Learning Styles in Your Homeschool: Learn to speak your child’s language
When we all start our homeschooling journey, though we may be going different directions with curriculum, style, and motivation, we all have one purpose in mind: to see our children thrive and flourish under our teaching.
We want more time together and stronger bonds as a family, a flexible schedule based on our needs, and to allow our children to chart their own academic course. This individualized approach to teaching and learning is what makes homeschooling so successful.
But, many homeschooling parents aren’t tapping into one of the most effective and powerful teaching strategies: teaching to a child’s unique learning style.
Teaching to Your Child’s Unique Learning Style
After homeschooling for over 15 years I have discovered what works and what does not work, in motivating, and leading my children through the learning process.
No matter the child, no matter the age, learning styles are the key to inspiring learning and passion in the hearts of our students.
Studies show many different ways that our brains process and retain information; how we learn.
These methods are often referred to as learning styles.
While people can and should learn in multiple ways, each unique brain and personality has a preferred learning style. Just as you may have many different skills or hobbies, you are often best at the thing you enjoy most. Teaching to your child’s learning style--the style that they enjoy most, engages more of their brain and deepens the learning experience.
Speaking your child’s language.
Speaking a child’s learning language helps them process and retain information. This builds short-term memories and skills into long-term memories and habits. And when we can do that, we free up their energy-hungry brains for more learning.
Before you jump into finding your child’s unique learning style, let’s first get a vision for each main style and the identifiers.
The Main Categories of Learning Styles
The three main categories of learning styles are auditory, visual and kinesthetic (hands-on). And while we manage to use all forms, we each have tendencies that best help us categorize, retain and analyze information. Essentially, most of us have one main way we learn best, and that is our preferred learning style.
Visual Learners are often detail oriented, and will prefer written directions. Graphics, pictures, visual images in books, and maps, graphs or charts are often excellent ways to supplement course material.
Teaching tools to keep in your pocket include:
- Check-off lists with written instructions
- Graphic organizers
Online education video games can be an excellent reward AND an effective learning tool for the visual learner.
Children who prefer auditory lessons need to both hear and repeat when absorbing information. The most effective teaching tip for auditory learners is discussion.
Look for ways to utilize debate, to ask questions that require a more detailed answer, and to engage in conversations that talk through ideas, interests, problems and possibilities.
Keep in mind that auditory learners can be easily distracted by noise or commotion. If this is an issue for a multi-aged household, allow your auditory learner to use headphones to block out distractions.
Also known as kinesthetic learners, these children are usually highly energetic and always seem to be moving. This can be distracting for others but keep in mind that movement actually helps them learn best. Frequent breaks may be necessary, as well as hands-on activities (also great for visual and auditory learners as well since most children learn by doing).
Remember that tactile learners need to keep their hands busy, so give them something to write down or highlight during lessons that may be more auditory or visual in nature.
Look for lesson activities that include hands-on projects such as sculptures, crafts, models, or the ability to act out what is being discussed.
One of my favorite ways to help memorization is repetitive movement like jumping on a trampoline, bouncing a ball, jumping rope, etc. as it engages their brain!
Discover Your Child’s Learning Style
Every child learns differently, and excels when provided with instruction that meets their learning style head-on. Discovering your child’s learning style isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think. But once you do, how do you figure out how to turn that knowledge into teaching magic?
Start by taking a Learning Style Assessment which will not only identify how your child learns but also provide practical, real world strategies to take teaching to the next level. As a bonus, you will also receive an ebook with over 90 pages of tips, tools, and insights to help you better understand how your homeschooler learns.
And stay tuned for our next blog on understanding Learning Styles! We have even more tips, tools and resources coming your way to help your student develop a love for learning.