Saturday, September 6, 2008

Heart of the Matter - Learning Styles Meme

Friday is past, but I found this neat online homeschooling magazine that evidently offers a weekly meme. This week's is about learning styles.

Welcome to the Heart of the Matter Online meme. Every Friday we will feature a different topic for our meme. Please share with us your Your Children's Learning Styles.
We discussed curriculum and would love to hear how these choices best teach your children according to their specific learning styles. Are they visual learners? Auditory? Kinesthetic? Give us your best teaching methods!

I guess that's my cue! I've done quite a lot of study on learning styles and multiple intelligence theory. Learning Styles are generally divided into 3 categories - visual, auditory, kinesthetic.

Learning Style Quiz
Learning Style Chart (changed link 6/10/2013)
Learning Style Questionnaire

Multiple Intelligence Theory goes a little deeper to define eight or more areas in which learning takes place: Verbal/Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, Bodily/Kinesthetic, Musical/Rhythmic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalist, Existential. The theory is based on the belief that we all possess at least eight unique intelligences through which we are able to learn/teach new information. Although we each have all eight, no two individuals have them in the same exact amounts.

Multiple Intelligence Inventory (changed link 6/10/2013)
Survey for Children (changed link 6/10/2013)

Ok, so what about my own children?

David (age 13) is very clearly an auditory learner. He adores listening to audiobooks and will listen to his favorites multiple times. He is not much for reading or writing, but math is a favorite and he likes to build things (Legos, models). I would categorize him with high levels of logical/mathematical intelligence and spatial intelligence.

For his schoolwork, this means that I try hard to offer many auditory experiences for him - books on tape, reading aloud, etc... Practically, this year, I've sought out his Sonlight books on audio recordings, as well as obtained the audio of his Apologia textbook. I think this will make it a more pleasant experience as well as increase his comprehension.

Eleven-year-old Emily's learning style is more like mine - visual (linguistic intelligence). She loves to read and is good at writing and spelling. Math is much more difficult for her, as it was for me. (I didn't learn to tell time until I was 10!) Her interpersonal intelligence is at a high level, as is her musical intelligence.

The visual/linguistic style is the easiest to teach in a traditional manner - books and paper/pencil tasks come naturally to this learner. She also loves learning songs to go along with her memorization. I am trying to use her musical strengths to help her learn her math facts.

James (age 8) is mainly a kinesthetic learner - he moves and moves and moves. And moves. He does enjoy books, however. This is the hardest for me in some ways, because the constant movement drives my ADD self nuts! However, because we are not in a traditional school setting, James does not have the stricture of sitting still all of the time. He can do his math on the floor, upside down hanging off the couch, or out on the porch. He can take a break to ride his bike up the sidewalk. This all helps and James, on the whole, enjoys his lessons.

He also seems to be quite spatially aware and also more intrapersonal than I often expect. James also is very interested in nature especially animal life, which probably rates him a high level of naturalistic intelligence. He is also my child who delights in asking me deeper questions - perhaps an existential intelligence?

Suzy (age 6) is harder to figure out. She isn't a workbook-y girl like Emily was at 6. She has a low tolerance for any activity that she is not the boss of. That's not so much learning style as a Type A personality. Suzy talked well at an early age, which hints at a high level of linguistic intelligence. She's not reading yet, but probably could have been with a little more diligence from me during her kindergarten year. She likes to dance and move, which indicates a bodily-kinesthetic awareness. She doesn't particularly like music, other than as an impetus to movement. So perhaps her kinesthetic style is higher than I might imagine.

Children under the age of 8 or so are hard to label, because most children are, by nature, kinesthetic. They learn by doing and touching. So, I will have a clearer picture of Suzy's intelligences in a couple more years, I expect.

Perhaps you noticed that my first three children all seem to be different learning styles! That makes it interesting here at Cornerstone Academy - lots of moving, singing, dancing, talking, building, writing, and reading going on here. How about your home?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to post this... It's very interesting!

I can think of no better mom, then you... to teach such a variety of learning styles!


Yvonne said...

Great Post! I've featured your blog in the Heart of the Matter Newsletter this week!

Anonymous said...

Interesting report on your children's learning styles...oh, do I ever remember James' wiggly naptimes as a toddler!!! And he hasn't stopped yet!!! Go, James!!!Love, Mom

Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing and the links!

Niffercoo said...

Lisa, do you consciously address any of the weaker areas to try to build them up? Or is this information strictly for a way to make learning easier?

Just curious! :)