One big step toward homeschooling successfully is determining your child’s learning style. Most kids have a natural bent toward one of four main learning styles, which means they take in and retain information more effectively when it is received in one of four ways to which they are naturally inclined.
Like personality styles, few people are 100% any given style, but most lean heavily toward one or two than toward the others.
There are four main learning styles: kinesthetic, visual, auditory, and tactile.
Kinesthetic learners are your active, hands-on kids. They learn best through movement and activity. These are the kids who learn through doing and tend to be good at sports, dance, and drama.
They will have a hard time sitting still and may fidget while working. They often like to do two things at once, like listening to music while they study. Kinesthetic learners may be able to focus better sitting on a stability ball while they work.
Being active can help their memorization. For example, these kids may do better practicing their spelling words while bouncing on a mini-trampoline, rather than trying to sit still. Sitting still may actually make it harder for them to pay attention.
Visual learners take in information best through ways that they can see – images (videos, plays), drawings, diagrams, maps, and colors. Drawing pictures to remember vocabulary words or making diagrams to cement math facts are helpful tools for visual learners.
These are the kids who learn well by taking notes, making lists, highlighting key concepts, and sketching out ideas. They need it to be quiet to study and learn. I found it interesting that reading is not a key method of learning for visual learners. Reading happens in the language center of the brain, making it auditory, rather than visual.
An interesting note from Learning Abled Kids:
“Not all visual learners have dyslexia, but all children with dyslexia are visual learners.”
Auditory learners learn though – you guessed it! – sound. These are the kids who do well with lectures and read-alouds. They probably like to talk and listen to music. They’re the kids who do well putting facts to music to study for a test and who respond well to oral directions.
Auditory learners may read out loud to themselves when trying to understand something. They tend to be good with words or language and are abstract, conceptual thinkers.
Tactile learners are often lumped with kinesthetic learners because they, too, are hands-on. The difference is that tactile learners learn best through exploring with their senses.
Tactile learners are the kids who like to manipulate things – blocks, math manipulatives, models, and puzzle pieces. These kids learn by doing and touching. Good tactile teaching tips include letting a child “write” out their spelling words with their finger on sandpaper or in shaving cream, using beans as counters when practicing math skills, or building salt-dough maps when studying geography.
Learning Style Assessments
Now that you are familiar with the four basic learning styles, you probably have an idea which one best suits your child. However, if you’re still wondering, The Way They Learn is a highly recommended book.
I hope this gives you a bit more insight into how your child learns best. Next we’ll tackle one of the big hindrances to new homeschoolers – the naysayers. Those skeptical friends and family members can make even the most independent-thinking person doubt herself. We’ll talk about how to handle the questions with grace and confidence.
This post contains affiliate links.