Could My Homeschool Child Have Color Blindness? Causes and Symptoms

a child holds a handful of colored pencils

When my oldest child was about 5-years-old, we used to play a lot of Candy Land. Very often he would pick a purple card and move his piece to blue, or pick a yellow card and move to green. I was puzzled by it because he knew his colors. I figured he wasn’t paying attention or had lost interest in the game.

One day he made a comment about his coat being grey—and it was dark green. In that moment, I realized he might be color blind.

While color blindness is a relatively common thing, especially in boys (as many as 8%), it’s not something that most homeschool moms are thinking about. It can pose some challenges to your child, and once you identify it, there are ways you can help make their life easier.

What Are Some Signs of Color Blindness?

  • Your younger child has trouble learning colors or often gets them confused. The most common color blindness is red-green. This doesn’t mean that they get red and green confused but that they do not see shades of red and green like the rest of us. It also makes blue and purple confusing, as well as greens, yellows, browns, and greys. If they often confuse these colors, this may be your first sign.
  • Your older child might seem to not be paying attention. Maybe they’re doing a color by number activity and they pick up a yellow crayon to color a space that should be green. Perhaps you tell them to put on their burgundy shirt and they put on a black one. When you point it out, they may argue that the item in question is a different color than it is.
  • Their clothing choices might make you scratch your head. Boys tend to not care what they are wearing much of the time. However, if your son constantly puts on color clashing ensembles, you may want to do some color blind testing.
  • One of the biggest indicators is heredity. If you have a family member that is color blind, it is more likely that your child could be as well. Since my grandfather was color blind, I knew it was a definite possibility for my son.

How Do I Confirm My Child is Color Blind?

The easiest way is with a few simple tests. The official name for the test is the Ishihara Color Blind test. There are little circles of dots with a number in the middle or a line swirling through. Most people can distinguish the number but color blind people cannot. You can find the test online here. If your child is young you can have them trace the number where they see a different color.

Your eye doctor can also test and confirm your suspicions. They will administer the Ishihara tests and can tell you the severity of the color blindness. They will also likely do a full eye exam to make sure that this is the only abnormality in your child’s sight.

Could My Homeschooled Child be Color Blind?

What Homeschool Help Does My Color Blind Child Need?

  • Tell them what color their belongings are. If they have a coat or a backpack that is a color that they often confuse with another, make sure they know what color their things are. You don’t want them to lose their coat and have everyone looking for a green coat when theirs is actually grey.
  • Be sensitive to school projects that rely on color. With school work, some things might be more difficult for them. My son had a lot of trouble with maps, especially ones that show elevation or terrain. Projects like color-by-number or color coding may need crayons or colored pencils that are labeled.
  • Tell the other adults in their lives. If your child is in co-op classes, on a sports team, or has any time when another adult is in charge, make sure that they are aware of the situation. While it is likely not going to be a problem, it is better that they have the heads up.
  • Help them with clothing choices. When you shopping or they are digging through their closet for the perfect outfit, they may need some guidance. If they find a shirt they love and think it is blue and it is really purple, they will be thankful for your input.

Overcoming For Success

Color blindness does not need to be an impairment unless your child has dreams of being a fighter pilot. It is just something that makes him see the world a little differently.

My son is now twenty-years-old. He is a successful college student and being color blind has not prevented him from doing anything he wants to do. He may not notice when I paint the living room from green to grey, but in his day-to-day life he does just fine, and your color blind kiddo will, too!

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About the Author

Krista RomanoKrista is the homeschooling mom of 3 boys. After 13 years she has learned the value of chilling out, going with the flow and keeping homeschooling fun! She is the blogger behind Far From Normal where she hopes to encourage parents and homeschoolers, and inspire a life lived happily outside the box!