There are some days I just want to quit.
Perhaps you can relate . . .
Five children with five different needs, at five different levels and five different learning styles . . .
add to it the fact that one is a preschooler who wants to do everything his older brothers are doing . . .
and then add to that the fact that one child has dyslexia.
It can be so overwhelming!
How can I keep doing this day after day? How can I be certain that I am teaching my children what they need to know, that I am helping my child with dyslexia as best I can? What if I am doing something wrong? What if my child never succeeds in life simply because he had me as a teacher? After all, I am not an expert in dyslexia. I have never been trained to teach a child with special needs. Many people would question the wisdom of me keeping him in the home, serving as his only teacher. Many people would encourage me to find someone else more qualified to teach him.
But many people would be wrong.
I am the one my child needs to help him learn to thrive with dyslexia. I am the most qualified one for the job. I am in the right position to make an incredible impact in his life, and I can do this!
I will not quit!
On those days when the task becomes too hard, I need to remind myself of five different principles I have learned while working with my son.
1. I need to slow down! A child with dyslexia should not be rushed to learn. He will learn on his own timetable and rushing him only leads to discouragement and possible meltdowns. There are weeks when I do the exact same reading lesson with my son every single day. Am I wasting time? Absolutely not! I am helping him LEARN! Instead of pushing him on to the next lesson before he may be ready to ensure that every assignment is completed, I am keeping him on a lesson until I am sure that he truly understands it. That is when true learning takes place.
2. I need to stop comparing my child with others! Who cares if the child down the street reads college textbooks in the fourth grade, my child is not that child. My child is his own person and I need to recognize him for the creative, fun, wonderful child he is. (Note: Can we as parents stop the incessant bragging about the successes of our kids? Pride goes before the fall . . . . and some of us are teaching our children to be prideful at an awfully young age, but that’s a topic for another time.)
3. I need to remember and encourage his strengths! On days when it seems like finishing one paragraph is taking an eternity, I need to remember that my child has incredible strengths that are not connected at all with reading. And then I need to close the book for awhile and let him concentrate on one of those strengths and I need to celebrate him when he accomplishes something great. * See note on this at the end of the article *
4. I need to take a break! On really, really tough days, I need to give myself permission to throw all the curriculum aside for the day and do something entirely different. Maybe we can go for a walk and discuss nature, maybe we can take the afternoon off and enjoy popcorn and a movie . . . whatever it is, we need to take a break. There is nothing wrong with taking a day off school once in awhile to have some fun with my struggling child!
5. I need to pray for him and with him! My son is very well aware that he struggles with reading and writing. He knows that this is a struggle that will always be part of his life. And so I need to show him how to pray for the courage to face the difficult situations and I need to teach him that God can use him in amazing ways BECAUSE of his dyslexia. When I start to pray for my child, I start to get excited about what the future holds for him. I wonder how God is going to use him and the difference he will make simply because he has dyslexia!
When I stop dwelling on the negatives, and start focusing on what God can do instead, I know that I can persevere . . . I can keep going . . . I will never, ever give up on my child . . . I will never, ever give into the discouragement, frustration, or doubts . . .
I WILL NEVER, EVER QUIT!
Is the task too hard for you today? Are you feeling discouraged and like you want to quit? Perhaps you, like me, need to remind yourself of those five principles.
Perhaps you, like me, need to slow down, stop comparing your child with others, encourage his strengths, take a break, and then pray for (and with) your child.
You might be amazed at the difference it will make!
Just this week, my 9 year old son and I published a book about his experience with dyslexia. I helped him tell his story and then he drew all the pictures. We told his story to help other boys and girls who have dyslexia. It is our hope that they will be encouraged through this book — and that they will discover that God can do something special with them because of their dyslexia! The book is available on amazon. Use the following link for more information:
Check out my other articles about dyslexia, including one written by my nine year old son:
https://cherilynngamble.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/my-child-has-been-diagnosed-with-dyslexia-now-what/ (Practical suggestions for what to do once your child is diagnosed with dyslexia)
https://cherilynngamble.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/dyslexia-a-9-year-olds-story/ (My son’s story of dyslexia in his own words)
https://cherilynngamble.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/dyslexia-the-church-10-ways-to-make-childrens-ministries-more-dyslexia-friendly/ (Suggestions on how to make a church ministry more dyslexia-friendly)
* Note on helping him use his strengths: One of the ways I have done this recently is by allowing him to use his artistic gift in a creative way. He and his older brother illustrated my recently published devotional. By doing this, he learned that he can do something big . . . you can read more about the devotional here:
May God continue to shower you with his peace as you continue your tireless work on your son.
I have 2 boys with widely different personalities and learning styles. I had to learn to stop the comparism thing too.
Thank you! Sometimes it is so easy for us to compare our kids. Just this morning I had to stop, take a deep breath, and remind myself of that one. Thanks for commenting.
I *love* reminders #2 and #3. I don’t homeschool but I do supplement my son’s learning at home and some days are trying to say the least. I love your gentle reminder about “not quitting” and it’s acceptable to continue offering the same lesson until the child understands fully. That’s how they do it in Montessori and it works so well for our son. Thanks for sharing what is working for you. Shared.
Thanks. I used to try to push my children through their lessons regardless of whether or not they were ready to move on and that really doesn’t work with anyone — especially kids with dyslexia! Once I allowed myself to relax, I made it possible for my children to learn at their own pace, and that is what is best. The Montessori approach definitely has that right!!!