Homeschooling is a terrific option for many children with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia. At first, you may think that it is too much to tackle. However, you have time on your side when you homeschool! Children with dyslexia and dysgraphia typically need to have information presented in multiple ways. Children with dyslexia also do much better when information is presented either in a small group or one on one. Teachers do not have the time or the resources to do these two things even when they really want to.
My son worked with a tutor for one full year two times a week while in the third grade. After that year, I realized that I could work with him as well. There are a ton of programs out there for children with dyslexia. I have tried many and the following is what we have now found that works for us.
Spelling: We started with All About Spelling and went through levels 1-4. This program taught/reinforced the spelling rules. The down side for us was that the information did not carry over into other writing activities. Well, it is wonderful to get a 100% on your spelling test but if you can not spell the word in your journal or in an email, then you didn’t get it. Thus, I moved to another spelling program called Apples and Pears. This is an open and go curriculum. We started with the first book and are moving through the second book. The program appears to have no rhyme or reason initially but as the teacher, you soon realize that the words appear again and the patterns are progressed. The best part is that the spelling carried over! He uses the proper spelling throughout his writing. Note-he still has a LONG way to go, but there is noted progress.
Presently, we are using Phonetic Zoo for independent spelling practice and Logic of English for group work. Phonetic reinforces the rules. The kids listen to the CD which dictates their words to them. They write the words down. They continue with the same list until they get all of the words correct on two occasions. Logic of English begins with the original 45 sounds in the English language and then builds on the morphemes. I enjoy this program because I can use it with multiple skill levels. My youngest is on the lowest level which teaches basic spelling and reading. My older two are using the highest level which teaches Latin roots along with the spelling rules and grammar rules. They enjoy the fact they all can play a game together using the same materials.
Reading fluency and comprehension: For reading fluency, we used Dancing Bears. He began with the fast track AB book which went through the sounds fairly quickly. Due to the extensive tutoring, he did well with this. If you have a reader who is still struggling with the initial sounds, then I highly recommend you begin with book A (we are doing this with our youngest and it is working well). Again, I find the carry over phenomenal. Reading fluency in other book continues to improve. Reading aloud is still a struggle and most books that my son can read aloud are not necessarily what he wants to read. This is why we use Learning Ally! Learning Ally is an online program for people who are blind and/or have a reading disability. Learning Ally has real people record books as they read them aloud. Note that I added real people. The kindle and apple programs can read aloud but the voice is automated and lacks inflection. Real people make the stories come alive, use the proper pausing, and use the proper inflection. Learning Ally allows Sims to read books that are at his comprehension level, which is much higher than his fluency level.
Writing: I do not use a specific curriculum for writing. I have him journal and write nature studies that I do not edit. These are for him just to simply practice writing. Then when he does have a writing assignment, we do several things. Some times he will make notes and then dictate the paragraph or paper to me to write. Other times, he makes his notes, forms an outline, and then writes on wide ruled paper and skipping a line. We use form drawings (a Waldorf activity) and metal insets (a Montessori activity) to work on sizing, fluid motion, pressure and letter formation. I use the IEW program as my teaching method for how to write a paper. We do not do the program, but it is my main go to for lessons on note taking and paper writing. (I also recommend using gel pens or mechanical pencils.)
Math: Luckily for Sims, math comes easy. He gets it and he understands how to apply it. We used Teaching Textbooks in the past. Now we are using Math-U-See. All three of my kids enjoy it. Now the difficult part isn’t doing the calculations. It is the writing! In the years past, he has used two methods to keep the numbers in line. One trick is to use large graph paper (meaning the squares are large). This is tough to find, but when I do, I stock up! The other trick we us is to turn a wide ruled notebook sideways. This allows you to place the numbers in the same column.
Note taking/Vocabulary: We use two methods for note taking and vocabulary. One method is using notecards. Some people love notecards. Others do not. They are simple. He can put a picture on one side and a word on the other or a definition. There are many options for using notecards. The second method is to draw a T on a sheet of lined paper with the top of the T going across the top of the page and the perpendicular line about three inches from the left hand side of the page. Then either dates or vocabulary words or a main topic can go in the left column. On the right, corresponding definitions, information or notes are written. Adding color is a terrific option. Highlighters or using different colored pens are options.
We also do a lot outside. Thus, we take our learning everywhere. We listen to audiobooks in the car. We do tons of nature study, visit museums, visit historical sites and learn from the world. As I stated in an earlier post, we know that he has dyslexia and dysgraphia but it no longer seems to be a learning disability while he is learning at home. Thus, the stress is gone!