Monday, November 15, 2010

Learning styles: Can you hear what I am saying?

When I first began homeschooling, I had no clue about different learning styles. This little bit of knowledge could have saved me hundreds of dollars in curriculum. It could have saved me hours of my life spent in unproductive lessons. Like many first time homeschoolers, I over-bought curriculum based on great reviews, other family's choices, the well intentioned The Well-Trained Mind and slick websites. If I had understood the concepts of learning styles, perhaps I would not have hoarded collected so many different programs. Oh well, at least my friends can be blessed at our annual homeschool curriculum swap.

Paperboy is an auditory learner. Our first years were spent using Sonlight curriculum. He soaked in each read aloud. He played with legos or other "hand toys" while absorbing great historical fiction. His gasp of history, science and grammar was acquired only by hearing it. He still spends time in his room listening to books on tapes, Old Time Radio Shows and talk radio.

As he has grown, he has moved away from this style of learning. Now that he is in 9th grade, he can't escape the textbooks and the increased amount of reading. While he has made the transition easily, I still look for ways to enhance his studies. Here are a few things we are using this year:

  • He listens to Dave Ramsey on Xmradio. This financial advice from a Christian perspective is invaluable. He hears stories from listeners who have overcome debts and those who are just creating a plan. I wish I had heard Dave's advice when I was a teen.
  • We own the MP3 of his science textbook. This is a bonus, because he hears the terms pronounced correctly. He can load it on his Ipod if he needs to take it with him. He doesn't use it for every chapter, but he can listen to it during lunch. Multi-tasking!
  • I still go over his Rod and Staff lesson each day with him. He is capable of doing them on his own, but we have found if he hears the rules or concepts a few times, his work contains less errors.
  • His Latin program pronunciation cd is loaded on his Ipod. I have learned Latin this year along with him. We practice the flashcards together every other day.
  • We still look for great books on tape or cd. We are blessed to have a "whole house stereo system", we can listen to books as we move from room to room. 
  • We have always enjoyed Homeschool Radioshows. This is a free site, you can sign up for their mailing list and you won't miss out on any of their shows.
Maybe you haven't discovered the learning styles of your little ones. There are plenty of books devoted to this topic. I found this little gem online. This confirmed what I already knew about myself, I am a combination of an auditory and visual learner, who is not afraid of hands on learning.  I have checked this book out of my local library so many times. It has questionnaires about your teaching style and your child's learning styles.

Something Sweet for All Learning Styles

My dear friend Lizzie from A Work in Progress has compiled an amazing list of free homeschool resources. She has skillfully arranged these resources by historical periods and subject matter. I love her little comments about some authors. She has shared an extensive list of audio resources that are available for free. Stop by here. But be forewarned, there are too many great sites. I cannot be responsible for your neglected husbands, children, or home schooling as you discover these treasures. 

Just for fun, I saw this cartoon on a girly blog I am following, 3G=Growing Godly Girls. There you can find some great hands on, a.k.a. kinesthetic learning activities for your little ones.

I welcome reader comments with open arms. I also understand if you aren't the commenting or hugging type of person, you can drop me an email at


Linds said...

we had a lady come in and speak to our MOPS group regarding learning styles. It was such an aha moment for me, especially regarding discipline. Brayden is very much a kinetic learner, and so some of the discipline methods we were employing weren't that effective because they weren't getting through to him. Timeout for kinetic learners is amazing. And FWIW, the lady who spoke highly recommended a book written by Cynthia Tobias... I think it was called "the Way they Learn" but am not 100% sure.

TerriG said...

Linds: You are blessed to have such a group. I would have never thought about learning styles and child training, but that makes so much sense. No wonder why they can't stand my little 'lists'. Thanks for the book tip. I have checked that book out from the library, I think I need to re-read it, I am such a leaky vessel.

Anne Galivan said...

I agree that the Cathy Duffy book is a great resource for many home-schooling questions, including learning styles. I actually had one of the first volumes that was about 1/5 the size of the current volume. But then I started home-schooling over 20 years ago!

I also recommend books by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias. Not only does she have some great info on learning styles but she is hysterical!