I homeschool for many reasons, not the least of which is that I can do a better job with my two kids than a classroom teacher can with 25 to 30 (or more!).
There is no room for debate on this issue. Educational experts have called for decades for smaller class sizes, but as budgets get tighter, class sizes get bigger. There’s no doubt that a personalized education far exceeds a factory model.
What if I’m treating my homeschooled kids as if they were seats in an assembly-line classroom?
When Grace showed signs of reading readiness, I purchased Handwriting Without Tears and Hooked on Phonics, and I printed hundreds of pages’ worth of sight words and Montessori materials from my favorite early childhood websites.
She hated Hooked on Phonics. She threw the Handwriting Without Tears letter cards on the floor and made a snowman with the play dough. I shuffled the dog-eared pile of printed pages from one place to another until I finally threw them away.
My daughter was ready – and eager – to learn to read, but she didn’t fit the approach I tried to force her into.
I should have known better. I have a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum. I spent all of my undergraduate and graduate education learning about learning styles, designing differentiated instruction, and preparing authentic assessments.
But I also taught astronomy and geology in a public high school for 10 years, and I learned to fit the kids into an arbitrary curriculum.
After some soul-searching, I realized that the curricula I chose was never going to work for Grace. I needed to get to know her learning style and her personality as her teacher instead of as a teacher. Once I did that (and subsequently put into practice many of the methods in Educating the WholeHearted Child, our school time became dramatically easier.
I also changed up our school routine, adding Bible lessons at the beginning, but that’s for another post.
6 Tools to Determine Your Kids’ Learning Styles
I think everyone secretly loves diagnostic quizzes, right? I know I do.
In fact, I always took the quizzes in magazines on a separate piece of paper so that I could come back and take them again later.
Here are a few resources that will help you get to know your learner better. Among the articles and tools are quizzes (of course!) to help you figure out her learning style as well as explanations to help you see how to best teach her.
The image above comes from link #3.
- Learning Styles in Young Children – This article will help you to diagnose your preschooler’s learning style.
- Teaching and Learning Style Quizzes – This one has three different quizzes, for child and adult learning styles and for your teaching style.
- Multiple Intelligences Test – This is like a magazine quiz. You answer 40 questions, and it tells you where your strengths are. This would be great for older kids to do for themselves.
- Myers-Briggs Personality Test – This is the old standard psychological personality test that you might remember from your own adolescence. You remember, INFP and ESTJ and so on? You can find detailed explanations of each of the 16 types here.
- Personality Type and Learning Style – I loved this article because it’s written in plain English, specifically for homeschoolers. It talks about how to teach each type of personality (introvert and extrovert, sensing and intuitive, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving).
- Determining Myers-Briggs Score Without a Test – This is a really good article that will help you to determine a Myers-Briggs score for your young child who is too little for taking a test herself.
How does learning style affect the way you homeschool?
© 2013, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.