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Joah's Story

Dyslexia and homeschooling are subjects close to Joah’s heart. Since swapping mainstream school for homeschooling, 16-year-old Joah has become happier and loves the flexibility that means he can follow his passion for fishing.

“My first attempt at IGCSE Maths and Physics wasn’t as good as I’d hoped for so my school offered me AS courses that I wasn’t really interested in. After 11 years in a regular school, it was surprisingly easy for me to make the decision to rather redo both courses so that I can pursue my interests, rather than continue just to obtain qualifications I don’t intend to put to use. I was given the option of returning to school a year later but very soon came to appreciate the advantages of homeschooling.”

Homeschooling with Dyslexia

Flexibility to Work at His Own Pace

“I really enjoy the flexibility. I can revisit study areas I have difficulty with, schedule my days/year around events (I’m climbing Kilimanjaro in November!), I don’t have to wear a school uniform, can accompany my dad on trips – his work takes him all over Tanzania and Zanzibar – and can add extra-curricular skills that interest me.

I also enjoy that the courses, modules and topics are so structured that I know exactly what I’m expected to do. Being able to work at a pace I find comfortable makes learning less stressful, so I’m not constantly tired and grumpy anymore.”

Overcoming Challenges

“There are many opportunities for distractions at home so I’ve had to learn to manage them. Staying focussed is part and parcel of managing ADHD (I was diagnosed at age 6) so I can’t really attribute this difficulty to homeschooling. That, together with dyslexia, was why I found keeping up in a mainstream school a challenge.

Practicing self-discipline is an ongoing process, but I do think this environment is much more helpful to me. I have been able to replace my ADHD medication with a natural supplement – that in itself is a big positive.”

“I love most outdoor activities and am fortunate to live next to the beautiful Indian Ocean. I enjoy swimming and snorkelling, paddling on a SUP to the nearby island, have just taken up kite surfing lessons and like to take my dog for walks on the beach. But most of all, I like going out on a sportfishing boat, searching for the tell-tale signs of fish, rigging my rods and hearing the reels sing.

To outwit the cunning yellowfin tuna, king mackerel, giant trevally, sailfish, marlin and dorado that live in Tanzanian waters requires skill and patience. Some days I don’t even get a single strike, other days we feast on sashimi. I quite like dressing and preparing the fish too! I’m active in the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club’s fishing section and take part in their fishing competitions as often as I can.”

Looking to the Future

This past year a boat owner has taken me under his wing to teach me the finer tricks of the trade and now I have an occasional job as deck-hand on his charter vessel. I am mostly paid in fish which I sell. I have earned enough to buy my very own fishing gear, of which I am extremely proud. It has also given me the incentive to take up Business Studies as an A level subject.

Perhaps the entrepreneur in me has awakened.

“In terms of the future I’m thinking of first obtaining a yachtmaster licence so that I can skipper sportfishing charter vessels and work in different parts of the world for a few years. As for university, I would like to keep my options open and make sure I meet the requirements that would give me access. One thing is for sure – my future will be active and outdoors!”

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