Dyslexic children require direct, systematic, and individualized instruction in reading and spelling. Some need additional help with math and writing. Public and private schools cannot always provide this level of service, especially considering that most dyslexic children don't qualify for special education. Because of this, homeschooling has become an increasingly popular option. In fact, Dr. Brock Eide, author of The Mislabeled Child and The Dyslexic Advantage, states that, next to a private school designed for dyslexia, homeschooling is often the best option for dyslexic children.
Advantages of Homeschooling
- Subjects can be individualized to your child's needs.
- Freedom to explore your child's strengths and interests.
- Freedom from negative comparisons to other children.
- Ability to provide needed interventions and accommodations without bureaucracy.
- Ability to incorporate needed services and therapies into the school day.
Iowa Homeschool Laws
Iowa's homeschool laws underwent a major revision on July 1, 2013. An overview of current Iowa homeschooling laws can be found here. The law provides two main options for families wanting to homeschool: 1) Independent Private Instruction (IPI) and 2) Competent Private Instruction (CPI). Review each option and be sure you thoroughly understand each before choosing.
Iowa is fortunate to offer homeschooling with dual enrollment. This means that your child can be homeschooled for some subjects, while attending school for others. Some families teach the core subjects of reading, spelling, writing and math at home, and attend the school for specials such as art and science. Some school districts offer Homeschool Assistance Programs (HSAPs) which offer a supervising teacher and other resources. These resources vary from district to district, but may include curriculum libraries, enrichment classes and field trips. Check with your district for more information.
You may remove your child from public or private school and begin homeschooling at any time during the year. However, if you wish to change school districts for any reason (for example, to participate in a nearby HSAP), Iowa's open enrollment deadline is March 1st for the following year. This deadline is quite strict and exceptions are rare.
Homeschool groups can be found in most communities if you know where to look. Check with your public library, churches, and school district office. Search online for Facebook groups. Please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to share any homeschool resources that we know of.
An excellent online support community for homeschooling is The Well-Trained Mind. Although officially dedicated to classical education, The Well Trained Mind forums attract homeschoolers from a variety of backgrounds and can be an excellent source of information and support.
Although Decoding Dyslexia Iowa does not officially endorse or recommend curricula, we can share those which other families have found helpful for their dyslexic children:
Barton Reading and Spelling System - an Orton Gillingham program created by Susan Barton. Designed for parents, tutors and/or teachers to use with individual children. Each level comes with training DVDs and scripted instructor manual.
Aabecedarian - A systematic phonics program written by Michael Bend. Uses the Phonographix method (similar to Orton Gillingham, but only teaches reading, not spelling). Inexpensive.
Sound Foundations - British reading and spelling programs which emphasize morphology. Inexpensive.
Math-U-See - A visually-based math program using colored blocks as the primary manipulative. Each level utilizes a DVD to provide short video lessons.
Right Start Math - A visually based math program with a wide variety of manipulatives. Math Card Games book is a nice supplement.
Spatial Temporal (ST) Math - A visually based computer math supplement designed to teach and reinforce math concepts through visual puzzles. Very few words/written language are used.
Touch Type to Read and Spell - A multisensory web-based typing program. Introduces sounds and syllable types in the same manner as Orton Gillingham programs, thereby reinforcing learning. Homeschool Buyers Coop offers a discount.
Writing Skills books - A simple inexpensive book series teaching grammar and composition to struggling learners. Written by Diana Hanbury King, founder of the prestigious Kildonian School for dyslexia.