyslexia covered by medical insurance.

Neither the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, 11th Edition (ICD-11) nor the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, has a specific classification code for dyslexia. Instead, both include reading disorders under a broader category of learning disorders

Physicians and other medical providers are typically not trained in how to evaluate learning disorders like dyslexia. The exception might be some developmental pediatricians, who have additional training in cognition and learning. The professionals who are trained to evaluate learning disorders more often include psychologists, special educators, and speech-language pathologists. See Who is Qualified to Make a Dyslexia Diagnosis?

 

MYTH #4: People with dyslexia will never read well, so it’s best to just give them accommodations and other ways to compensate.

With targeted, science-backed intervention, people with dyslexia can become highly proficient readers. In conjunction with appropriate intervention, accommodations and technologies can certainly play a role in reducing fatigue and improving academic performance (see The Limits of Reading Accommodations). It is the appropriate intervention–consistent, targeted therapy plus consistent daily practice–that turns struggling students into confident readers.

 

To find out more about the diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia, or to learn more about myth-busting dyslexia research, contact Lexercise today.

A Dyslexic Perspective : Video

Little Things (3)

I sat down at my computer and opened my emails as I always do, except today I saw something different. A parent had contacted me and shared a video their child had made explaining their dyslexic perspective. I opened up and was instantly moved by this artistic approach to something so difficult to explain. Dyslexics are often creative thinkers that excel in other aspects of their life. Nick Damanto is a great example of harnessing one’s skills despite the struggles they may face.

Having dyslexia can be an isolating and damaging experience but with the right intervention your child can become a enthusiastic reader, writer and speller just as Nick has. Early intervention is important. Screen your child for dyslexia for free with our 15 minute online assessment.