Knowing your child’s learning style makes homeschooling much easier. You’ll be able to create lessons that match your child’s learning style and teach in a manner that matches his style.
Homeschooling Auditory Learners
If your child is an auditory learner, he learns best by hearing. Try these techniques to help ensure your child understands what you are teaching.
- Using audio books. Listening to audio books is a fantastic tool for auditory learners. Audio books include sound effects that bring the story to life and help them understand the story better. As the child listens, have them follow along in their book. If you’re schooling other children at the same time and don’t want them to be distracted, consider having your learner use headphones. The library is a great place to find books on CD or cassette.
- Singing songs to help remember information. When I was a child, I learned and retained math, history, and grammar information by listening to and singing along with old Schoolhouse Rock Tunes. You can purchase the entire collection here, but if you’re looking for a source of free educational tunes, search YouTube to find songs related to a variety of subject areas.
- Allowing her to be the teacher. After you teach a lesson to your child, give her an opportunity to review what she’s learned by teaching the lesson back to you. Switching teacher and student roles is a fun way to check your child’s comprehension. To extend this technique even further, ask questions and have your child explain answers in as much detail as possible. Be sure to provide her with all the materials she’ll need (paper, books, charts, etc) she’ll need to teach effectively!
- Making use of choral reading. Choral reading is when a group reads a passage aloud together. Reading in this manner allows your learner to hear what is written and allows him an opportunity to process information more effectively. Choral reading allows the homeschool mom to adjust the reading pace, model proper pronunciation and expression, and practice rhythm and pattern. It also prevents the embarrassment that children sometimes experience when reading aloud alone. Moms can pair up with a child for choral reading or gather all her children together for a choral reading exercise.
- Offering oral reports and tests. Rather than ask your auditory learner to write a lengthy written report, have your child present an oral report. Talk with him about what he’s read. Teach him to use note cards to jot down bits of information. Allow him to address all the parts of his book report aloud. Add an extra dimension of understanding by allowing him to dress up as a book character. When testing an auditory learner on math fact or spelling words, consider allowing him to give the answers and spell words aloud.
- Engaging in a debate. Another great way to check your child’s comprehension of a specific topic is by debating the issue. After teaching a specific topic, support the auditory learner by discussing the issue aloud. As you talk, take notes. Allow your child to choose a side of the issue and politely share points of view via a debate. The girlies recently shared a spirited debate about which was better, traditional books or e-readers like the Kindle. This is one of our favorite ways to study history and books.
Homeschooling Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners
Kinesthetic or tactile learners like to touch things and move around. Here are some tips for teaching tactile learners.
- Take frequent breaks. No one knows your child better than you. When she begins to show signs of weariness, take a short break. If you try to unleash too much information at once, your child won’t be able to fully process what you’ve taught. Plan your day so that it includes regular break times.
- Provide opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. Begin the day with a burst of physical activity to help the kids get the “wiggles” out. Start off with a round of morning exercises including stretching, jumping jacks, or jogging in place. If the weather permits, let the kids run around outside for a bit after lunch. In the afternoon, take a short walk.
- Let your child lie on the floor or couch during instruction. This is one of things I most enjoy about homeschooling. The kids aren’t stuck to a chair during instruction. As long as it’s not interfering with learning, let them get comfortable as you teach. I’ve taught many lessons to children comfortably stretched out on the couch.
- Use a special chair. If your child must sit upright, consider letting him use a special moving chair such as a beanbag chair, rocking chair, or swivel chair. This will provide the movement kinesthetic/tactile learner needs but still keeps him seated.
- Let your child hold onto something while you teach. Fidgety fingers need something to do. Allowing your child to roll a stress ball in his hands as you teach the lesson can help improve your child’s focus.
- Use manipulatives and games when possible. During math, make use of those rods and cubes, counting bears, and fraction tiles in your math bin. Let your child use the globe during history and build models in science. Teach concepts and review information by playing board games. Moving pawns around a board game is great way for kinesthetic/tactile learners to touch as they learn.
- Make lapbooks. Lap books are full of hands on activities like cutting, pasting, drawing, and coloring. The hands of your active learner will work hard to create these marvelous books that can be used for teaching, review, and assessment. If you’re new to lapbooking watch this tutorial to learn about them. Once you’re ready begin, find free lap book templates at Homeschool Share.
Homeschooling Visual Learners
Visual learners find educational success when information is presented visually. If your child is a visual learner, try the following ideas.
- Demonstrate what you’d like your child to do. If you’re trying to teach your child a specific skill, let him watch you do it first. Visual learners may find it easier to learn shoe tying or cursive writing by watching you do it first. As you demonstrate, instruct your child to stop you as soon as they run into a step they don’t understand. This will allow you to pinpoint the exact source of confusion and prevent the generic and all encompassing cry of “I just don’t understand this!” Repeat the demonstration a few times and then let your child try.
- Make outlines and use notecards. Outlines and notecards are great tools for visual learners because they help children see how information fits together and creates visual patterns under headings.
- Create timelines to document historical events. Timelines are a fantastic way to help your learner visually place historical events. At a glance, we can see when events have taken place.
- Use flowcharts. Flow charts are great for helping visual learners map out ideas. They can be especially useful in science when studying characteristics of animals or when working through experiments. Just be sure not to include too many details or the flow chart will be become a messy, disorganized, and distracting. Create your own flowcharts using Google Drawings.
- Make use of a color coding system to organize information. This allows your child to categorize information effectively. Studying parts of speech? Highlight nouns in pink, verbs in blue, adjectives in yellow, etc. Make it easier for your visual learner to keep track of subjects by using a color coding system. For example, keep math materials in a blue folder and place corresponding blue stickers on all math worksheets, tests, etc. When it’s time to file papers away, a quick look will allow your visual learner to easily find or file materials. Place a key on the wall as a reminder of what color matches which subject.
Knowing your child’s learning style is a critical step in understanding how to teach him. Take time to review your teaching strategies to make sure you’re meeting your child’s needs.