Have you ever experienced an environment so loud you couldn’t think straight? How about visual overload where there are just too many details to focus on any of them? We all process different sensory input differently. We even experience changes over time. One of my MS symptoms is just that. Aside from losing my visual field, sometimes I have a hard time with too many details to be able to see any of them clearly. That’s the primary reason I avoid the grocery store! And the traffic noise at our last apartment made concentrating difficult at best. In fact I’ve been in my quiet new apartment for nine months and am just now able to compose this blog! So this topic really speaks to me personally. I’m also checking in here periodically to track my changes.
These are ‘learning styles’ in a nutshell. Some learn best by listening, some need to see or read instructions in order to process new information. In the days before smart phones and GPS which did you prefer to get directions to a new location: spoken directions (take Plano Rd. north to the service road and turn left), a drawn map (showing the road junctions), geographical landmarks (it’s across the highway from Fry’s), or would you prefer to have someone in the car who had been there before? All methods have the potential to get you where you aim to go. Using all methods could become more confusing than helpful. And that’s where your expertise comes in handy. It’s your job to figure out your own child’s best learning modalities and tailor your school’s methods for transmitting information and assessing progress. That is one of the main reasons home based learning may be a better fit for your family.
The link in the text above is my favorite online tool for assessing learning styles but there are many others. Go take some quizzes and read up on your results then try it out on your kids. Maybe add this to a yearly evaluation to try out changes in your approach. A beginning reader, for example, could become more comfortable with text based instructions as their skills improve and start preferring it! This exercise in tailoring schooling can really stretch your creativity so have fun with it. Anti-math girl was very kinesthetic at first so we tried using chalk lines on the sidewalk to hopscotch those times tables (or at least get the basic idea of multiplication across). That was actually the genesis of my ‘gamification’ approach. Now you go play games with different input methods and tell me in the comments how you did. By the way here are my current VARK Results:
- Visual 5
- Aural 12
- Read/Write 2
- Kinesthetic 7
I have a strong aural learning preference. Note that when I started homeschooling I was a strong visual learner. I was into photography and scrapbooking. But now that I’m slowly losing my eyesight I’ve switched to audiobooks and rarely use the camera app on my phone so it’s no wonder my VARK results morphed!
Your assignment (if you choose to accept it) is to post your dominant input method in the comments.