Thursday I went in for the results of Big Brother's testing. He is severely dyslexic, but I wasn't so upset about that. I knew his strengths and weaknesses, and the tests captured them accurately. I was upset that they tested him on things that I haven't even taught him yet. I was a little embarrassed, and because I'm his teacher, I felt like a failure. I cried....right there in the office in front of the psychologist. I couldn't hold it in. I explained that I was upset because they tested him on things that I haven't even taught him yet, and that made me feel like a failure. When I said that we were doing 1st grade curriculum at home and some of these things haven't come up yet, the psychologist mentioned that my homeschool curriculum was "too light". (In defense of Heart of Dakota, it is not light. It doesn't follow Florida's FCAT standard, and if you live in Florida, you know that Florida schools are failing miserably and the FCAT is making it worse)I asked what he suggested, and then my mouth hit the ground, he suggested a curriculum that is for the auditory/sequential learner. It is traditional school to the Nth degree, implementing worksheet after worksheet without any multi-sensory input.
I've done a lot of reading on dyslexia lately, and all the scientific research shows that children with dyslexia need to learn with a multi-sensory approach, not more of the same repetition and drill like what he suggested. What help was he? I felt I already knew more than he did and he's the psychologist. So, now I was mad. I sent him an email detailing my thoughts on his curriculum suggestion. I asked if I was missing something he was trying to tell to me, because his suggestions on curriculum were contrary to the current research on how dyslexics should be taught. He did reply that his recommendation was just one of many options I could use.....blah, blah, blah. The psychologist was full of contradictions. He suggested I use the Barton system, but then wondered why my son wasn't writing in sentences. The Barton Reading system doesn't implement sentences at this stage. We are listening to sounds in words at this point. He liked Handwriting without Tears, he thought it was one of the best. When I told him that in Handwriting without Tears they are still forming letters at this level he seemed confused. I think the problem is that he follows a public school model. We don't follow a public school model, don't want to, don't need to, don't ever care to. That is one reason I homeschool. Public school may be able to teach children what a noun or a verb is in first grade, but they don't seem to be doing a great job when it comes to teaching children how to think critically.
Some good did come out of my little tiff with the psychologist. I think I may have been a little lax in some areas, I figured Big Brother was only six. So now, I will step it up a bit, but I will continue to use my current curriculum, because I know it reaches the heart of my child, and we will continue on teaching him to read with the Barton System. It's working and my son is finally enjoying school.
Over the last month, I've discovered what I presumed to be true. My child has dyslexia. My blog is dedicated to these wonderfully different learners. I marvel at their creativity, out of the box thinking and their infectious need for humor. This is a journey of our discovery process and our journey homeschooling with what works. I hope you will find encouragement along with helpful advice in teaching your right brain learner in this left brain world.