I hear this same complaint a lot from homeschool moms “my kids hate doing school” or “my daughter just isn’t learning” sound familiar? This is a common struggle we have all shared at least once or twice or 5 billion times throughout the span of our homeschooling. So just know that you are not alone. And I have a suspicion that knowing your children’s learning styles may be the culprit.
Teaching to Your Children’s Learning Styles Builds Confidence
We want our kids to “get it” and enjoy the learning process. They aren’t going to love everything but if we teach to their individual learning style it becomes a lot easier for them and us.
Public schools tend to have a set curriculum for all the students. They have one way to teach and everyone has to learn that way. It’s kinda like trying to put a square peg in a circle hole. The squares cannot thrive because they are forced to be a circle.
Homeschooling is a safe place to allow our kids to be themselves, learn the way they thrive and even slowly build skills of the learning styles that aren’t their dominant way of learning. Yet another benefit of homeschooling – we can teach to their learning style and build their confidence to learn.
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What Are the Different Learning Styles?
There are several different learning styles. But we are going to discuss the four most common learning styles today. Visual/Spatial Learners, Auditory Learners, Tactile Learners, and Kinesthetic Learners. Just like with personality, no one is usually completely 100% one learning style. Usually at least two with one being their dominant style.
I found a lot of excellent resources that go even deeper than these learning styles so look for links to that below. Also, look for some great tools and quizzes you can use to find out what your children’s learning styles are.
Learning Style #1 – Visual/Spatial Learners
You ever heard the term seeing is believing? Well, these kiddos learn by seeing. They are also known as lookers. They love lots of pretty colors and pictures and thrive with visually strong material. A lot of times these kids will learn to read easier by using the whole word method AKA learning by sight, instead of the most common method of sounding out the word AKA phonics. Check out this article for 12 Ways to Teach Your Visual Learner to learn more.
A visual learner may…
- Function best when they “see” what you want them to do.
- Be on the quiet side and often need to be coerced into answering questions.
- Like to look neat and be color-coordinated.
- Like to look away or stare out the window while listening and processing the information
- Take lots of notes even if you give them a handout for the assignment.
- Have a large reading vocabulary at an early age, particularly their sight words.
- Easily remember where things are and like to keep things organized.
- Assemble most things without help from the instructions.
- Will catch your typographical errors and often recognize if they’ve read something before.
- Like to watch tv or read a book in their free time
- Doodle on note paper while they talk.
- Have stacks and piles of stuff everywhere
- Are very aware of spatial relationships creating well-spaced graphs, diagrams, and drawings.
- Pay attention to the details and often find items lost by others.
- Have a vivid imagination.
- Are easily distracted by visual objects.
Learning Style #2 – Auditory Learners
These kids may like to talk and often will sit and have long drawn out conversations about a specific topic. They learn well by being read to and are typically good listeners. They may need some noise canceling headphones to drowned out the background noise because they get easily distracted by sounds. You could also try making sure they have a quiet place to do their schoolwork or having them listen to some soft music with headphones while working.
Types of teaching materials for these learners would be audiobooks, readalouds, and videos. They tend to understand things better while reading if they read it aloud instead of silently reading. My auditory learner struggled with math so we switched to CTCmath and now she’s thriving. Read alouds work well for this learner too that’s why we love Sonlight so many amazing read alouds. These books have become our favorites.
These are the…
- Love to talk and can seriously “talk your ear off.”
- Easily remember songs, poems, and commercials.
- Keep a rhythm easily
- Sing beautifully
- Remember the names of people they’ve met or heard about.
- Easily be distracted by background noises.
- Express themselves well verbally.
- Like to talk their problems out.
- Enjoy listening to music or audiobooks in their spare time.
- Be not so good at tests because they sometimes struggle to sort out visual material fast enough.
- Enjoy verbal praise.
- Sound out words and are likely phonetic spellers.
- Do well with phonetic reading programs.
- Find it easy to follow directions given verbally.
- Enjoy reading out loud.
- Be Sensitive to loud noises – fireworks, dogs barking, loud music etc.
Learning Style #3 – Tactile
Tactile learners are doers they love to work with their hand and get into legos, puzzles, building models, play with Playdoh etc. Hands on activities work well for these kiddos, like projects, crafts, drawing and experiments. They respond best to being able to touch and manipulate materials. If you suspect you have a tactile learner look at this list of 21 Teaching Ideas for Tactile Learners. My tactile learner is always making something. She can find scraps and make something amazing out of it.
Your Tactile Learner May…
- Constantly touching and feeling everything they see or walk past.
- Are excellent at taking things apart and putting them back together.
- Respond better to a “pat on the back” than to “stickers” or a nice comment.
- Like to try things out by touching and feeling.
- Like to manipulate things – Legos and manipulatives or models, and puzzles.
Learning Style #4 -Kinesthetic Learners
Note: Kinesthetic and Tactile learners have a lot of similarities and are often compared they tend to enjoy the same types of learning activities – they are both doers. I’ve noticed that some articles even bundle them together calling the learner Kinesthetic/Tactile learner. This is true, but I think there are so many different aspects that I wanted to seperate them so you can see the differences and similarities.
Kinesthetic Learners are also doers, but in a more active sense of the word. They love to run, jump, play, wrestle you name it if it’s active they are doing it. These kiddos are the movers and the shakers. They are the wiggly untamed child that doesn’t like to sit still at all. I have one of these kids too. Before I found out that it was just part of who she was I fought and fought to make her sit still while I was reading to her. When I realized that this was just her learning style I started to allow her to do things while I read to her and what a huge difference it made.
You may try having them do handstands or jumping jacks at the same time as they are practicing their spelling words. They love to do a lot of the same as the tactile learner too, so keep that in mind. Brain breaks work well too. I love this list of 54 Brain Breaks to Boost Your Homeschool day.
Benjamin Franklin once said,
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Maybe Ben was talking about this type of learner.
The Kinesthetic Learner May…
- Seem like they have to be in constant motion, don’t like to sit still; sometimes labeled hyperactive.
- Show anger physically (i.e., by stomping feet or slamming doors).
- Find “listening” a challenge.
- Are mostly distracted when they have to be still.
- Like to be playing, jumping, running, and anything else active in their free time.
- Have excellent muscle coordination and balancing skills.
- Respond better to a “pat on the back” than to “stickers” or a nice comment.
- Relate more comfortably in action and body than in words.
- Talk using a lot of gestures or facial expressions
- Excel by taking often, but frequent brain breaks
Learning Style Quizzes
- Learning Style Quiz (10 Questions) – Hip Homeschooling
- What’s Your Learning Style (20 Questions) – EducationPlanner.org
- Multiple Intelligence Assessment – Edutopia.org
Other Learning Styles Resources Worth Noting
- Learning Style Series by Debra Bell (Active, Routine, Focused or Global Learner) Based on Dr. Golay’s Research.
- Gardner’s Multiple Intellegence Theory – Learningabledkids.com
Finding your children’s learning style may not solve all of your homeschool stuggles, but why not give it a shot?
What Kind Of Learning Styles Do You Suspect Your Kids Have?
This is day 4 of my Homeschooling 101 Blog series! I’m so glad you are here! Oh and don’t forget join the exclusive Facebook Group to chat it up with our bloggers, ask questions and just be a part of our amazing and growing community!
Up next Gena Mayo of MusicInOurHomeschool.com will several simple ways to incorporate music education in your homeschool.
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