Fun learning with dyslexia

I am homeschooling my eight year old son who has dyslexia and adhd. Seems like all I ever do is worry about how to help him get ahead.

I would love to make schooling him more enjoyable for the both of us, but learning is very difficult for him since he stuggles with the dyslexia.

Do you have any suggestions as to how I can make teaching a child who seems to hate to learn, to enjoy learning?



Hi Amy
I haven't had to cope with dyslexia or adhd so you may need to excuse the parts of my answer that don't take this into account!

My first thought would be that learning takes place in lots of ways - not just the written word. My son wasn't really reading until he hit 10 - so I never relied on that as a way of teaching him things. Even now, my children rarely write anything down (unless they want to).

What ways of learning does your son enjoy? Videos? Outings? Hands-on building? It seems to me that if you are putting emphasis on reading - when he obviously struggles with this - then he is bound to feel resentful and dislike learning. But if you separate reading into 'one skill he will need to learn over time' - then 'learning' becomes something different, something he can do with pleasure.

Take a look at Sizzlebop and what she has to say about 'distractable' children. She says

In our homeschool, I threw out all the traditional educational wisdom regarding how children should learn and instead, through experimentation, found out how my child did learn. And learn he did, at a rapid rate. I found that if I included some form of motion in every learning activity, my son would not only absorb material just fine, but he’d do it quickly and permanently.

I am guessing that with the ADHD you need to do things in short bursts and with lots of motion. I read to my children a lot, and we listen to audiobooks. We do lots and lots of craft activities. We go on trips. I try not to do anything 'overly educational' - we just see it as having a good time together. And it is amazing what they pick up around our activities - even stuff that I didn't know!

I am sure your son is interested in something! That is your trigger. Use it, encourage him in it, build on it. It is your way into building up his knowledge and skills.

Stop seeing him as someone you have to 'help to get ahead'. Even with dyslexia and adhd I am sure he has unique skills and abilities and passions that are the basis for his future. Even if you can't see now how he can possibly make any future out of them - encouraging him in what he IS good at, will give him a foundation to build on.

best wishes, Julie.

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Comments for Fun learning with dyslexia

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Ideas for dyslexia
by: Anonymous

I have a dyslexic son, who is now 13. He also has dysgraphia, dyscalcualia, and auditory dyslexia. I know where you are coming from!

The best thing we used for reading was actually a spelling program AVKO. It's inexpensive and works wonders. When my son was in fourth grade he read at a first grade level (we had gone through four reading programs with no improvement) within three months of using the spelling program his reading improved to a forth grade level. Now there are times he corrects his older sister's spelling, and he loves to read.

Don't use reading textbooks (and maybe not even history or science textbooks) they are boring. What does your son enjoy? Mine loves history so we have done a lot of history (with real books). He really enjoys the Eyewitness, DK books. They have short paragraphs with lots of information and great pictures. They also have hundreds of titles from ancient Egypt to WWII, Birds, Chemistry, etc.

The Learning channel, Discovery channel, Animal planet, History channel, and Travel channel were also wonderful things when we had cable. Now we have Netflix. They have a lot of old movies, and documentaries, which we watch together and discuss. You can also find many educational videos at the library. Magic School Bus was one of my kids favorites.

Teach cursive instead of print. It is actually easier for my son and there are a lot less letter reversals.

Hands on activities: building, experiments, drama, state parks, drawing, crafts, museums, audio books, cooking, real life skills, models....

Keep reading, math, and writing short and take brakes then come back and do some more. He'll do better for a brake even if it's just to get the mail or help fold a load of laundry.

I hope some of these ideas help. Sometimes you have to get rid of the textbooks and the "school" idea and do what works. "School" being textbooks, worksheets, sitting for hours on end.

Hating to Learn
by: Anonymous

I have an 11 yr old boy that states weekly that he hates to learn! He is dyslexic and just started homeschooling him this year. I wish we would have acted sooner on the homeschooling since he has had 5 years to develop negative feelings toward learning.

He has had success with BrainPop. They are short videos on all topics. You can even tailor age/focus on what you feel he needs right now. You may want to give it a try. I even find them fun to watch with him and since they are so short, it is easy to pick up at a later time. He has learned so much from these videos, it is amazing. But he still states he hates to learn!.

I wish I had some answers for you about "hating to learn". I struggle with this same thing. I just don't know how to help him see things in a different light.
All the best!

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