Trying to figure out how your child learns best can be a daunting task for any parent. Children are all different, so their needs vary as well. This blog post will help you understand where your child falls in the spectrum of learning styles and how you can use that information to inform homeschooling or other educational decisions. We’ll start by discussing the four main learning preferences: visual, auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic.
What is a learning style?
Learning styles refer to the way a person perceives and processes information. There are four primary learning styles – visual, auditory, linguistic, and kinesthetic, and most people have more than one learning style.
Visual learners are people who better comprehend information when they can see it in front of them. Visual learning styles include drawing, reading, and watching. The best way to teach a visual learner is by using charts, diagrams, videos, and pictures.
Auditory learners are people who better comprehend information when they can hear it out loud or read something aloud to themselves. Auditory learning styles include listening to someone speak, reading books aloud, or watching videos of demonstrations being performed. The best way to teach an auditory learner is by reading aloud, using a podcast, listening to a video or audiobook.
Verbal learners better comprehend information when they can read or write it out on a piece of paper. Verbal learning styles include reading, doing math problems with pen and paper, or handwriting letters to friends. The best way to teach a read/write learner is by using note-taking systems, writing narratives, keeping journals, and working in workbooks.
Kinesthetic learners are people who better comprehend information when they can physically do it themselves. Kinesthetic learning styles include playing sports, cooking a meal, doing science experiments, and more. The best way to teach kinesthetic learners is by incorporating hands-on and physical activities.
How to identify your child’s learning style
There are a few quizzes out there that can help you find your child’s learning style, but the key to truly understanding your child’s preference is through simple observation and trial & error. You’ll probably notice that your child has more than one learning modality and that they might not be using the same modality for every subject.
- Watch your child’s reaction when you are reading a story.
- Observe what your child likes to do the most and least.
- Notice when your child doesn’t respond to an activity.
- Keep tabs on what they spend the most time doing on their own.
More to consider:
In addition to the 4 primary learning styles, researchers have added Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Logical modalities to the list.
Intrapersonal learners work best with other people.
Interpersonal learners prefer to work alone.
Logical learners are organized and flourish with systems and rules.
Additional questions to ask yourself:
- Does your child work best independently or with your guidance? (Intra and interpersonal)
- Is your child detail-oriented (logical), or do they prefer to take in the whole picture and work quickly?
Benefits of knowing your child’s learning style
Knowing your child’s learning preference is essential because it helps you determine what type of activities, teaching methods, and tools to use for them to learn better! Understanding which kind of learner you have will help make decisions about homeschooling or other educational matters easier for parents. For example, if they are visual learners, it is important to have pictures or videos for their learning. On the other hand, if they are aural learners, they should hear information about what you want them to learn since their memory has been shown to work better when hearing and listening.
Recent research has uncovered that learning styles are actually a long-prevailing education myth and that “people learn best with multi-modal approaches.” Videos and other multimedia presentations coupled with learning strategies enable a person to retain information through engagement.
So, the takeaway is to use a variety of engaging methods to make learning fun and interesting. Universal Design for Learning is an excellent framework that can be used to help guide you towards a dynamic homeschool.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to understand your child’s learning style and how it might impact their educational experience. Do you know what type of learner your child is? If not, I’ve provided an overview of four different types to help get started on that journey. The more information you have about what works best for them, the more relaxed your homeschool will be.
If you have any questions or need help, feel free to leave a comment!
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.