The school system uses the first few years to teach reading, so that in later years students can ‘read to learn’. In a system with one teacher for every twenty five or so students, this is a practical approach, as individual tuition is not practical. However it seriously disadvantages those with dyslexia, in the same way that the requirement to show knowledge via writing disadvantages those with dysgraphia or dyspraxia. 

Commonly children are diagnosed in early primary, and the issues are exacerbated by the fact that in recent years the literacy expectation for children has significantly increased. Even children with no diagnosed condition struggle with these expectations, because they do not have enough time to assimilate and practice one skill before being pushed to learn the next. Given time, freedom, and scaffolding of skills many children will attain sufficient skills to cope with mainstream schooling and life. Home education gives children time to develop at their own pace, to practice a skill until they have mastered it, and to address underlying problems such as anxiety, low muscle tone, or poor fine motor control through play, craft and therapies without feeling that they are becoming further and further behind.

It’s common for schooling to focus on written learning without first building the conceptual skills in literacy and mathematics that underpin this learning. Kids who have no underlying issues will be able to cope, intuiting the concepts as they go along, but for a child whose whole focus is on the act of reading or writing, there may be no brain space available to absorb the underlying skills which support the next level of learning. There’s an assumption that if a child can’t write or do sums at the expected level, then they are ‘not good at’ maths or English. In fact many of these students have a good grasp of spoken language and vocabulary, and if provided with a scribe or a voice to text app can create quality written work. Equally a child who struggles with simple maths problems may have good skills in geometry or problem solving, but never have the chance to show them. Use of manipulatives and concrete learning aids can be very helpful for students, and allow them to solve problems without reading or writing, but in school these are often considered ‘childish’. 

Children who are already mentally exhausted by trying to keep up at school may find interventions or therapies intrusive. If the therapy becomes the whole task, that’s more achievable. With the right support (and therapies if required) students will often progress more quickly at home, and there’s the additional benefit that other subjects such as humanities, science and technology can be structured to minimise the amount of reading and writing required. Parents or siblings can read out any text, or an audio version can be used. Documentaries, crafts, hands-on learning and experiments can be used to cover subjects with no Powerpoint slides or books in evidence. Students with learning challenges often also have complementary strengths in areas such as problem solving and creativity, and when they are not bogged down by tasks which are not relevant to them. Home education gives parents the chance to make the majority of a child’s educational experiences positive ones which build confidence, self esteem and knowledge, rather than allowing them to be defined by their challenges. A NFP organisation with good free resources for parents, mostly for Dyslexia, but some broader content