Over the last few weeks I have been answering some great questions about homeschooling. This question is near and dear to my heart. “Can I homeschool a struggling learner?” This is dear to me because I do homeschool a struggling learner. R has dyslexia and dysgraphia. This means that “normal” homeschooling won’t work for her. We have to approach things differently and I have to flex a lot of grace. I thought it would be great to share some tips and some questions you can ask yourself to see if you really can homeschool your struggling learner.
Are you willing to let grace win?
Some days are going to be hard. They are going to wear you out and leave you ready to tap out. On those days, are you willing to choose grace? Are you willing to separate the behavior from the education for a moment and deal with one at a time. My daughter can be quite difficult to deal with when she encounters something she is really having a hard time learning. On those days I have to let grace win. Grace is choosing to see your child’s struggle instead of the behavior that comes from it. Don’t get me wrong. Behavior needs addressed. However, when dealing with a struggling learner sometimes you need to practice grace and deal with the root issue which is the learning difficulty.
Are you willing to be wrong?
Do you know how many times a day I am wrong? I pick the wrong learning style. I pick the wrong curriculum. I pick the wrong books. I am wrong a lot. Do you know why? I am learning how to teach my child the way she learns. This means A LOT of trial and error. It means that you may not always have the answers and you may have to apologize to your child for picking a curriculum that made things worst instead of better. If you are willing to be wrong you will be right sometimes too.
Are you willing to ditch expectations?
Homeschooling a child who has learning difficulties can shatter all of your expectations. They don’t always do things on a level you would expect as quickly as you would like. If you are going to successfully homeschool a child with learning difficulties you will have to ditch expectations. Don’t look at what your friend’s child is achieving. Your child may not win the spelling bee or memorize all the presidents. However, you may see a day when like R your dyslexic child is reading above grade level or for the first time your child doesn’t cry when you pull out the Math books. Redefine success and you will do well.
Are you ready for an adventure?
Homeschooling a child with learning difficulties is an adventure. It is amazing and exhausting and beautiful all rolled into one big picture. Some days you will feel the like the dragon. Other days you will feel like the white knight riding in to save the day. On even better days you get to be the peasants cheering on the princess or prince who accomplished something great. No matter what day you are having if you see it as your adventure with your child, you will do great!