When we first began homeschooling, one new startling discovery I made was how very different my daughter Heather and I were in the way we learned things – our learning styles. Heather learned best by seeing and hearing, and I am a visual, hands-on learner. Our daughter Leah is primarily a hands-on learner. I had to adjust my way of teaching to THEIR learning style!
Here is a simplified way of explaining learning styles, from this website: http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm
Visual learner – They learn through seeing. They have to see the teacher’s face and body to understand the lesson and learn. They like to sit in front of the class to avoid having their vision obstructed (people’s heads, etc.) They learn best through seeing pictures, flip charts, videoes, illustrated books, etc. I have to read something, to see it, to understand it completely.
Auditory learner – They learn best through hearing. Lectures, talking things through, and discussions are the best way for these people to learn. Reading a book won’t help them much until it’s heard out loud. Using a tape recorder and reading text out loud will benefit him the most. Our daughter Heather used to read her assignments out loud.
Kinesthetic/tactile (hands-on) learner – You parents know the kid. They have to touch EVERYTHING in the store. But this is the way they learn. They learn by moving, doing, and touching – they are the ones who won’t ever sit still. A traditional school classroom would probably drive them (and the teacher) crazy!Our youngest daughter Leah was this way. One way I helped her to learn her abc’s as a toddler was by letting her draw the abc’s with her finger in flour, poured into a plastic, rectangular tupperware tub. She LOVED doing this, and it really helped her to learn her alphabet! Of course we did other things, too, for learning her letters and numbers.
It’s important that we parents know our children’s learning style when we homeschool. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it”This verse is emphasizing the responsibility of the parents to train their children. We use God’s word as the standard for training them, but according to the original Hebrew of this text, it’s a very strong connotation and literally says, “Train up a child in the way he should go and according to the measure of his way.”
The word “way” is the Hebrew word derek, which can mean journey, habit, or bending a bow to launch an arrow. An arrow only goes in one direction! In the article Knowing Your Child, J. Hampton Keathley points out possibly serious consequences to the child, if the parent doesn’t truly understand his or her child’s natural bent:
“If the person using the bow does not recognize the way the bow is bent and tries to bend it differently, he will not only face a difficult task, but he may break the bow. In like manner, parents need to recognize the way their child is bent, both by the way God has designed them and by the way sin has affected them. If a parent fails to recognize this, they may also fail to help their child get launched into God’s orbit or plan for their life.” (http://bible.org/seriespage/principle-nature-knowing-your-child)
Also, it is very helpful for parents to study and understand the different types of personality (Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic — http://www.amazon.com/Personality-Plus-Understand-Understanding-ebook/dp/B001QS9TCK/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1272464177&sr=8-12, as well as a study of the multiple intelligences. http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm#types%20of%20Multiple%20Intelligence
As homeschooling parents, it is our responsibility to love, take care of, know, and understand our children. Let’s start today by doing a study on learning styles, temperaments, and multiple intelligences. What is your child’s (children’s) learning style? How can you tell? What books, resources, and supplemental sources work best in teaching your children?