What’s Your Child’s Learning Style?
Seventeen years ago I began a homeschooling journey with a just-barely-five-year-old who could already read fluently and would quietly and efficiently complete any task I set before her, and a not-quite-four-year-old monkey. (Oh, and I also had a two-year-old and an infant.)
Having read and been inspired by The Well-Trained Mind, I was ready to embark on a Classical education. My oldest was with me. My second, not so much.
We persisted through a couple of very difficult years before I realized that there was no way I would ever in a million years be able to squeeze my second child into my plans. In the end, we found a homeschool method that was light years better for my family. And I also learned a whole lot about myself!
But that’s a story for another day.
Today I want to talk about how knowing (and honoring) your child’s learning style will make your job as a homeschooler easier and more enjoyable, and how it will make learning infinitely better for your child. If your child has felt frustrated or beaten down by homeschooling, understanding his learning style should help.
What are the different learning styles?
A child’s learning style refers to the way in which the he processes, understands and retains information. It’s important to note that it’s very rare for anyone to be a single learning style. Most people are a combination of two or more learning styles, but will typically have one dominant learning style.
All of the learning style modalities focus on three main categories: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual refers to learning by watching or seeing; auditory means to learn through hearing; kinesthetic is to learn actively, by doing something.
- Visual learners learn best by seeing things. Children who are visual learners tend to appreciate copywork, highlighting key information in the textbook, writing notes, watching videos and flashcards. You can also learn easily from graphics, posters, charts, maps, and photographs.
- Auditory learners do best by hearing things. They learn well by listening to lectures, repeating facts verbally, asking questions, participating in group discussions, and explaining the subject matter to another student.
- Kinesthetic learners need to experience things in order to learn about them. They are often challenged by traditional academic environments — sitting in a desk, listening and writing. They learn best by making models, visiting museums, hands-on activities and experiments, and anything physical.
Why is it important to know your child’s learning style?
A child’s learning style will influence his behavior and his learning. Learning will happen much more efficiently and effectively when children are able to learn in their preferred learning style. Their levels of comprehension and motivation will also increase.
A child’s academic performance will be improved as he learns about his own learning style, because he’ll be able to take control of his own learning. He’ll understand how to apply his preferred learning techniques to help himself learn in the best way possible.
With some children, their learning style is readily apparent. I knew right from the start that my monkey boy was not a traditional learner and I was pretty sure that he would have had to have been medicated in order to succeed in a traditional classroom. Thank goodness we were homeschooling!
But with some kids it’s harder to identify a dominant learning style. If you’ve been homeschooling awhile, you’ve probably noticed that your child loves some learning activities and hates others — that should be a clue. If you’re just getting started, you’ll have to watch the way your child reacts to storytime, playtime and other interactions.
Complete the following learning style quiz, once for each of your children. Or if you have older children, it’s very effective to have them take the quiz themselves. Once you’ve identified a dominant learning style, head over to the Homeschool Style Quiz and figure our your ideal homeschool method.
Take this short quiz to figure out your child’s dominant learning style!
Remember that this is a basic learning style quiz and not a professional VAK Profile. You can find more detailed, professional learning style assessments online if you want to study this farther.
Several of these quiz questions aren’t school related, because I wanted it to be geared toward homeschool parents and those with younger children. You’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of your child’s learning style just by how he approaches daily life, because life and learning are inseparably intertwined.
I encourage you to complete this quiz for yourself, too! It’s helpful to know where you’re coming from as the homeschool parent. You’ll be able to see why you teach the way you do, because that usually stems from the way you prefer to learn.
This 20-question quiz will just take a few minutes. Have fun!
After taking the learning style quiz, head on over and take the homeschool style quiz. It will help you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible!
Did you take the quiz for yourself? What’s your learning style? Do you find it meshes well with your children’s learning styles?