Guest writer and homeschool expert Lea Ann Garfias joins us today to explain the importance of understanding our child’s learning style.
I spent quite a bit of my early homeschool years completely ignoring my students’ learning style. I didn’t realize how much I was missing out! By not respecting each child’s individuality in learning and expressing his understanding, I was complicating things for all of us.
But when I began to understand learning styles better and to look for evidences of my child adapting his own education to his own needs, a lightbulb went off in my head. Suddenly I could see it all the time – my students learn best when they work with their God-given strengths, not against them.
We often think about learning style as it applies to our students – how can we make our students learn and retain more. But I’ve found the surprising secret: learning style unlocks the keys to some of my child’s deepest mysteries!
What My Child’s Learning Style Tells Me.
- How he enjoys learning best.
This is the obvious one that most of us are aiming for. We want to ignite the fire of learning within our child and fan its flames into a burning passion for greater understanding. And while that shouldn’t be the end-all of learning styles, it definitely is a plus. When I recognize how my child learns best, I can help him use that strategy more effectively.
- How he listens to me and remembers what I say.
This was the first surprising thing I noticed – when I recognize my child’s learning style, I’m not as critical any more about how he listens to me. Now I know that when my auditory teen stares off in the distance while I’ll talking, he isn’t ignoring me. He’s trying not to be distracted by my sometimes over-animated face so he can understand what I am saying better. Likewise, my kinesthetic learner tends to draw, fidget, or even jump while I’m explaining something because listening and making his body be still is way too much work.
- Why I think he’s not listening.
All throughout the day, I talk a lot. I’m always giving instructions, refereeing fights, and nagging reminding about unfinished chores. A constant refrain is, “Nobody is listening to me!” But when I became more aware of my student’s learning styles, I realized they are often listening in their own way. My visual learners give me their eyes and stand quietly to listen, visually and audibly answering me when I’m finished. But my auditory listener has heard it all before, remembers it, and gets turned off by my voice’s constant droning; he appreciates a quick “Do you remember that think?” My kinesthetic learner is listening – while he’s literally climbing the walls and jumping up and down on my last nerve. Sometimes a gentle hand on his shoulder or pat on the head is all he needs to get back on track.
- Why his room looks like that.
My visual learners want all the lovely, meaningful things right in front, so their dresser tops and beds are covered in stuffed animals, trophies, favorite books, and brick-a-brac. My kinesthetic learner needs everything at his fingertips, so you can’t find the floor of his room half the time. It doesn’t make me enjoy the messes, but it does help me respect his process.
- How I can love him best.
When I understand my child’s unique strategies for learning and retaining information, that gives me the keys to teaching him about how much I love him. I listen carefully to the questions my auditory learner asks, because I know he values the information. I’m more cautious not to nag or criticize him, because I don’t want to use his love language against him.
I’m more careful to smile at my visual learners and keep a kind countenance before them, because I know a harsh or grumpy look could easily communicate I’m angry at them when I’m not. I am also swift to hug my kinesthetic learner and gentle to bandage his wounds or just reach out and tussle his hair.
Recognizing our child’s unique learning styles tell us so much about who he is, how he perceives the world, and how he communicates his deepest thoughts. What has your child’s learning style taught you?
Author Lea Ann Garfias helps moms recognize the extraordinary impact they make with their seemingly ordinary lives. A homeschool grad and homeschooling mom of four, Lea Ann fuels her roles as author, professional violinist, choir director, and soccer mom with a whole lotta coffee. Connect with her at lagarfias.com.
Homeschool Made Easy, by homeschool graduate, author, and busy mom of four Lea Ann Garfias, provides simple solutions for today’s homeschool mom. Lea Ann gives simple solutions to common teaching frustrations and helps homeschool moms regain their joy and freedom. Lea Ann empowers moms to identify their own strenghths and the unique abilities in their children and then to unlock their full potential. Make homeschooling fun again — with Homeschool Made Easy: Homeschool Your Way.
Buy Homeschool Made Easy: Homeschool Your Way on Amazon.