Sunday, June 1, 2014

Learning Styles

So last week, Bryan and I went to the 2014 Florida Parent-Educator Association Convention. This year's convention was the largest home schooling convention in the world, ever. It was really, really cool to be a part of it. We learned a lot, but really just enjoyed spending two days together being encouraged in our home schooling journey.

One of the sessions we went to was about finding your child's learning style. I'm big on really knowing my children, and on working to understand what makes them unique and special, so I was super excited for this particular speaker.

She talked about not just figuring out if your child is an auditory, visual or kinetic leaner, but more importantly, figure out how your child really likes to learn.

Some ideas on that could be whether they prefer to work with others in a group or maybe they prefer to work alone, maybe they like to be challenged in games or competitions, maybe they have a hard time staying still, maybe they are day dreamers and need some time for creating and thought, maybe they like to problem solve and invent things, maybe they like structure, maybe they don't.

She also mentioned that knowing your child's interests and talents will help you teach them in a way that encourages internal motivation and success. So for example, if your child loves tennis, teach about famous tennis players, spell the terms, teach about the history of the racket and the tennis ball, teach the rules of the game, go outside and play, etc...

And the last thing she talked about was how the environment affects learning. Does your child prefer to read while sitting at a desk, or on the couch, or while walking around outside, or while standing, etc...? Do they like to work outside, or inside, do they like ambient noise or classical music, or silence?
The goal of all of this, is to develop a true love of learning in our kiddos, that will extend into the rest of their lives. We want them to be excited about figuring out something new, or mastering a new skill, or putting the pieces together.

So after we got home, we sat down with each one of our babes separately and asked them about what their dream school day would look like. Their answers will all different. Bella wants to work while standing up at the dining room table to do her schoolwork, Grady wants to sit outside. Bella likes it quiet, and does not like to be rushed. Grady likes the sound of the pond. Lilly wants to listen to music and dance during school. And all three would like to paint more.

So now we are incorporating their preferences into our school day as time allows, and trying to be flexible when possible. There really is no reason that Grady can't sit on the back porch to do his cursive, and that Bella can't stand in the dining room to do hers, while Lilly dances around.

And because everyone wanted to paint more... we painted.

I put Bailey on the chair and asked them to paint a picture of Bailey. Grady painted a sea with fish in it. Lilly painted a bunch of colors. And my sweet, rule following, structured first born painted a brown dog, because we couldn't find black.

He was such a cute model.

Then Grady thought that Bella should paint Rosie...

...and she did.

And when Grady painted page after page of rainbows, I said "Hey bud, why don't you paint something else?"  he replied, "because I'm good at painting rainbows". Well ok then.

Now that I have finally solved that burning question about how my kids like to learn, the school year is almost over... HOORAY!!

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