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4 Easy Things A Parent Can Do To Help A Child With Dyslexia

4 Easy Things A Parent Can Do To Help A Child With Dyslexia

As a teacher, tutor, and parent of a child who struggles with Dyslexia, I have found there are some simple things that parents can do to help their child. It doesn’t really matter if your child has been diagnosed with Dyslexia or if they simply struggle with those tendencies, these are things that you can do right now to help your child.

I must admit, I found these things out on my own. When my own daughter began to show struggles with writing, I had no one to tell me that these are the things I should do. There was really not a lot of help out there, and I had to do some research. My goal is to help other parents, and teachers, to know what to do in order to really help these kiddos out.

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1. Reteach how to correctly write letters and numbers.

I discovered this while tutoring some fourth-grade students who struggled with classic Dyslexia. They tended to write their letters and numbers upside down. For example, instead of writing an “l” from top to bottom, they wrote it from bottom to top. They would draw an “o” from the bottom and counterclockwise. Normally, if you learned how to print, you learned to write an “o” from the 12 o’clock position and clockwise.

Students with Dyslexia really need this corrected. You can easily find and print out handwriting practice sheets online. As for homework, you are going to have to sit and watch how they write each and every letter and number, but it is worth taking time to do it—I promise!

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2. Have a “cheat sheet” of common letters and numbers that your child writes backwards.

This is great for the teacher to put on their desk as well. My daughter’s teacher had a little card on her desk with the letters she was writing backwards. This helped her to slow down and copy that letter until her brain learned to write it correctly. This helped right away at home as well. We also had a number chart for her to use when doing her homework. Numbers are often written backwards as well, so don’t overlook them.

3. Teach your child how to write in D’Nealian or cursive as early as possible.

I cannot stress this enough: teach your child how to write in D’Nealian as soon as possible. Students who write in cursive, or a form of simplified cursive, do not show Dyslexic tendencies as much. Why? Because a cursive “b” and “d” cannot be confused since the formation is totally different, unlike print where they are mirror images of one another. The same goes for “p” and “q.” In print, they are mirror images, but not so in cursive. Again, you can print practice sheets you find online for free.

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4. Do Brain Gym exercises with your child.

Yes, exercise helps—believe it or not! People that have Dyslexia have trouble crossing the middle of their body, and it has to do with the right and left sides of their brain. Ways to combat this include practice skipping, touching opposite elbows to the opposite knee, or touching opposite foot and hands. I know this sounds strange, but believe me it works! My previous elementary campus found this so helpful that all third-grade teachers would stop class and do Brain Gym in the classroom before reading and writing activities. It helped the students with Dyslexia, and the other students as well.

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are simple things you can do today to help your child with their struggles with Dyslexia or similar symptoms. Early intervention is the key! And, of course, if you feel that your child may have Dyslexia, do get them tested through your school or doctor.

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Featured photo credit: Denise Krebs via Flickr via flickr.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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