As long-established experts in providing specialist dyslexia tutoring to children and young adults, both online and face-to-face, we are well-placed to understand the vital role that a supportive and caring environment has on educational and overall development.
In the unprecedented times we currently find ourselves in due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this environment has now become your home.
It’s likely you will have many worries, questions and concerns about how to best meet the needs of your child, and whether you’ll need professional support from a specialist tutor such as ones we provide for your child’s education. Finding the right support for your child’s education can be confusing, but we’re here to provide some tips, advice and expert guidance.
3 reasons why homeschooling makes sense if your child has dyslexia
As a parent of a child with dyslexia, you’ll already understand how living with this learning challenge can have a significant impact on your child’s overall well-being.
Children and young adults with dyslexia often compare themselves to their peers which may trigger anxiety and a lack of confidence.
Without support, the impact of dyslexia can be detrimental, long-lasting and may extend into the workplace and other aspects of his or her everyday life. Most parents simply want to find the best way to support their child with dyslexia at home. Just as each person is unique, so is everyone’s experience of dyslexia.
Reading and writing can seem like a chore for children with dyslexia, but these skills are so highly regarded and widespread in our society, that they are key milestones to cross in the development of your child’s education and social skills.
For many parents who are trying to teach their child, the mental barrier your child may have about reading and writing often turns into frustration and a sense of helplessness. Once you add homework into the mix, it becomes even more of a battle between child and parent.
A student with dyslexia needs direct, systematic, highly-personalised and tailored instruction with a specialist dyslexia teacher, which is something that a traditional school environment can usually not provide.
Here are a few advantages that homeschooling with the help of an expert specialist tutor can have on your child:
1. Hiring a specialist helps keep roles simple in your child’s eyes
One challenge you may face as a parent who needs or wants to home-school your child with dyslexia is that your child may start to see and react to you differently because you’re adopting the role of a teacher. Some children may feel exposed and may struggle with the idea of revealing their difficulties to you.
Many parents of children with dyslexia come to us for help, saying: “I just want to be the best parent I can be – I’m not a specialist teacher and I don’t have the skills and tools to support my child.”
That’s where our specialist dyslexia tutors can really make all the difference to your child’s reading and writing development and overall confidence in their abilities.
2. Your child will receive a professionally structured tailored programme
Our dyslexia tutors will create and follow a comprehensive personalised educational programme which includes recognised teaching methods that will be tailored to your own child’s preference for learning. This means if you’re struggling to help your child to develop their reading and writing skills through home-schooling, we can put him or her back on the right track if what you’ve been teaching has left him or her a bit lost.
As Linda, one of our qualified dyslexia tutors with over 30 years’ experience explains:
“Children with a diagnosis of dyslexia, while they have in common a significant difficulty with reading and writing that is not in line with their cognitive ability, do not all learn in the same way, so approaches used are not always the same.”
Making learning enjoyable is essential, Linda adds. “My approach to teaching a child with dyslexia is to make reading and writing a pleasant experience, so that they are motivated to persevere to overcome their barriers with written words.”
3. We design lessons around your child’s pace, not the other way around
One major advantage home-schooling has for any child compared to a traditional school setting – and especially for a child with a SEN such as dyslexia – is that he or she can set the learning pace rather than struggle to fit into a rigid ‘one size fits all’ teaching schedule.
Children with dyslexia may require support in a range of different ways and this is where a specialist dyslexia tutor can help by working with you as parent to develop the right plan for your child.
Home-learning tips for parents of a child with dyslexia
As a parent, it is important to reinforce your child’s learning of phonics using activities that are consistent with those used by the specialist tutor and/or school. Collaboration is key!
Trying something different might be confusing and counterproductive.
Try these ideas to help make reading and spelling enjoyable, meaningful and successful for your child!
Ideas to help any child struggling with literacy:
- Multi-sensory methods: For example writing with fingers in sand, shaving foam, in condensation on windows or mirrors, on sandpaper, or making huge letter shapes in the air, in snow, tracing letters on peers’ backs, repeating the letter sounds while making their shapes.
- Read together: Stories and books, as opposed to individual words or contrived sentences. Even if you, the parent, are doing most of the reading and your child is just contributing by reading the occasional word, they are enjoying the experience of reading, and getting meaning from written words.
- When your child is reading to you, try not to correct their mistakes: If what they have read does not make sense, give feedback that encourages your child to monitor themselves and self-correct, saying: “Do you think that’s right?”, “Does that make sense?”
- Encourage your child: Make it clear it’s fine to ask you if they don’t know a word, rather than jumping in to prompt.
- Allow your child time to work out a word: Don’t be too quick to prompt.
- Try writing simple instructions for your child to follow: For example, a treasure hunt or a cooking recipe. This encourages children to judge for themselves whether they have read the instructions correctly. Have them write instructions for someone else to follow.
Ideas to try if your child is at the very early stages of literacy:
- When reading a story: Have your child find all the examples of a target letter in a page, or paragraph (preferably have them colour/highlight that letter.) Then read through the whole page, stopping at each identified word, and emphasising the target letter sound as you read it.
- Play multi-sensory games: Practise recognising letters and their sounds, or simple high-frequency sight words. Games that involve jumping around are often the most effective, as well as the most fun.
Ideas for older children and those with some literacy skills
- Don’t be too concerned about reading accuracy: If mistakes don’t change the meaning of the sentence, pointing out minor errors often leads to more errors being made.
- When your child comes across an unfamiliar word, it is not always necessary to sound out every letter. If they use context cues, they can often work out what even a multisyllabic word says from the first three or four letters, by thinking what would make sense in that sentence, e.g. “Mum was ill, so she went to the hosp……”
- Reverse roles: The parent can read to the child but deliberately making mistakes for them to correct you (mistakes should be fairly obvious, though.)
- With written work (where there are spelling mistakes): Give credit for the parts of the word that are spelt correctly: Do this, even if it’s just the initial letter. It may be that just a little part of the word is misspelt. Aim to try to boost confidence.
Do you still need some specialist help to teach your child with dyslexia? Our experienced and specialist SEN tutors are here to help you with online tuition or face-to-face tutoring near you, at a time that works around your schedule.