Identifying learning and personality styles is really where homeschooling gets fun. For homeschooling moms like me, customized is the best reason to home-school. When you tailor your home-school to your child’s learning style and personality, you have the power to handcraft an education that excites your child and engages them in their own learning. When you add individualized education to your child’s favorite subjects you make rocket fuel.
Traditional learning environments often cater to a singular learning style and personality. “Rule-follower” children who learn easily from following instructions thrive. Adventurous children are too often “challenging” for their teachers. While quiet and reserved children easily get lost. When parents build the schoolhouse, exploration, adventure and personal interests are easily incorporated into lesson planning. Tactile learning through reflection, experimentation, dialogue, art, and play is the foundation of your day.
How to Identify Your Child’s Learning Style
Spend a day or two observing the sensory input your child relies on most. A child that hangs onto your every word or “talks to himself” is likely an auditory learner. One that wants to see everything and uses the phrases like “show me” or “let me see” frequently is probably a visual learner. If your child takes her toys apart, grabs at everything, enjoys playing in mud and dirt, runs her fingers over the walls or can’t resist touching things in stores, she is most certainly a tactile or kinesthetic learner.
Once you’ve identified your child’s learning style, adapt your methodology. Learning how to multiply? The auditory learner will thrive with songs, poems, and raps. A visual or artistic learner? Try the right brain approach which uses embedded pictures and story to teach facts. An artist or budding novelist? Even better, create a school day assignment where your child illustrates the times tables and creates a silly story for each math fact. Kinesthetic learner? A big ole bag of Skittles, M&M’s, peanuts, pretzels, grapes or Craisens will do. Skittles work wonders in my house since these treats are usually relegated to a few days following Halloween and Easter.
Consider Your Child’s Personality
Homeschooling to your child’s personality is a huge advantage. Last summer I purchased outdoor furniture expressly for our home-school. My oldest daughter LOVES working outside. The sunshine, fresh air, and green space really open her mind. When“focus challenged,” we ride bikes for 30-45 minutes…then start school after we’ve worked off some energy. At Morgan Prep, school starts between 9:00-10:00 because we aren’t our best in early morning hours.
My girls love lessons taught in context of real-world value. Last week, we saw some really cool snack/drink cups, discounted by 70%, at Michael’s. I promised to purchase them IF they accurately determined the price. Voila, a real-world mental math lesson on fractions, percentages, multiplication, subtraction. Best yet, they learned “why” we need to learn math.
My youngest is an eager self-motivated learner. Even as a preschool student, she happily worked through entire workbooks in a few days’ time. As a second grader, she completed an entire year’s worth of readers in 7 weeks. Catering to her learning strengths is easy. I simply let her choose interesting reading material that is several years beyond her grade level.
Learning Style + Personality = AMAZING SCIENCE
A couple years ago, Science Sabbath was our favorite weekend activity. Science Sabbath is a highly interactive program designed with easily distracted and curious children’s interest and personalities in mind. I wanted science to be a sensory rich and fun experience. To add to the fun, we invited sixteen other kids to join us. A fun mix of home-schoolers, public schoolers, private schoolers, and their parents participated in our science fun. Science Sabbath was a win for everyone. As a working mom, the weekend program gave me an opportunity to teach my children. My girls loved playing and learning with other children and families enjoyed engaging with each other. The “lectures” came to life with child-made models, experiments, interactive games and short science cartoons.
Friends, lunch and “play” turned science into an event that everyone looked forward to. Parents bonded, children had a great time and everyone learned A LOT about science. In six months time, science became the favorite subject of many the students….and they were begging for more.
Building your children’s education around their personalities and learning styles reduces academic stress and breathes life into learning. It creates positive associations with learning experiences and that pays in dividends. With a little effort, you can transform history, science and writing into engaging and entertaining fun that leaves your kids begging for more. Isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what the joy of learning is about? Knowing that children who have fun learning love to learn IS your secret weapon. ….THAT alone is well worth the effort.