Monday, June 10, 2013

Learning Styles, Re-visited

Browsing a bit through my past blog posts, I found this post on learning style:
(The rest of this post will make a lot more sense if you read the old one too, especially if you don't know a lot about learning styles or the specific children I am writing about.) A couple of the links on the old page were broken, so I have updated those.

I wrote that post
about five years ago. Now my younger two are the ages my older two were when I wrote it. So, I thought it would be interesting to re-evaluate learning style and see if any of my thoughts have changed on the matter.

When David was 13, I categorized him as an auditory learner with high levels of logical/mathematical intelligence and spatial intelligence. I provided him with lots of auditory input and he has also sought this out himself. I would change nothing about that assessment now that he is 18. I would now add that I believe he is dyslexic which explains quite a bit of his preference for audiobooks over the printed page. He still loves to build things and plans now to study mechanical engineering in college. 

Sixteen-year-old Emily's learning style is still visual (linguistic intelligence). She still loves to read and is a very fast reader. I don't see as high a degree of interpersonal intelligence as when she was younger nor do I notice her musical intelligence has continued to develop. She continues to struggles with math, and I believe this is due to dyscalculia, so it's possible that those struggles have eclipsed her development in other areas. I plan to work hard during the next two years to capitalize on her strengths to build her confidence. She has never had a strong kinesthetic ability, but two years of studying karate has increased her coordination and confidence about her physical abilities.  

Going back to what I wrote about James at age 8 really shocked me. I could write the EXACT SAME thing about him today at age 13. "... he moves and moves and moves. And moves. [....] the constant movement drives my ADD self nuts!" Wow! I hadn't realized I had assessed this so long ago. He still tends to move about constantly. If he stands next to me to talk, he shifts his weight from foot to foot or taps something or wiggles in some other fashion. I have been calling him on it so he can learn to manage it. It's a lot more to deal with when he's as big as an adult than it was when he was an eight-year-old. So, CLEARLY, the kinesthetic intelligence is still high for James. He is still focused on the intrapersonal as well as the existential, often asking me insightful questions that I don't expect. The naturalistic intelligence has seemed to dissipate, but maybe we just need to offer more opportunities to see if that is still an interest for him.

And on to my youngest, Suzanne, who is now 11. At age 6, I had very little idea of what her intelligences were. Today, we completed a multiple intelligence inventory. Her strengths lie in kinesthetic, inter-personal, and visual/spatial skills. Her linguistic skills are lower, mainly because I think she, like her older brother, is dyslexic. She has finally learned to read well and says she "loves reading" now, but it took many years and much prayer and hard work to achieve that. She finds her strengths in being a leader, especially in physical areas (like soccer) and in handicrafts like sewing. She also loves to make things pretty, such as setting a beautiful table with touches like placemats and flowers (things I usually don't bother with). So, really what I thought about her at age 6 was fairly accurate. 

So, how does this affect our homeschooling? I think I'll save that for another day.  

While you wait, try evaluating your own children. Here is a nice printable Multiple Intelligence Survey for Kids.  You can also try some of the online surveys from my previous post, or just google!

By the way, the graphic in this post illustrates my own results on the multiple intelligence survey.

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