Sunday, August 17, 2008

Find Out Your Child's Learning Style

How does your child learn? It is important to discover your child's primary learning style if you are about to start a home schooling program. You will be able to help your child increase their enjoyment of learning if you know how they learn best.

There are three main learning styles - Visual, Auditory and kinesthetic.

Visual: Normal school learning is usually aimed at visual learners. Children who are primarily visual learners frequently see what they read or are told in a series of pictures or mental images. These children will be mostly quite fairly well organized in their schoolwork or habits. They may spend hours absorbed in a picture book or watching television if allowed. They will often be called 'imaginative' and love painting, drawing and crafts. The educational system is aimed at this kind of learning and so these children usually do well in a regular school. But the visual learner who wants to concentrate on artistic pursuits, for example, will have more opportunities to pursue his interests in a home school setting because of the flexibility of schedule.

Auditory: Children that are primarily auditory learners will have no trouble listening to and remembering a list of instructions. They will be happy to listen to a cassette tape without needing to look at pictures too. They will enjoy working along with the sound of music and usually have no trouble memorizing the words of songs. Actually, they are able to memorize almost anything if you put it to music. My daughter had some visual issues when she was really young, and was slow to learn to read. Because of this, she leaned heavily toward auditory learning, and enjoyed listening to books on tape that were way beyond her reading level, but that she easily understood. She also memorized astounding amounts of Scripture that was set to music from a very early age, and actually won an award in her AWANA club for memorizing 550 verses over a period of 7 years. Auditory learners make great university students, because they are able to absorb information through lectures.

Kinesthetic: kinesthetic learners are those who find it hard to sit still. They like to get their hands dirty - that is, they want to actually participate in the building of things, usually before reading the instructions. They will often figure out the way to do a thing quickly by experimenting with it, rather than sitting and listening to instructions on how to do it. My son's primary learning style is kinesthetic. When he was eight years old, he built a complex K'nex structure called a Power Tower Crane in two days with minimal attention to the directions. He also found a design flaw in it, and got into an argument with his engineer dad over whether it actually created a problem in the structure. These children often fall through the cracks at school because there is not a lot of opportunity for hands on learning. They are the ones who excel in the agricultural, woodshop, or home economics department - if there is one. Butchers, mechanics, carpenters and many other necessary tradesmen have been kinesthetic learners.

By careful observation, you will soon be able to determine which way your child learns best. Some children may be a combination of these learning types, but usually one type will be dominant. Many boys are kinesthetic learners, though of course some girls are too. Lots of girls are visual learners, but boys can be too. There is no hard and fast rule, so it is up to you to observe.

A learning styles test may also assist you as you try to identify your child's learning style. This particular test costs $8.95 to purchase and you can use Paypal to do so. There is no monetary benefit to me if you do or don't use this one. If you don't want to use this one, you can search for "learning styles test" and perhaps you will find a free one. I thought this one provided some interesting data. You can see my results here.

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