Homeschooling has opened up a world of possibilities for our family, especially when it comes to addressing our dyslexic daughter’s unique learning needs. One of the most transformative decisions we made was to embrace a literature-based homeschool curriculum. While it may seem counterintuitive to use a literature-based curriculum with a dyslexic student, it has worked well for us. In this blog post, I will share our experience, from a mother’s perspective, highlighting ten pros and benefits of using a literature-based curriculum and of homeschooling in general with a dyslexic child.
1) Building a Love of Reading
For a dyslexic child, the relationship with reading can often be strained. However, a literature-based curriculum puts books at the heart of learning. We’ve found that when our daughter has engaged with the stories she loves, she’s more motivated to explore new worlds and put in the effort of learning. This approach has not only improved her reading skills but has also fostered a genuine love of reading.
2) Personalized Learning
One of the most significant advantages of homeschooling, in general, is the ability to tailor a student’s education to his or her specific needs. With dyslexia, traditional teaching methods can lead to frustration and even be counterproductive. The flexibility of homeschooling has allowed us to adapt to our own dyslexic daughter’s pace, delve into her particular interests, and accommodate her unique learning style. This made learning a more enjoyable and effective experience for her.
3) Multisensory Learning
Dyslexic learners often benefit from a multisensory approach to education, and literature-based curricula provide a rich foundation for this work. From discussing the plot of a novel, acting out scenes, drawing illustrations, and even watching adaptations, our daughter has experienced literature through all of her senses. This multisensory learning has helped her to grasp complex concepts and improve her overall comprehension.
4) Promoting Strong Communication Skills
The inherent richness of literature encourages critical thinking and analytical skills. Through discussions and writing assignments, our daughter has learned to analyze literature and express her own thoughts and ideas coherently. This not only has helped with her literacy, but also enhances her ability to articulate herself, fostering confidence and independence.
5) Accommodating Different Learning Styles
Every dyslexic student’s learning is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. A literature-based curriculum acknowledges diversity, offering a range of materials and activities that cater to different learning styles. My daughter often chose to create art that reflected the literature we were reading at the time. We also enjoyed making recipes that were reflective of the time or action of the story. We made vinegar pie when we read Little House on the Prairie, molasses cookies when we studied the Civil War, and kimchee when we read A Single Shard. This flexibility has allowed us to adapt our daughter’s ever-evolving needs and preferences, ensuring that her education remained engaging and effective.
6) Fostering Creativity
Literature is a wellspring of creativity. Engaging with novels, poems, and plays has allowed our daughter to explore her imagination and artistic talents. Studying Greek and Roman literature led to a marble mosaic project and a family dinner from the recipes of Apicius. Whether it’s creating visual art inspired by a story, acting out an alternative ending, or writing her own short stories, she’s had ample opportunities to nurture her creativity and self-expression.
7) Building Confidence
Dyslexia can often lead to feelings of frustration and self-doubt. But, a literature-based homeschool curriculum has been instrumental in boosting our daughter’s confidence. As she has successfully tackled novels and expressed her opinions through writing and other means, she has recognized her own potential. This confidence extends beyond academics, positively impacting her overall self-esteem.
8) Encouraging Independent Learning
One of our primary goals as homeschooling parents is to prepare our daughter for independent learning. A literature-based curriculum naturally encourages self-directed study. Through book selections, she has learned to research and explore topics on her own, which is a valuable skill that will serve her well in higher education and life beyond schooling.
9) Real-World Connections
Literature often mirrors real-life situations and provides insight into different cultures, historical periods, and experiences. Our daughter’s education has been enriched with a deep understanding of the world, promoting empathy and a broader perspective. This has allowed her to connect her learning to the real world and understand the real-world relevance of what she studies.
10) A Holistic Education
Lastly, a literature-based curriculum offers holistic education that encompasses multiple subjects within the context of single books. For example, when a student reads A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park they can learn about ancient 12th century Korea while empathizing with the protagonist and exploring themes of pride, perseverance, resourcefulness, and dignity. Through this one literature book, my daughter was able to cover skills in language arts, social studies, and history. This interconnected approach has helped our daughter see how various disciplines relate to one another and to the world around her.
Homeschooling a child with dyslexia comes with its particular challenges, but using a literature-based curriculum has proven to be a remarkable choice for our family. By providing personalized learning, fostering a love of literature, accommodating different learning styles, and promoting communication skills, and more, it has unlocked a world of opportunities for our daughter. As her confidence has grown, her creativity has blossomed, and her independent learning skills have matured, we have become more and more confident that this educational choice was the right one for our family. We hope our journey will inspire other parents to explore literature-based curricula as a means to support their dyslexic child’s educational success and overall well-being.
ABOUT OUR AUTHOR
Angela D’Antonio has been homeschooling her two daughters for over a decade, beginning with preschool and continuing through high school. From 2019 to 2023, she worked in sales and customer service for a homeschool curriculum company. She now brings her expertise as a sales and marketing consultant for educational supply companies and schools. In addition, Angela serves as an academic tutor and offers personalized consulting services, both in-person and online, to support homeschooling families. Her true passion lies in assisting families in discovering the perfect curriculum for their children and ensuring that their homeschoolers are well-prepared for college.