Does your child love to talk, sing, and does she have fantastic verbal skills? Or, does your child have a vivid imagination, easily recognizes faces and places, and is she a whiz with directions and maps? Or, maybe your child uses his hands a lot to communicate, was an early walker, and is a great athlete!
You know and study your child 24/7, so you naturally know her ways of rolling through life. But, did you know that these observations can tell you a lot about how to choose the best curriculum for her? Well, they do!
These observations about your child point to what are commonly known as “Learning Preferences.” (And, they really are superpowers for learning.) And, knowing your child’s learning preferences can help you select curriculum and guide your homeschool planning.
In fact, learning preferences can actually help organize her home education to enhance learning, improve attitudes (yes!), and help everyone enjoy the educational process more! (And, who doesn’t want more of that!?)
Believe it or not, considering learning preferences can also save you money!
How? Because knowing your kid’s learning preference can help you visualize how he best absorbs, comprehends, and retains the learning—so, for example, you can resist that beautiful jingle memorization curriculum if your child really needs to see it on a page.
So then, what are the learning preferences?
Honestly, there are several different ways to categorize them. Typically, you’ll find them listed in a set of three, four, or seven. And while “learning preferences” is the current term educators use, you may sometimes see them still referred to as “learning styles.” Check out the samples below and see which resonates best with you and your child.
The most common learning preference lists contain the VAK types:
Or the VARK list which adds reading/writing:
If you’re curious, here’s a simple VARK quiz to give your kids to take for themselves.
More recent science has expanded this list of three to seven and here’s a helpful infographic summarizing each of the Seven Learning Preferences.
So, you can imagine how knowing your child’s preferences would translate into curriculum and co-op choices. For example:
- If your child is auditory, he may really love that jingle approach to memorization instead of flash cards.
- Or, if your child is a visual learner, then they might do well with video lessons that would drive your fidgety, always-moving kinesthetic learner crazy!
Of course, everyone is unique, and your child’s gonna display a mix of these learning preferences. But this is a great place to start looking for patterns that can guide your teaching and curriculum choices for her.
Interestingly, these learning preferences often reflect your child’s ‘intelligence type” as well. For example:
- If your child prefers an auditory type of learning, she likely has notable musical smarts.
- Or if your child prefers a kinesthetic approach to learning, he likely has body smarts that may make him a great athlete!
See the connections?
It’s fun to identify your child’s learning preference and smarts—and they love to hear you praise them for their uniqueness! It is their superpower! Here’s more on multiple intelligences and learning preferences.
And here’s a quiz you can take to help identify intelligences and learning preferences.
One word of caution and common sense, though: obviously, the world we live in requires we use multiple intelligences and learning preferences every day. I mean, you can’t learn to cook by only reading the cookbook and never assembling ingredients or using a pan on the stove or in the oven!
And, thankfully, intelligence is not fixed—it’s always growing and changing. It’s important to give your child a variety of learning experiences—because it helps him become well-rounded and flexible!
So, don’t feel you need to be a slave to your child’s preferences. Simply keep them in mind as you plan.
Now, on to the next step! Check out several ways to figure out your teaching style.