Interview with Sarah Janisse Brown from Thinking Tree Books
What is the current shape of the home-schooling industry – is there lots of demand for what you do?
Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular. One reason is that there is so much more learning that can happen at home. Children can use the internet, libraries and do research without a classroom. Almost every class you would want to take and every skill you would like to master is on YouTube. It is no longer necessary for children to gather in an institution to study. Many children are being homeschooled because they are no thriving in a classroom setting. They need more one-on-one attention, and they need a customised education based on their abilities, weaknesses and interests. Our market is growing rapidly and we have over 65,000 children using our materials, all over the world. We publish homeschooling curriculum journals that use the Dyslexie Font or Open Dyslexic Font and allow the child to use library books, documentaries and the internet to research the subjects and topics that they are studying. We incorporate a lot of art, creativity and logic into our learning materials to make learning fun and interesting for creative children.
Why do you think traditional education is failing so many dyslexic children?
Traditional Education is standardized, it is intended to be a one-size-fits-all program of learning that was designed to create loyal citizens and proper factory workers. It is based on the date of the child's birth and not on their abilities, interests, needs, strengths and weaknesses. Traditional classrooms use an outdated and irreverent form of curriculum that is boring, repetitive and teacher intensive. Children do not usually enjoy the learning process, especially if they have trouble with reading or math. In the traditional classroom brilliant children with dyslexia end up feeling stupid and inferior, when in reality they have incredible imaginations and vast creativity. These children learn through hand-on experience, play, communication, asking questions, curiosity, discovery and exploration. When a child is in a room with one adult and 25 other children, there is no freedom for asking questions and learning through discovery and curiosity. These wonderful qualities become burdensome in a classroom setting. Homeschooling a child with dyslexia allows the child an environment that can be customized and allow for more movement, play and explorations - this is how all children naturally learn, but dyslexics can not tolerate the alternative.
How do your Dyslexia Games work that make them different to other memory/educational games out there?
They are not parent intensive, they are fun and based on art, logic and creativity. They do not require a computer or a teacher. They are so effective and easy. Usually the child is reading at grade level within 6 months. Our games also help the child to become a better artist, while helping them to develop beautiful handwriting and confidence in their gifts.
What are the key strengths of dyslexic processing?
Creativity and imagination .
What is the key to helping improve understanding of dyslexia in education?
Freedom for creativity and play.
Part of the problem in the dyslexia field is that it’s not very representative. Do you employ many dyslexic thinkers to help design your games and books?
What is the current shape of the home-schooling industry – is there lots of demand for what you do?Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular. One reason is that there is so much more...