Unlocking Your Child’s Learning Style

Hey hey, let’s talk about learning styles! Were you aware that not all kids learn that same way? Imagine that! The idea that not all kids fit into the same pretty little box. This always makes me think of a cartoon newspaper clip (yesterday’s meme, right!) showing a monkey, a cat, a dog, and a fish in a fishbowl lined up next to a tree. The caption said “the world tells us the fish is less than because he cannot climb the tree” or something along those lines. The takeaway being: we’re all different creatures!

The fish has amazing abilities that just thrive in the right environment, just like your child.

I bet that dog feels pretty less-than when he can’t hold his breath under the water for more than 30 seconds. But we know with a visual like that, that the dog nor the fish are less than. Why is it so hard for us humans to separate children of differing abilities without slapping a label on them?

As we create tailored educational experiences for our children, it’s important to recognize that each child has a unique way of processing information and engaging with the world. We know that a traditional classroom is incapable of providing such personalized experience, which is a lot of the reason why we’ve chosen this path of home education. Some are just better at adapting. I, for one, LOVED school. I loved my ELA classes and actually enjoyed writing. My brother, on the other hand, couldn’t stand it. Writing wasn’t his strong suit, but guess what – he is an amazing artist and used to sit and draw for hours. He was a creative genius to me, and I was so jealous! I felt less than. 

In this article, we’ll explore these various learning styles and provide practical tips for incorporating them into your homeschooling approach, whatever that may be. Figuring this simple thing out could make for a smoother and more enjoyable homeschool experience for everyone involved. 🙂

Let’s dive in.

Kinesthetic Learners: Hands-on Explorers

Does your child love to move, touch, and experience things firsthand? If so, they might be a kinesthetic learner! For these active adventurers, incorporate hands-on activities like science experiments, building projects, or role-playing exercises. I’ve got three boys. I’m sure there’s some science somewhere that puts the majority of little boys in this category, but I’m just speaking from experience. My guys looove hands-on anything! When I told them we had an experiment that day, or that we were heading out to explore something a little differently than using a workbook or their regular curriculum, they lit up! We have so many of their “building projects” in our backyard, from teepee and shelter making competitions, mud kitchen building, and just random hammering of objects together.

I had one in Lego building classes at one point, and another in a special science class that only did experiments and chemical reactions. Another one that just loves cooking and experiencing the chemistry in baking! How cool is that??

Encourage them to take breaks for physical movement or use manipulatives (a fancy word for hands-on interactives like blocks, tangrams, or fraction strips) for math concepts. I use the same math curriculum for all my kiddos, and one just loves pulling out the manipulatives. He loves touching the little pieces and counting and building with them even though he can do the actual math in his head. He’s the same kid that rolls around all over the couch during read-aloud time. Embrace it all. Engage their senses through sensory bins, tactile materials, or even outdoor adventures that connect learning with movement.

Auditory Learners: Sound Seekers

If your child thrives on listening, speaking, and engaging in conversations, they may be an auditory learner. If they struggle to read a large textbook, or if they just downright get bored by reading for long periods of time, they may be an auditory learner! Foster their learning by incorporating audio resources like audiobooks (of the exact same textbook they didn’t care to read!), podcasts, or educational songs. Encourage discussions, debates, and verbal presentations. I have one who struggles to write down his thoughts sometimes, so when I’ve read something aloud to him, I often ask him to paraphrase it and summarize it back to me what he understood from our reading. This way, I know he’s listening and retaining the information, even if he isn’t writing summaries for me in a typical 5-paragraph outline. I can explore that method as he gets older, but for now, I am just making sure he is understanding and processing the information.

Create opportunities for them to listen to lectures, participate in group discussions, or practice speaking through presentations or storytelling. Consider recording lessons or using voice memos to reinforce learning through listening. 

Visual Learners: Imaginative Observers

Visual learners absorb information best through visual stimuli and imagery. Incorporate visual aids such as charts, graphs, diagrams, or colorful illustrations. Use mind maps, visual organizers, or infographics to help them grasp and remember concepts. Explore visual-rich resources like documentaries, educational videos, or virtual tours. Encourage them to create visual representations of their learning through drawing, art projects, or multimedia presentations. I’ve got visual learners as well! Who doesn’t love reinforcing what we read about with a cool documentary? I can read about the way an animal stalks another animal all day long, but to see it in a documentary in action, it sticks with visual learners a lot better! 

We’ve read about Benjamin Franklin many times, but the moment the boys saw a goofy reenactment of a comedically buff Ben Franklin flying a kite in a lightning storm, they have never forgotten that imagery. We’ve read Alice in Wonderland, but seeing it acted out in a real play sitting in real seats, watching a real person playing the part of the Cheshire Cat just stays with you longer if you are a visual learner. Are you starting to see the differences now?

Reading/Writing Learners: Wordsmiths at Heart

For those who excel in reading and writing, tap into their love for words. Provide ample reading materials like books, magazines, or online articles. Encourage them to keep a journal, write stories, or engage in creative writing exercises. All of my kids love reading, but they don’t all love writing. The 10 year old says it takes too long to write something out! My oldest however, when he was about 12, he wrote story after story after story. His imagination was always in overdrive and he wanted to get the words out. He would read chapter books and get ideas on how to write his own, and started his own chapter book series about a teenager spy!

Incorporate writing assignments, research projects, or reflective essays into their curriculum. Utilize online platforms for blogging or encourage them to join book clubs or writing communities to foster their passion for written expression. Make sure there is a balance here with assigning too many strict guidelines for writing assignments too quickly! Unless your child thrives on it, use writing assignments wisely – don’t make every book read a book-report-worthy book. That’s the quickest way to squash a love for reading/writing when every single thing is a “homeschool assignment.” 

Multimodal Learners: The Balanced Explorers

Many homeschoolers possess a combination of learning styles, known as multimodal learners. These learners benefit from a variety of teaching methods and modalities. Did you notice in every example above, I had a kid that learned that way? I don’t have that many kids – sometimes I was referring to the same kid! Embrace their versatility by offering a mix of activities that cater to different learning styles. Integrate hands-on projects, discussions, visual aids, and audio resources into their lessons. Cook together, talk about what you’re doing and what they learned when you mixed too much baking soda or forgot the yeast, watch a quick YouTube of someone cooking that thing, and then sit down and enjoy it together! THAT, my friend, is homeschooling. Allow them to explore and discover their preferred learning approaches, providing flexibility and options that cater to their diverse needs.

As homeschoolers, we have the wonderful opportunity to customize our children’s learning experiences to match their unique styles. By recognizing and embracing different learning styles, we can create engaging and effective educational environments. Remember, your homeschooler may exhibit a primary learning style or a combination of styles. Be open to experimentation and flexibility, allowing their curiosity to lead the way.

Celebrate their individuality, and together, you and your kiddo can ignite their love for learning by unlocking the potential of kinesthetic, auditory, visual, and other captivating learning styles.

Happy homeschooling, mama!

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