Choosing Curriculum and Learning Styles
One of the most common reasons people contact me about homeschool consulting is curriculum overwhelm. Choosing curriculum is the leading cause of hives for homeschool moms according to my own unofficial research.
Yes, there are a lot of homeschool programs out there, boxed and build-your-own, and they can cause the What If monster to rear it’s ugly head in regard to the education we are providing our sweet ones with at home.
But almost without fail, when I ask “What is your child’s learning style?”, I can hear the hives popping up. “What do you mean learning style?” is generally the response.
Here is an easy to use breakdown and down at the end you can get a free printable curriculum checklist to help you decide if the curriculum you are looking at will be a fit for your child (or children, but don’t be surprised if they each learn differently, and no you don’t necessarily need a different curricula for each one, just differentiated teaching methods).
The Importance of Understanding Your Child’s Learning Style
Understanding your child’s learning style is the fastest route to choosing an effective teaching method. Your child will be better served by a curriculum which capitalizes on the learning style your child has an affinity toward.
Don’t be intimated by the jargon or taking a learning style quiz to fit your child into a learning preference. It is easier than you think! Take the knowledge you already know about your child to find his learning preference through the descriptions below. A basic understanding of learning styles is all you will need to get started teaching your child effectively.
The Basic Learning Styles
You are likely familiar with the terms used to define different learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. These terms are three basic learning styles according to the Fleming VAK/VARK model. While the VAK refers to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, the VARK refers to all three but distinguishes reading/writing (the R) from the visual learning style.
Many times the visual learner styles include the attributes of the reading/writing learning style. However, the variances create a different type of learning strategy so it is helpful to give each its own category. You will find other distinctions within the three categories but knowing where your child falls in the VARK model may be all that is needed to begin finding the proper study habits and curriculum to suit your child.
Characteristics of Basic Learning Styles Using the VARK Model
Visual learners prefer to see something in order to learn or remember it.
Characteristics of a Visual Learner
- Easily visualizes objects
- Enjoys learning from charts, graphs, and diagrams
- Trouble with remembering spoken directions or lessons
- Remembers better by what is seen or when demonstrations are used
- Works better if the overall process is explained for a project before beginning
- Gets distracted easily by movement
Tips for Visual Learners
Use of diagrams, charts, and graphs
Use of color such as highlighting or using colored pencils
Use of mindmaps
Auditory Learners prefer hearing information in order to learn or remember it.
Characteristics of an Auditory Learner
- Easily follows verbal instructions
- Enjoys reading aloud, discussions, and debates
- Prefers music over art
- May talk to themselves while completing an assignment
- Will sort through ideas by talking through them
- Distracted easily by a loud environment while studying
Tips for Teaching Auditory Learners
Study groups are an effective means of studying for this learner
Record lectures and lessons to listen to later
Read notes or text aloud
Allow your child to narrate a lesson to you
Recommended Further Reading
Reading/Writing Learners prefer text based lessons in order to learn or remember.
Characteristics of a Reading/Writing Learner
- Learns best from a textbook or reading
- Good at taking notes
- Enjoys writing essays, reports, etc.
- Learns well from a dictionary, thesaurus, or manual
- Words are the way to the heart of this learner
Tips for Reading/Writing Learners
Use of textbooks or books
Joining a book club
Enjoy reading diaries or historical fiction books
Writing reports and taking organized notes
Characteristics of a Kinesthetic Learner
- Learns best through doing rather than hearing, seeing, or reading
- Enjoys participating in sports, drama, and/or art
- Doodles while taking notes or sitting through lectures
- Connecting lessons to concrete demonstrations or reality aids in learning
- Using examples that uses the sense of touch or smell are preferred
- Remembers what they do best
- Your classic “hands on” learner
Tips for Kinesthetic Learners
Use of demonstrations that involve active participation
Enjoys acting in plays or creating art
Take frequent breaks throughout the school day
Enjoys groups and field trips
Relate lessons to real experiences
To get your Curriculum Inventory Checklist, just go here, add it to your cart, and checkout!
What types of learners are you instructing? For additional assistance with homeschooling programs or other homeschool needs, visit our homeschool consultation page.