Our family decided to homeschool when my oldest son was five years old and ready to start kindergarten. Homeschooling was becoming the new thing and I had a few friends who had been doing it for awhile. I asked many questions and listened in awe at their answers of how they managed teaching, being a wife, house cleaner, bookkeeper, nurturer, etc. I was unsure if I could rise to the challenge, but I thought if we took it one year at a time the task seemed less daunting.
So began our homeschooling journey. Amazingly, I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching our son, Aaron, at home and I loved the hands-on approach to learning. I poured over many books about learning styles and homeschooling tips to help with areas I was less knowledgeable in. I found I loved to look at the homeshool curriculum catalogs. Especially living in the mountains and not having access to the internet. Looking at the pages in the catalogs was a way for me to relax and dream about one day having the Cadillac of homeschool curriculums – Sonlight or Abeka.
A few years into teaching Aaron, I was seeing signs of struggle with reading. At first, I thought it was just a slow start and that one day it would all finally click. But, that wasn’t happening. I began to do research and discovered that he had dyslexia. My husband had trouble in school when he was young and reading was labor intensive for him, too. We talked and were discussing putting our son in public school because I thought maybe they could do a better job at teaching him. My husband didn’t like that idea at all. His experience in the special education classroom at school was horrible. He was labeled as “retarded” (Pardon the word usage, but I am quoting what he was called specifically.) and that he would never amount to anything. (Now, my husband reads faster than I do!)
I knew my son was smart. He could build amazing Lego structures. He built a complete hand with movable fingers out of Legos. The detail was astounding. He was extremely good at math, too. I only had to explain math concepts one time and he was off running, working on his daily worksheets and showing me math problems with his base ten blocks. But, then came reading and writing. He just wasn’t getting it. I would cry at night, thinking it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t teaching him properly. I hated this word, dyslexia.
In my struggle I began to cry out. My husband shared with me his thought of taking a break from teaching our son how to read altogether. I thought, “What? I can’t do that. He’ll get even more behind.” My husband’s reply was, “According to whom?” So I prayed about it. A few days later I felt a release to let it go. I decided that I wouldn’t push him to read. If he showed interest, I would definitely help him. But, I was not to force the issue.
In my observation of my son, I noticed how he was able to always see the big picture in everything. He could solve problems better than I could. He could build anything he put his mind to. I was becoming amazed by him. This “handicap” as I thought it was, was turning out to be a blessing.
Slowly over time, things did begin to click for him. I discovered Brain Integration Therapy. We spent 15 minutes a day doing specific exercises to get the left and right brain working together. It was a slow process, but eventually he began to read things that a year prior had been too hard for him.
Dyslexia is looked at as a disability. I am here to say, that it is a blessing. It taught me patience. It taught me to be selfless. It showed me that I would love my son even if he didn’t fit into the mold of 95% of people walking on this earth. Most of all, it revealed to me that my son has a special gift. He looks at life in a completely different way than most people on this planet and that’s why I love dyslexia.