As we begin our homeschooling year, it’s good to remember that our kids don’t always learn in the way that makes the most logical sense to us personally. Every person is unique and these learning styles models can play a big part in understanding how to best educate our children.
In my last post, I started discussing some of the different learnings styles models Cynthia Ulrich Tobias covers in her book The Way They Learn. Here are two more ways of approaching learning styles.
This learning styles model covers strategies for helping a child to remember the content he has been taught.
There are three modes of sensory perception (ways of taking in information): auditory, visual, and kinesthetic.
1) Auditory kids learn by listening to verbal instructions; remembering by forming the sounds of words.
It took me until my fourth kid to get an auditory learner. It’s wonderful!! I spent years reading books aloud to my first three children, and giving them verbal instructions, and then wondered if they heard anything I said. I never realized how often I repeated myself until I finally got an auditory learner. He often says to me, “Mom, you said that already.” Why, yes! Yes I did! Bless you, son, for hearing it the first time!! I am really enjoying having an auditory learner in my house.
Tips from Tobias to help the auditory learner:
- Drill verbally
- Put information in a rhythmic pattern (poetry, song, rap)
- Read aloud, and maybe even record voice to replay
- Minimize visual distractions in the study area
2) Visual kids learn by seeing and watching, using strong visual associations.
My oldest daughter is a visual learner and she will often draw pictures on vocabulary flash cards, or as a visual mnemonic on paper, to help her remember things.
Tips from Tobias to help the visual learner:
- Give them bright colors and large spaces to draw or write
- Take notes or doodle while listening
- Underline or highlight information so they can draw their own picture to associate with facts, letters, or words
3) Kinesthetic kids learn by becoming physically involved and actually doing something with what’s being learned. Even just pacing or standing up to move around at times helps these kids.
My child who is more kinesthetic loves to act out things. She will make up hand-motions to help remember scripture verses, for example.
Tips from Tobias to help the kinesthetic learner:
- Take frequent study breaks
- Offer big spaces to read or write
- Offer action-filled stories
- Have them write notes or highlight information while listening
No one is restricted to one modality of strength. It is possible that more than one of these modalities work to help a certain child remember information.
This learning styles model recognizes that there are different ways to be smart. Tobias covers seven different types of intelligence in her book.
The first two types of intelligence in this list are easily tested on traditional academic assessments and students with high abilities in those areas are considered to be bright. But those tests only paint a partial picture, according to Tobias.
Here are the seven types of intelligence mentioned in The Way They Learn:
- Linguistic: This has to do with verbal abilities. Linguistically intelligent children tend to be good at reading, writing, speaking, and debating.
- Logical-mathematical: This has to do with abilities in numbers, patterns, and logical reasoning.
- Spatial: This has to do with the ability to think in vivid mental pictures, re-creating or restructuring a given image or situation. A child with good spatial intelligence has a natural ability to see what something could be as easily as what it is.
- Musical: This has to do with having a natural rhythm and melody, understanding music and appreciating nuances in music more than most.
- Bodily-kinesthetic: This has to do with having a high degree of ability in bodily movement or physical activity.
- Interpersonal: This involves the gift of understanding, appreciating, and getting along well with other people. These people have a sixth sense when it comes to reading another person.
- Intrapersonal: This involves a natural gift of understanding ourselves, knowing who and what we are, and how we fit into the greater scheme of the universe. It often expresses itself in solitude and meditation.
Meet my auditory learner (on the left) and my kinesthetic learner (on the right).
I love thinking about how different children can be intelligent in different ways. As a parent, I like to imagine how my children can use their own unique strengths, and then find ways in our homeschooling to capitalize on their strengths.
“No single test can ever measure or predict a person’s intelligence,” Tobias says. “Everyone can win when given a chance to show how they are smart.”
Photo Credit: iStock. Following image courtesy of author.