Home educators are constantly pointing out that every child learns differently. It is something the school system cannot (or will not) adapt to. I remember Iona telling me that in her first week at secondary school the children all did a test to see what kind of learner they were and then, she said, we stuck it in the front of a book and it was never referred to again.
I think one of the greatest advantages of home education is that a parent can help each child learn in a way that best suits them. Avila learns in a completely different way to Ronan. This isn’t just about the fact she is two years younger; her whole approach to reading, writing and even maths is just different to his.
One of the major differences between the two in how they learn is that Avila doesn’t see letters and numbers very well. She reverses and writes in the wrong order. Obviously having two older siblings with dyslexia I have wondered if in the end this is what this might prove to be BUT she’s only 5 and I think it is way too early to suggest dyslexia at this point. More important is what can be done to help her now.
I like a lot of the Montessori ideas and they are easily incorporated into a Charlotte Mason method so some time ago I bought a set of wooden letters and numbers for the children. Now I know there are those who are concerned about these sort of resources with children who tend toward dyslexia because without supervision they tend to place the letters as they might write them rather than the proper way round.
These letters are made in such a way that it is easy to tell the top from the bottom and if there was a problem even then I would have her colour each top side of the letters so she would know.
As it is she doesn’t (at this point) use them unsupervised but even so I haven’t seen her try to put them the wrong way around so far.
I lay the numbers out 0 to 9 and then draw a quick Decimal Street on the blank side of her workbook. When she has worked out the sum using either the number stair card or the manipulatives then she places the answer numbers in the correct houses on Decimal Street so she can see which way round to write.
She now writes 15 instead of 51 or reversing the 5.
Avila learns better when she can touch and build with the resources. So we are beginning to have a house full of manipulatives, attribute blocks and wooden things as well as play doh.
I hope that by adapting to her way of learning we can pre-empt the dyslexic tendencies if they are there. It does leave me wondering whether those that insist teaching methods create dyslexia may have a point. I don’t believe the child has no tendency to begin with, but if their way of learning is ignored, then perhaps the problem is unnecessarly magnified. (?)