Children who have dyslexia spend a huge amount of energy each day during regular school hours. Their brain works much harder than a child who does not have dyslexia just to process reading, writing and spelling. So, by the end of the day, they are often just spent.
However, most still have homework, and sometimes tutoring. Our kids also want to be just like everyone else and play sports, music or other extracurricular activities. How do we, as parents, best help our children balance it all?
For answers, I sat down with Learning Ally's parent support specialists - Meriah Houser, Sally Pistilli, Diane Taranto, Norma Francullo and Deborah Lynam. They have helped me many times in the past, and they are always available for one-on-one free parent consultations by calling 800.635-1403 or by logging onto your membership dashboard.
For a student who has dyslexia, do you advise starting homework right away or allow a break after school?
We do homework the minute they walk in the door with a snack! We chunk my little guys work. He is allowed to do one sheet from his homework packet a night. ~ Meriah
Some kids really need the break after school, but others just want to get it done ASAP! If homework is taking far too long, I suggest that parents mark the amount of time the student has spent on it at the top of the paper so that the teacher can see the effort that was given, even if the assignment wasn't finished. ~ Sally
I let my kids decide whether to do homework right after school or not. They all walked home from school because it allowed them time to unwind. When they got home they had snack and rested for 30 minutes-45 minutes. Since a lot of their elementary sport activities started at 5 or 6 o'clock
, the rule was homework had to be done before practice. ~ Norma
What are your thoughts on sports vs tutoring/homework time?
It's difficult, but I feel it's important to try your best to make time for both. Since beginning high school, my daughter does not do as much karate as she did before. She just does not have the time. However, I sort of "push her" to go. She always feels better after having done some physical activity. We also still find time for tutoring because sometimes just having someone next to you (who is not your mother) is motivating. ~ Diane
My kids are early risers so we do tutoring before school because we are too busy with sports all year long. ~ Meriah
Make sure you don’t always let homework trump extra-curricular activities. Let your kids be engaged in things they enjoy and excel at, even if it means not spending as much time stressing over getting homework finished perfectly. ~ Sally
Tutoring was scheduled around their activities. They never missed practice or game day. Those moments were when they shined and excelled. ~ Norma
Accommodations like reading aloud or being a scribe for our kids sometimes help, but is there a point when we do too much?
When in elementary school, we submitted the work unedited. As they got older, they wanted to submit work that was correct or complete, so I submitted what was done independently and then submitted what was done with assistance and guidance by me. Reading time in elementary school was done by me out loud or via audiobooks. ~ Norma
We came up with a compromise. Instead of eye reading for 20 minutes, he ear reads for 30 minutes. ~ Meriah
I refrain from jumping in to help too much. I do read questions, clarify directions, scribe answers as needed but the work needs to be his own. AT (assistive technology) has pretty much gotten me out of the loop at this point, so I'm having to do this stuff less and less. I also submit homework with notations about how much time it took and what accommodations mom provided, etc. ~ Deborah
Any final thoughts?
Don’t let, “What’s your homework?” be the first question you ask your student when they walk in the door after school! ~ Sally
Yes, haha, I totally agree! So for us, structure and having a routine worked. ~ Norma
Learn more about Sally, Norma, Meriah, Diane, and Deborah by visiting our parent support specialists
page. Feel free to call us at any time to help map out a personalized plan for your student who has a learning differences. We're here for you. 800.635.1403