If you are considering homeschooling then the most important first step you can take when preparing to plan is discovering what type of students you have in your home. Learning styles and homeschooling methods vary from family to family but they can also vary from child to child. In our home, we currently have two children who we consider “school-age”. Our oldest (Princess) is entering first grade while our middle (Wild Child) is entering PreK4. They share some similar traits but overall their learning capabilities and preferences are vastly different making choosing the correct curriculum methods for our family even more important.
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Types of Learning Styles
- Auditory –listening to someone speak on the subject
- Kinesthetic – participating in a hands-on activity
- Reading/Writing –reading about the subject or taking notes
- Visual – watching someone else perform a task
Princess has always been a talker and a mover. When glancing over HSLDA’s guide to learning styles, it quickly becomes apparent that we have an auditory learner on our hands. She loves to communicate verbally, easily remembers facts through songs, spells and reads best when sounding out words aloud, and engages best in a quiet environment with lots of verbal praise. One area where she excels through physical activity though is math. Our Princess needs manipulatives to work with in order to complete most addition or subtraction worksheets while also saying them aloud to herself as she processes the information.
Wild Child is most obviously a kinesthetic learner meaning she does best when she is on the go and learning through touch. This could tie into her age or this could end up truly being who she is. Never be afraid to let your teaching styles and homeschooling methods grow with your students! Helping them learn how to retain information permanently is much more important than simply having them inhale facts that they will soon forget. We want to aim for absorption, not memorization.
How We Apply This
Knowing the types of learning styles we need to focus on helps me choose how we set up our days and which curriculums we use. We have chosen to stick with an eclectic approach meaning instead of using a boxed set or a strict plan, we pull from several sources and prepare our own unit studies. Sometimes we spend entire days shuffling through DVDs singing the songs and applying the concepts. This keeps both girls engaged and learning without leaving me burnt out and overwhelmed. It’s a win/win! Some great DVDs to check out would be LeapFrog, Magic School Bus, and Schoolhouse Rock. (I tend to stick with the classics for our DVDs!)
A Quick Reminder
This is what works best for our family but it may not be best for your home. Remember that just because you start out with one set of goals, a clear path, and a firm belief of how you want your days to go, you are not a failure if you change it up! I originally saw us basically replicating public school and had no idea our journey would lead us to where we are. Our children are all different! How boring would it be if we denied them their basic freedoms, squashed their personalities, and forced them to follow a single learning path? How would we continue to bring new poets, artists, doctors, veterinarians, chemists, and sports stars into the world if we expected everyone to be the same?
Trust in your child as they trust in you and let them lead you towards the right path for your home. You may just be surprised at how well they flourish!
Looking for a quick quiz to find out your littles’ homeschool learning style? Then head on over to Scholastic to take their quick one and be sure to check out HSLDA’s complete checklist. Wondering about the Blended Learning technique? Find out more in this great article!
Need help with planning homeschool and where to start? Let us help you!