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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.

Sight Word Practice Tips for Parents

sight-words

Lots of the top 100 most frequently used words in English have at least one irregular spelling element.  These words are not only common words today but they are often words that have been around a long, long time. Words that are not perfectly phonetic (spelled the way they sound) are sometimes called “irregular” or “sight words”.  Even so, most irregular words also have some regular spelling patterns. While the irregular element(s) must be learned “by heart”,  the rest of the word can be sounded out as usual.

Ask your child to draw a heart around the letter(s) that make up the irregular spelling element.  said-sight-word

For example, in the word <said>, the <s> and the <d> can be sounded out but the <ai> vowel can not be. So, draw a heart around the <ai> and discuss that spelling element with your student. In the word <said> the “irregular” element is the vowel, and it sounds like a short <e>, but it is spelled <ai> !

To remember irregular spelling patterns it can help to create a mental image of the word. Use your mind’s whiteboard! Then connect that mental image to the word’s pronunciation and the printed word on the page.

Knowing a little about the word’s history can help, too. Many words that are phonetically irregular today are words that have been in English for centuries and that have changed over time.

history-998337_1280For example, the way we pronounce the vowel in the word <said> today is related to the way it was spelled before the year 900!  Back then this word was spelled with an <e>:  <seyen> or <seggen>. (I’m just saying…. the spelling of this word has changed over the centuries but the pronunciation of the vowel has not.)

Dictionary.com is a good source of information about word history. It has a section on the origin in every word entry. Here is the Dictionary.com entry for <said>.

If you notice your child is having difficulty reading or remembering sight words it may you can screen them for dyslexia in 10-15 minutes for free here. 

Emerson, a victorious word wizard

Emerson

As a 9-year-old homeschooled rising 4th-grade student, Emerson is a competent and confident speller and writer. He enjoys thinking about word parts, what they mean and how they are spelled.

That is quite a change. Last spring, before his 3rd-grade year, Emerson resisted anything having to do with writing words. His initial writing sample consisted of just three sentences and most of the words were misspelled.

After covering 24 Lexercise levels Emerson no longer resists writing; he embraces it. His writing is nearly ten times more accurate than it was last spring. He is a word analysis wizard who can identify word elements like base, suffix, and prefix, even with new and unfamiliar words.

I recently interviewed Emerson’s mom, Julie Barney, about their experience with Lexercise online therapy. Below is a video of our conversation and an outline.

 

Video Interview Outline

Time 0:00 – Introduction
Time 0:44 – Can you describe how and when you first became concerned about Emerson’s reading, writing and spelling skills?
Time 3:07 – Will you describe Emerson’s progress with Lexercise Online Treatment and how it has helped you as a homeschool mom?
Time 5:47 – You and Emerson had some office-based sessions before starting Lexercise Online Treatment. Can you describe how online treatment has worked compared to office-based treatment?

Thanks, Julie…and keep up the good work, Emerson!

If your child struggles with reading, writing, or spelling, please have a look at the Lexercise Online Dyslexia Testing and Treatment page. It could turn your child into a reader! If you have questions about the diagnosis or treatment of dyslexia, I would love to hear from you. Email me at Info@Lexercise.com or 1-919-747-4557.

Homeschooling and Dyslexia

chalkboardDoes your homeschooled child struggle with words?

When a homeschooled child struggles to read, write or spell, parents may work overtime to figure out why and find the right teaching tools for their child. In fact, such parents may not even have a name for their child’s problem or know where or how to find a trustworthy diagnosis. Some parents turn to their child’s pediatrician for answers; others look for support online, where both information and misinformation are abundant.

The most critical step in getting care for a struggling reader and/or writer is to get a professional evaluation that measures, describes, diagnoses the child’s problem, and outlines a program of intervention. Professionals who are qualified to test for and diagnose dyslexia include specially trained psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and clinical educators.

Language-processing differences, such as dyslexia, are by far the most common type of learning disability (LD), accounting for more than 80% of LD children. According to the International Dyslexia Association, in any group of 20 students, there will be three to four with symptoms of dyslexia. People with dyslexia are typically smart but struggle with slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, poor writing, and/or mixing up words.

Thanks to insights from recent research, dyslexia can now be diagnosed, even in young children, with far more focused, efficient, and less expensive methods than in the past. In addition, these “best practice” methods for evaluating and treating struggling readers and writers are a perfect match for the emerging technologies in telerehabilitation—direct delivery of services using computer-based telecommunication (online) devices.

This means that a child can now get a home-centered, online, comprehensive evaluation and then if warranted, customized online face-to-face therapy with a skilled clinician, as well as motivating daily practice sessions to help the child progress more quickly and shorten the total time needed to advance to grade-level reading.

The clinical educators at Lexercise have the knowledge, skills, and experience to evaluate and treat language-processing problems, online via webcam, so you can take advantage of our program anywhere with internet access. Based on a foundation of tested and validated Orton-Gillingham principles, Lexercise is individualized care for children who struggle to read, write or spell – no matter where they happen to live.

If your child has difficulty reading, writing, or spelling, Lexercise can help. Take a look at our Online Dyslexia Testing and Treatment page or contact us directly at Info@Lexercise.com or 1-919-747-4557.