Sunday, 29 April 2012

Learning Styles

Today was quite a mellow start - at least for Mummy :)  Hubby came downstairs with the boys and let me have a lie-in :)  Once we were all up and dressed, we went to join in our church group (our church usually meets in small groups in people's homes), and had a lovely time with the boys playing with their friends (and their friends' toys) while hubby and I chatted with our friends. After we got home, we were mostly confined indoors again (no prizes for guessing the weather).   During a brief pause in the rain, DS1 checked his weather station (2cm of rain since the same time yesterday - we were surprised it wasn't more), and we put more food out for the birds.  I really recommend this, by the way... not only does it support the wildlife in your neighbourhood, but it is effortless education.  Without my consciously trying to teach them, my boys can name the 20+ varieties of bird that come to feed here (and the 2 varieties of deer that we occasionally see behind the house), and we are constantly entertained by the squirrels' behaviour :)  DS1 then quickly got absorbed into the Frozen Planet book that his Grampie loaned him, while DS3 had lots fun with his ELC cassette player (no longer produced - though they do make CD players now) - he played with it for ages, experimenting with sounds etc :)  DS2 decided he wanted to do a project on our bodies.  We found a book for him to read (Usborne Beginners 'Your Body'), but he was far more excited by the build your own skeleton that I found online, and quickly got stuck in :)
DS2 is the one whose learning style I am most intrigued about: all I know is, it isn't the style used predominantly at school (whereas DS1 & 3 were doing OK there, so it doesn't seem quite so critical to figure them out at the moment).   It's come up in conversation a bit lately, and I did one of those "what's your child's learning style" quizzes online, where they ask you ten fairly broad questions and come up with a 'diagnosis'.  I don't think they're supposed to be taken as gospel, but they can provide an interesting start to thinking about it.  There were 3 main broad learning styles in the particular test I used: visual, auditory and kinesthetic (depending on the test, there can be more learning styles - I just used the first one I stumbled across, just because it was there)  Anyway, DS1 came out as mostly visual and auditory - he loves reading and is good at listening, and educational TV programmes work really well with him, so no real surprises there :)  DS3 came out as mostly kinesthetic, but I think that may be largely because he is a very energetic three-year old - it's probably a bit early to try to pin that one down.  DS2 came out as very strongly visual, which I found interesting.  Now I just need to find out what that means to him.  As illustrated above, where he preferred putting the skeleton kit together over reading the body book, it does not necessarily mean he enjoys reading (although he is very good at it, he just doesn't often read for pleasure).  He does love picture-books - looking at the story going on in the illustrations, as well as what the words are saying, and out of the three boys, he is the most likely to draw us a picture or make me an 'I love you' card.  So, I have a good starting point, which has whetted my appetite to find out more.  And it's not that I want to compare the boys to each other in a negative way - but I do want to appreciate their differences so that I don't try to fit them all into one style of learning.  Another of the many benefits of Home Ed is that I can get to know my boys so much better - to discover each of them as an individual - and to work with their strengths to help each of them get as far as they can (or at least, as far as they want to).
All in all, then, a happy Sunday (but I can't wait to get out and about again next week!)


  1. Things seem to be going really well Rachel. So interesting seeing the boys' different learning personalities develop - well done!!

  2. Peter learns visually too. So I always try explains things to him in terms of pictures, like explain dividing too him I told him a picture story that he could visualise in his head, if I had 24 sweets and 6 friends I wanted to share them with what would I do, he could see that in his head, whereas the numbers written on the page mean't very little too him.

    I also learn visual ans express myself visually, a picture speaks a thousand words too me, where as give me a text book I have to read it over and over to get any value out of it.

    This is why I love home school, because one size doesn't fit all and as a Mum we can really get to know our kids well so as can help them in a way they understand...isn't a little sad that only now you are teaching them that you get to know these things really well...the implication that how well do most parents know their children, well enough to communicate effectively too them in a way they can undertstand? Probably not...that's what makes me sad.

    My iPad won't let me edit my miss types....*kicks ipad* so I hope you can understand it with the mistakes. This bugs my perfectionism!

  3. That's great Sally... I think I need to work out what my own learning style is - maybe being aware of that would help me not to assume my boys are the same... :/