Popular Learning Styles
Learning styles and multiple intelligences are based on in-depth research and scientific studies, which are fascinating. For the purpose of homeschooling your children, however, you'll want to be aware of three general styles of learners. Observe your children to see if they exhibit any of these learning styles:
Visual learners. These children prefer to spend time pouring over pictures and graphics, and respond to bright colors and visual stimulation. They tend to learn best through visual presentations.
Auditory learners. These children enjoy listening to music, audio tapes, and people reading aloud or talking. They can learn best through discussions and verbal information.
Tactile-kinesthetic learners. These children like to move around, touch things, and talk, plus they have a difficult time sitting still. They learn best through an active, hands-on approach.
Even though a child may appear to be a visual learner or kinesthetic learner, it doesn't exclude him from possessing qualities of the other learning styles, as well. And it doesn't mean that approaches used for another style of learning cannot be incorporated into his lifestyle. The key, however, is to help your child learn in the way that makes the most sense to him, while still providing a well-balanced learning environment that includes visual stimulation, discussion times, and physical activities. Even when you've determined your children's best learning styles, provide a variety of learning styles to help them process and retain what they've learned.
Visual learners learn through seeing and visualizing images. Whether they are looking at words on a page, the person who is speaking, or a presentation mounted on the wall, visual learners need to see something in order to fully absorb it. When thinking and processing information, they see pictures in their minds. Even if it is a word, in their mind's eye they see an image of that word.
Visual learners also like to take notes, even if they already have written material in front of them. By writing down bits of information, they are able to see it on their notepaper and inscribe their notes in their minds' eyes.
Here are some tips to help your visual learner make the most of his learning style.
Hang educational charts, displays, illustrations, maps, and mobiles.
Read colorfully illustrated reference books or picture books.
Create graphics, posters, or colorful pictorials to accompany lessons.
Use attractively designed flashcards for various subjects.
Design colorful cards for spelling, vocabulary, and English concepts.
Use flow charts, pie charts, and diagrams to illustrate math and science concepts.
Make eye contact while explaining lessons or concepts.
Encourage note-taking, illustrating, or diagramming of topics.
Allow educational videos on topics studied.
Suggest writing and illustrating stories on topics studied.
Provide a quiet area of the home for studies, free of distractions.
Auditory learners learn through hearing. They may read information or texts, but they don't fully grasp what they've read until they hear someone read it aloud or summarize it in their own words. The tone, rhythm, and inflection of the voice are important to the learner's comprehension. When recalling oral instructions or information, auditory learners hear the speaker in their mind, as they replay the tone and rhythm of the voice as it stresses this point or that. The way in which a speaker conveys her message helps the auditory learner glean the important facts and details from the information.
Here are some tips to help your auditory learner make the most of his learning style.
Read material aloud to auditory learners.
Use rhythm and voice inflection when reading and talking.
Present material in an interesting storytelling format.
Tape-record lessons for playing and replaying.
Encourage the reading of books or information aloud.
Engage in lively discussions and debates on various subjects.
Allow audio tapes or books-on-tape relating to topics studied.
Create musical presentations of topics studied.
Include and encourage speeches and verbal presentations.
Turn off the television and radio, and limit distractions.
Tactile and kinesthetic learners learn through touching and moving. This learning group is sometimes broken into two separate categories: tactile and tactile-kinesthetic. Both groups are similar, with the tactile-kinesthetics enjoying hands-on experiences as well as lots of movement in their learning styles. They process information through physical sensations, and they learn best when participating in activities and actively applying fine-motor and gross-motor skills.
Where the visual learner is distracted from learning by noise or commotion, the tactile-kinesthetic learner is negatively distracted when remaining quiet or sitting still for too long. In order to learn, the tactile-kinesthetic learner must keep moving, exploring, and experimenting.
Here are some tips to help your tactile-kinesthetic learner make the most of his learning style.
Understand that movement and touch is imperative for learning.
Provide numerous manipulatives for hands-on learning.
Incorporate games, construction sets, Geo-Boards, and Cuisenaire rods into lessons.
Invest in lab equipment for reinforcing science and math concepts.
Put on dramatic plays that bring social studies and literature to life.
Create colorful, textured cards for spelling, vocabulary, and English concepts.
Read or study while swaying to-and-fro or in time to tapping feet.
Create lesson plans choreographed to dance music.
Encourage use of computers and electronics.
Devise brief time slots for sit-down study times.
Allow classical music during study times.
Take frequent field trips related to topics studied.