Overcoming Dyslexia through Homeschooling was Easier Than We Expected!
My name is Sandy, and I’m the owner of Learning Abled Kids and the Learning Abled Kids’ Support Group. I’m sharing our story of overcoming dyslexia through homeschooling as an encouragement for you.
I’m sharing the stories of my boys separately because each of their stories is different.. Each story may speak to a different mom–maybe this story of overcoming dyslexia will encourage you. 😉
Question: Have you homeschooled from the beginning?
Sandy: “No, we actually started out sending our son to public school and had no intention of homeschooling.”
Question: What made you decide to homeschool?
Sandy: “When we sent our oldest to school, he was a happy, talkative, smart little guy who loved sharing all kinds of information he learned from various sources. We called him our ‘information sponge’ because he soaked up knowledge at every opportunity.
Unfortunately, when my son began public school, things went downhill fast and got worse from there.
“By October of his kindergarten year, he came home from school one day and asked me, ‘Why doesn’t my brain work right?’ He was so smart and so in tune to the world around him that he noticed he wasn’t like the other kids.
My son struggled immensely with reading and writing skills. Other kids made fun of of our son, called him names, bullied him, and he was becoming more depressed as time went along.
By the end of fourth grade, my son wouldn’t look people in the eye, he’d hang his head, hardly speak, and I felt like we needed to rescue him or watch his life destruct right in front of us. We were warned by our neuropsychologist that depressed, bullied kids often turn to “self-medication” (drugs), drop out of school, or become suicidal.
Basically we decided to homeschool to save our son from a tragic outcome. He was clearly smart and had so much to offer the world, but his spirit was being destroyed at public school.
Question: Since you started out in public school, what issues and problems did you face with your children in school?
Sandy: “Going into second grade, our son still couldn’t read. We got an independent evaluation, found out he had severe dyslexia along with a slow processing speed, working memory problems, and inattentive ADHD that was caused by his other learning issues. We presented the neuropsychologist’s report to the school expecting they’d provide the needed reading services for overcoming dyslexia, but the school wouldn’t give our son help because they said, ‘He’s not failing yet.’
“We filed a due process suit to try to get reading services for overcoming dyslexia. It took the entirety of our son’s second grade year to settle the lawsuit, after which our son’s reading services began.
Our son received reading services throughout third grade and fourth grade. However, at th end of fourth grade, our son was still not reading according to our independent evaluator’s results. Towards the end of fourth grade, the school wanted to cut back on our son’s reading services and suggested my husband and I ‘just lower our expectations.’ All the while we were contending overcoming dyslexia and our son just needed more intense reading instruction.
Our son was clearly a SMART guy, but he was having difficulty learning to read. I believe in retrospect, it was because his program was not implemented properly. The bullying, the school’s low expectations, inadequate educational provisioning, and the lack of any meaningful educational progress led us to make the decision to homeschool.
Question: What is your personal level of education?
Sandy: “I had my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems when we began homeschooling. Shortly before we began to homeschool, I went and took a two-week, 56 hour Orton-Gillingham training course.
While homeschooling, I earned my Master’s Degree in Instructional Design, which helped me develop viable programs for my boys. I wanted to quit my Master’s program at many points along the way, but my husband was insistent that I should not quit. I’m very thankful now that I didn’t quit, but it was surely difficult at the time!”
Question: Did you feel well-qualified to teach your child before you began homeschooling?
Sandy: “Truthfully, I didn’t feel qualified at all. However, I felt I could do no worse than our school had done in the five years my son was there! Let’s face it.. He wasn’t reading after five years in school and overcoming dyslexia wasn’t going to happen if we left him in school. If I homeschooled for five years and my son still wasn’t reading, I wouldn’t have done any worse than our public school. My goal was simply to do ‘better than the school.'” I didn’t even have a full expectation of overcoming dyslexia. I simply wanted my son to be able to read at a basic level.
Question: What are some of the main struggles you faced when homeschooling your learning abled child?
Sandy: “It was so hard in the beginning because my son was so beaten down, his response to almost everything was, ‘I can’t.’ His self-esteem was beaten down. He was convinced he couldn’t learn. I did not want to add a smidgeon of discouragement, so I had to work really hard on myself to *always* remain upbeat and encouraging. That was very difficult at times.
It was difficult to go through the reading instruction repetitively until my son mastered each phoneme, each spelling rule, and each word attack skill. It was tedious and boring for me, but essential for my son to have the Orton-Gillingham instruction to make overcoming dyslexia possible.”
Question: What are the main benefits you experienced in homeschooling your learning abled child?
Sandy: “Awesome academic progress, the recovery of my son’s self-esteem and the return of his joyful spirit were the biggest benefits. It took about three years for him to recover from the psychological devastation he experienced in school.
It also took about three years to take him from a non-reader to a reading level beyond 12th grade (he was in 7th grade when he achieved that reading level). From there, my son began reading to learn, became an excellent student, and he surpassed any expectation we had when we began homeschooling.
An added benefit was the development of very close, loving family relationships within our family, and with his grandmas. We were able to spend much more time together as a family, and our stress levels dropped dramatically within a very short time of leaving public school.
Homeschooling became a way of life that we all loved beyond any of our imaginings. Although I felt like I was ‘forced’ to homeschool, I am blessed to have been able to homeschool. I am now very thankful we have traveled this journey. My boys are highly successful, and our family relationships are great as a result of working together on the challenge of overcoming dyslexia.”
Question: What is your son’s educational outcome and what is he doing now?
Sandy: “We flew past the low expectations the school had. My son tested at a 13+ Grade Equivalent reading level at the end of seventh grade, and by ninth grade he began earning college credits.
My son graduated from our homeschool program with 39 credit hours for college and went to college ranked as a Sophomore. He received an Honors Scholarship that paid for housing and books, another merit scholarship to pay 100% of his tuition, he has been on the Dean’s list every semester, and has a Summa Cum Laude level GPA.
My son is now a college graduate, and he graduated with high honors in 2014. I couldn’t be prouder of the young man he has become and I can attest that overcoming dyslexia is entirely POSSIBLE!”
Overcoming Dyslexia Is Possible for YOU TOO!
I’ve written “The Dyslexia Help Handbook for Parents: Your Guide to Overcoming Dyslexia Including Tools You Can Use for Learning Empowerment,” based upon everything I know from our journey overcoming dyslexia, my Master’s Degree, and from helping hundreds of parents who are homeschooling their Learning Abled Kids.
Grab this inexpensive book to get started overcoming dyslexia in your child. You can help your child at home whether you homeschool or not. Anything you can do to help your child will be well worth your time. Who knows, you may even create your own fabulous homeschooling success story! Check out other stories of overcoming learning disabilities through homeschooling.