A long time ago, when I was still new to homeschooling, I made what turned out to be a very helpful discovery – learning styles! Of course it’s easy to figure out that some people can read a book and easily take in all the knowledge presented in it, while other people need to hear it explained or see a movie about the same topic in order to understand it well. The concept of learning styles was fascinating to me, and the more I learned about it, the more I realized that homeschooling is the perfect setting to be able to truly put those style preferences to work in a positive way.
I read a book called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, and started thinking about what learning styles my kids tended towards. I also figured out what my own learning style was, because that would affect my teaching style. Because we were homeschooling, we could customize so that each kid could learn the way they learn best, rather than being forced to learn in a way that’s most convenient for a classroom setting.
Some basics about learning styles:
- Auditory learners are those that learn best by hearing. They can take in information presented in lectures or videos effectively, and speaking aloud may help them remember better. Read out loud to them. Allow them to do tests orally. Music may be a valuable tool to help them memorize things like math facts.
- Visual learners need to see concepts to understand, often in diagrams or pictures. They tend to remember things in images, so they may doodle those images in their notes, or prefer to have photos or graphics in their texts. Allow them to follow along in their own copy if you’re reading aloud or listening to audio-books. Encourage them to draw pictures and doodles in their notes. Use highlighters or color-codes to help them organize information.
- Kinesthetic learners understand best when they can do something hands-on. They may be impatient when someone is describing how to put something together, because they need to do it themselves in order to understand and remember the steps. Movement helps them think! Look for ways to incorporate hands-on learning as much as possible – field trips, experiments, and art projects. Let them sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair at their desk.
- Although we can all use each of the different learning styles, we also have a preference.
Putting Learning Styles to Work in our Homeschool
Do you know your learning style, or your child’s learning style? How do you make the most of it in your homeschool?