How homeschooling can transform the learning experience for neurodiverse students facing academic difficulties
Are you the parent who always feels exhausted because of your child's tantrums with homework? Does it concern you that it may not just be a simple meltdown but rather due to a learning challenge like dyslexia? I totally get you!
Three of my four children have dyslexia and all four of my children have a total of eight neurodiversities. In case you're not familiar with what dyslexia really is, it involves difficulty with words: including struggling with reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding), difficulty with spelling is a huge challenge, including remembering sight words or spelling words and challenges remembering words they want to use when speaking or writing (encoding). It was heartbreaking to see that my children’s needs were not being met at school. To be honest, the educational system in the U.S. is failing a large number of students with learning disabilities, just like my kids.
Very few teachers in the U.S., outside of Texas, are trained to help dyslexic learners. Even fewer teachers know about or understand dyslexia, dyscalculia (problem with understanding math) and dysgraphia (problem with writing). I have also heard countless stories of teachers blaming parents for their children not learning at the same rate as the rest of the class. They say things like the parents aren't reading to them enough, even though they read to their children night after night. In many cases, teachers embarrass and belittle the struggling student in front of the class, contributing to their low self-esteem.
I'm eternally grateful to discover another option, so my kids were able to learn the ways that were best for them, through homeschooling! Yes, parents can facilitate their children's learning 100%!
In 2009, I began homeschooling my third youngest child while we were still living in Texas. The following year, we moved back to Las Vegas (at the time - the worst school district in the USA), so I decided I would homeschool the youngest son as well. I was really nervous about it at first because I didn't know what it meant for me to teach my profoundly dyslexic son, but I didn't let that stop me. For two years my daughter attended a school for performing arts. She loved the creative classes (dance, choir, sewing) and social aspects of school, but Las Vegas schools weren't nearly as accommodating as we experienced in Texas and she struggled in her general education classes, so she eventually decided to finish up high school homeschooling with her brothers.
My homeschooling journey with my children is proof - from my youngest needing to take ADD medicine to stay focused in school all day, not being able to add or subtract, barely reading and being a horrible speller to reading on an 11th-grade reading level in 10th grade, completing Algebra to graduate from high school pursuing a career as a graphic novelist.
My second youngest son graduated a year early at 17 and because a shop instructor and by 18 he was a certified welder teaching both children and adults how to weld at the maker space he attended the preceding two years. My daughter completed her last two years of high school and we on to obtain her cosmetology license the following year.
I know many parents question the idea of homeschooling their children. They worry about socialization. And even more think that they don't have what it takes to successfully teach their children, especially when the professionals aren't able to do it. You can do it, though!
My mother was a teacher, and I put off homeschooling my children because of her and my step-sister's (a retired teacher) negative feelings about homeschooling. However, if you ask my mother today about her thoughts around homeschooling, she made a complete 180 in her opinion after seeing the benefits homeschooling provided to my three children I homeschooled. As a homeschool mom who has "been there and done that, I can give you five reasons why homeschooling could be just the answer for you and many struggling parents have been looking for.
In homeschooling, there are going to be some days (particularly early on) when you want to pull out your hair. I remember one day, two of my kids wouldn't cooperate and I wanted to ring their necks, I told them to get dressed because I was taking them to the local school and putting them back into school if they wouldn't do what I expected of them. That was the only time it got that bad. All in all, I enjoyed homeschooling my kids immensely.
If parents truly want to homeschool their children (not just for the time being because of COVID), they need to invest time in learning how to best help their children, whether that be teaching them themselves, hiring a tutor, sending them to homeschool cooperatives (a group of families who work together for activities that are organized around academics, social time, and arts), or equipping the learner to teach themselves!
If you want to give homeschooling a try, Facebook is a great way to find a local homeschooling group these days. For example, when you type in New York City homeschool groups in the search bar, you'll discover groups like: "Homeschooling in NYC." I highly suggest joining a local homeschool group. You can check out some groups during summer break and see what it's like! If you want some help or guidance as to curriculum and scheduling for your struggling student, I have a Facebook support group, I offer private parent coaching and digital courses you can watch at your leisure.
About the Author:
Jess Arce, America's Dyslexia Expert, owns I Am NOT Dumb Inc. and 3D Learning Experts, a virtual tutoring company that provides virtual reading, spelling, writing, and math tutoring to learners with dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and similar learning differences.
She is also an author and she recently published a book entitled "I Am Not Dumb, I Am Dyslexic" that is available for purchase on Amazon.
When Jess got married, neither her husband nor she knew they were BOTH dyslexic. She is a mom to four adult children - they are now ages 20 to 28.
Jess Arce has given up her career as a realtor to focus on tutoring her children and eventually other people. Dyslexia became her life's work. In 2005, Jess received her certification as a dyslexia specialist, tutor and screener. She has an extensive background in using multisensory techniques, including teaching preschoolers, serving as an elementary-school substitute teacher, and teaching homeschool classes.
Today, Jess focuses on training her staff of tutors with the use of Orton-Gillingham and multisensory techniques. She also gives time for speaking out publicly to increase awareness and help families experience harmony and success.
Know more about what she does at 3DLearningExperts.com
LEXIA LEARNERS LOUNGE
Jess Arce is a homeschool mom of four, a tutor for children & adults who struggle with Dyslexia & Dysgraphia and an all around entrepreneur. She is passionate about helping others understand dyslexia.