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Learning Styles and the Home Schooler '- Part I of III

What Style Of Learner Is Your Child? Why is it important to determine your child's personal learning style? Why and how you should adjust your curriculum to suit your child particular learning style? These are a few of the questions this report will answer.

Before we begin, it's time to pat yourself on the back because you are your child's hero! As the primary educator of your child, you have taken on the most challenging and important job in the world.

In this report you will learn how to evaluate your child's individual learning style so you can adjust your teaching style to their particular ways of receiving and processing information. As a result of your efforts you will create a child with a life-long love of learning! Knowing a little bit about learning styles can help you make adjustments in your curriculum to zero in on the particular learning style that is best suited to your child and help you create the most effective learning environment FOR them. This report was developed by leading educators in the field of early childhood development and early childhood education.

The benefit of directing curriculum to the specific style of the student has always been seen as valuable. But this type of individualized program is not practical in our overcrowed public schools system so as a result they have adopted the one-size-fits-all methods. But you are not tied to that antiquated idea. You are in the unique position to adjust and adapt your curriculum to create the best education for your child.

Knowledge is power... It is the greatest gift you can give your child.

This is part I of a three part report. You must start with this premise...

Everyone receives and processes information (thus learns) by four basic but very different means. Finding the right one for your child is key to making the best educational environment for them and a successful teaching experience for you.

First Consider... Which characteristics best describes your child?

VISUAL (reading)

* This type of student receives information best through their eyes 'what they see and read. * Many times this student will teach themselves to read. * They prefer color illustrations and materials that have charts and graphs inside them. * They often "see" the words. * They use words as see, picture, and see, and like descriptive scenes or pause to imagine the actions. * They like books with bright pictures. * They like demonstrations, picture, diagrams, slides, or posters. * They like face to face personal meetings, might forget names but will remember the situation. * When they are not given visual cues they get distracted and frustrated.

AUDITORY (listening)

* This type of student learns best by hearing things, either recorded in an active discussion. * They sound-out words and require the phonics approach to reading. * They enjoy listening but interrupt often and are impatient for their turn to talk. * They forget faces but remember names and what they talked about. * They use words like hear, tune and think. * They go around singing or humming. * They prefer using the telephone to face to face meetings, and enjoy dialog and conversation. * They want to hear characters as they study them. * They prefer verbal instructions or talking about them with someone. * They are highly distractible by sound or noises.

TACTILE/KINESTHETIC (moving/doing) * This type of student NEEDS to have physical contact with things that they are learning about. * They use gestures and expressive movements. * They use words like feel, touch, and hold. * They write down words to see if they feel right. * They NEED to move around and demonstrate what they are learning. * They prefer working with their hands (clay, paper Mache, blocks etc,). * They have conversations as they are walking or participating in an activity. * They prefer action stories. * They are generally not avid readers. * They tend to jump right in to a situation without thinking things through. * They ignore directions and want to figure it out as they go. * They try the same incorrect method over and over again, get completely frustrated, but blame someone/something else. * This type of student reminds us of the term "energy in motion".

SOCIAL (one-on-one)

* This student learns by interacting with other people. * They can be anyone of the previous types of learners, but continually need one-on-one attention or they get distracted, frustrated and stop the task. * They depend on joint projects and activities to keep them focused and moving. * They need individual attention. * They like to talk about everything they are studying. * They might be seen as lazy. But are usually very intelligent, only prefer being led. * They are not self starters, but are great in a "brainstorming" situation. * They are oriented to what "people will think".

Once you have discovered how your child (best) receives the information you are in the position to adjust your curriculum to meet that style.

For example: if they favor "auditory" learning 'listening to a book on tape or reading a book out loud may fit their needs.

Or if they are social learners, discuss the material with them, or form book clubs with other home schoolers who are social learners. For the visual learner looking at maps, as they read or watching a movie about the material maybe the answer. I am sure you know how to pique and keep the interest of your particular child and can make adjustments in their curriculum.

But is very important that once you realize what style is best for your child that you do not abandon the other methods of learning. For example, if your child is a auditory learner do not just have them listen to the material, have them listen while they read in the book. Sometimes learning styles change and sometimes they will have to use a less desirable style, because it's the only way the material is available... so don't just teach to one method but blend techniques to create the best learning environment for your child.

A world class memory is fundamental to all learning. Give your child the gift of a lifetime and teach them memory skills.

In parts 2 and 3 you will learn how other factors can effect styles and learning and how to further tweak your curriculum to create the best learning environment for your child.

About the Author
Pam Connolly is a professional educator with the San Diego School District. She has been teaching kids how to type for over 11 years.

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