by LearningSuccess™ Coaches Mariaemma Willis & Victoria Kindle Hodson
Would you force your child to wear shoes that don’t fit? I hope not! Shoes that are too small hurt and cause damage; shoes that are too big hinder walking and can result in tripping or falling. You want your child’s shoes to be the correct size, right?
What about your child’s education—does it fit your child?
An education that doesn’t fit is as painful, or even more painful, than ill-fitting shoes—an ill-fitting education affects a person for life.
What does an ill-fitting education look like? Well… when learning is painful, causes anxiety or anger, or leads to boredom or, even worse, depression… these are all signs of an ill-fitting education.
Did you know that most adults are held back from what they could be doing because of their school experiences? Did you know that being labeled slow, lazy, learning disabled, dyslexic, ADD, or even average or gifted stays with you forever, and affects what you believe about yourself and your abilities? Did you know that people in their forties, fifties and sixties, no matter what they’ve accomplished, are still controlled by messages they received in school?
I’m thinking of a woman who didn’t think she could advance in her business because when she was in school she got the message that she wasn’t capable. What was the problem in school? She tapped her foot and wiggled in her chair because she is kinesthetic and needs movement to learn. Another adult spent years in a career she disliked because she didn’t think she was smart enough to do what she really wanted to do—teach. Others are held back because they are not great spellers or memorizing is difficult for them.
Because you are homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling, you have the power to make sure that your child’s education is the right fit, the correct “size.” Since there are many facets to learning, we might think of it more like the blueprint or map you would use to create the program that is best suited for each child.
Your child’s learning styles are his/her blueprint for learning success and life success.
So let’s take a look at the 5 important elements of learning style that affect all learning, working, and communicating:
- Dispositions are our basic learning personalities and are like the hardwiring in a computer. The Dispositions are: Performing, Producing, Inventing, Relating-Inspiring, and Thinking-Creating. Most curriculum—for both traditional classroom and homeschool—is created for the Producing Disposition only. All others lose out. If you are Performing you need to move in order to learn; Inventing people need to explore, question, and discover; Relating-Inspiring students need collaboration and discussion to do their best learning; and Thinking-Creating people need lots of unscheduled time to wonder, imagine, and be creative.
- Modalities tell us what is the best way for your brain to bring in information—visually, auditory, or tactile-kinesthetically. However, most people don’t realize that there are sub-categories: visual print or visual picture; auditory listening or auditory verbal; tactile-kinesthetic hands-on, whole body, sketching or writing. The secret to making the most of a student’s Modalities is in these sub-categories.
For example, students who are Tactile-Kinesthetic Writing Learners remember things they write down. Students who are NOT Writing Learners will never learn spelling words by writing them over and over! But maybe one of these students is a Sketching Learner, and drawing picture clues would work for spelling.
Similarly, Picture Learners need graphics, charts, and color—flash cards with words on them do NOT work for Picture Learners.
Another example is the Verbal Learner, who needs to hear the sound of his/her own voice. Verbal Learners often get in trouble for reading aloud or “talking to themselves.” Their teachers or parents don’t realize that they are intuitively using the Modality they need for effective learning to take place!
- Interests are our #1 motivators. When we are passionate about something, we will work our tails off! The best school program is the one that allows for interest-led learning—there is nothing more powerful.
- Talents are a person’s natural skills and abilities. Sometimes people are interested in pursuing their Talents and sometimes they are not. If your child has a Talent that he/she is interested in pursuing, you can build the whole school program around this Talent.
- Environment is an important element that is often taken for granted. Color, Sound, Temperature, Time of Day, and Lighting are some of the things that can affect your mood, ability to concentrate, and productivity. For one person one of these elements might be crucial, for someone else it wouldn’t matter. Sometimes a very small change in the Environment can have a dramatic result. One mom told me that her daughter’s least favorite color was black and, suddenly, she realized that the schoolwork table was black! She had not thought about it before. So she covered the table with her child’s favorite color. The result?—a big change in getting things done.
Finding out your child’s learning style has benefits for your child and for you! This kind of information can improve: 1) your child’s chances for success, 2) your ability to communicate with your child, 3) your ability to teach effectively, and 4) your chances of raising a competent, responsible, independent, creative adult.
For more than twenty years we have been coaching parents in how to customize their children’s programs. It is hard for us to imagine starting a homeschooling program without finding out a child’s learning style first. Think of it as the foundation for your program, your blueprint for providing successful learning experiences, or a map to your child’s successful future.
With the information you get from your child’s learning style profile you can reinforce your child’s strengths as well as celebrate and encourage his/her own way of learning. We have discovered that when we support the way that they learn best, they feel optimistic about their possibilities in life. And, they are more likely to persist longer in the face of challenges and to want to make a contribution to society.
Just think, you don’t have to cut through any bureaucratic red tape to customize a program to fit your child’s personal learning needs. You’re a homeschooler! You can start today!
If you would like help, contact us at 805-648-1739 or [email protected]
©2022 by Willis & Hodson Reflective Educational Perspectives, LLC
Mariaemma Willis, M.S. & Victoria Kindle Hodson, M.A. are the authors of Discover Your Child’s Learning Style & Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten. They are founders of Power Traits for Life — https://powertraitsforlife.com/