There’s one lesson I learned right away when we first began homeschooling – not everyone learns the same way. And that’s okay! We all have different learning styles. Knowing what they are can really help us as parents as we try to teach our children.
What type of learner are you? What type of learner is your child? Here are several sites that offer tests you can take for yourself or administer to your child to determine their learning style.
Why do you even need to know your child’s learning style? Or yours? One of the biggest mistakes I made when we first started homeschooling was I taught according to the way I learned best not the way my children learned best. Once you know you can direct your teaching towards your child’s learning style strengths. Having said that, the results of any of these tests do not mean you need to “box” your child in with his/her learning style. As they get older you can help them learn how to learn when other teaching styles are used so they will be well prepared for the different teaching styles of college professors. As your child grows they can also learn which study tactics work best for them.
Learning can actually be FUN!
Learning styles are divided into four basic groups: Visual, Auditory, Read/Write, Kinesthetic/Tactile or VARK.
Visual learners learn by seeing. When information is presented in the form of graphs, maps, or actual demonstrations they are able to soak in the material better.
Auditory learners prefer hearing and speaking. Do you have a child who can talk your ear off and will usually work things out by talking through it? They are more than likely an auditory learner. Auditory learners learn best with lectures, books on tape, and group discussions.
Read/Write learners prefer words. Textbooks, workbooks, and reading books are devoured. Read/Write learners are typically addicted to dictionaries, PowerPoint presentations, lists, words, words, words!
Kinesthetic/Tactile learners learn best through touching and doing. Hands-on activities are their preferred mode of taking in information.
Most of us actually learn with a mixture of styles which has come to be known as multiple intelligences. Multiple intelligences also consider the musical, mathematical, naturalistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects of learning.
Musical learners like rhythm, sounds, and enjoy playing musical instruments. They will make up songs to help them remember certain things.
Mathematical learners like patterns and numbers. They are also good at critical thinking.
Naturalistic learners love anything in nature. They prefer the outdoors and being around animals or plants.
Interpersonal has to do with gauging other people’s moods and feelings. Interpersonal learners are able to communicate effectively and empathize easily with others. This shouldn’t be confused with those who are extroverts!
Intrapersonal learners know themselves well. They know their strengths and weaknesses and are very tuned in to their emotions.
With that very basic overview, get ready! For the next several weeks the Friday homeschool posts will cover each of the four basic learning styles and multiple intelligences in more depth using my own children as examples. Our family covers the whole gamut of styles!