As a homeschool parent, it’s important to understand the different styles of learning if you want your child to reach their full potential. Experts have developed a list of seven different learning styles:
- Aural, where the student does best using sound and music to learn
- Visual, where the student learns best through images, pictures, and spatial understanding to learn something new
- Physical, where the student responds best to teaching that involves the body, sense of touch, and hands as part of learning
- Verbal, where the student does best with words, including both writing and speech, to learn new things
- Logical, where the student learns best using systems, logic, and reasoning to learn
- Social, where the student responds best to learning with other people in a group setting
- Solitary, where the student responds best to self-study and working alone as their method of learning
One way to think about learning styles is this: your child is wired to learn best in a certain way. You can force a round peg into square hole sometimes, but you’ll probably damage the peg and waste a great deal of time and effort. In the same way, your child might learn via a learning style that isn’t the one they were wired with, but you might damage their potential in the process and you’ll both waste a good deal of time and effort in the process.
If you want to help your child reach their maximum potential, then you must take time to recognize their preferred learning styles. Typically, a student doesn’t just fit into one category – they might be a combination of solitary, verbal, and logical, for example. They might have a particular learning style they use for subjects they find especially difficult. Look for patterns in how they respond to different styles of teaching.
If you can begin to recognize your child’s learning styles, you’ll be able to tailor their lessons to their preference. This will help them learn the material more thoroughly and with more enthusiasm. By customizing the material to their learning style, you’ll find the rebel less often against learning, show a genuine interest in subjects they used to dread, and gain a more solid understanding of the concepts.
If you ignore your child’s learning style, they will become frustrated more easily. They may begin to lose their natural love of learning. It will be difficult to motivate them to study, and hard to get them to engage with the material. They may have aptitudes in certain subject areas, but because the material isn’t presented to them in a way they can work with it, that aptitude is never discovered.
Learning styles are real, and they aren’t just a matter of what your child prefers but how they are biologically predisposed to learn. They can’t help their learning styles. They might be able to adapt to some degree, but if you want them to reach their full potential then you need to recognize their learning styles and modify your approach accordingly.
Mimi Rothschild is a veteran homeschooling mother of 8, writer of a series of books called Cyberspace for Kids, and passionate advocate for children and education that is truly worthy of them. In 2001, Mimi and her late husband founded Learning By Grace, a leading provider of online Christian homeschooling Academies.