I have heard so much about children's learning styles and how important it is for children to learn based on them. You read blog posts about how you can adapt your teaching to fit the student's learning style. Did you know that you, as the teacher of your children, have a Teaching Style?!
You don't hear near as much about Teaching Styles as you do about Learning Styles. But which is more important?
First, let's look at a few learning and teaching styles. Then we will get to My Story!
- Visual - using pictures, images, or spacial understanding
- Aural - also called auditory-musical, learning through music
- Verbal - using words in speech and writing
- Physical - using your body, hands and sense of touch
- Logical - also called mathematical, using logic & reasoning
- Social - learning in groups with other people
- Solitary - work alone and use self-study
Most of these are self-explanatory. You can imagine how children can manifest these different styles. Most children usually have more than one style, but many have one or two dominant ones.
Now let's look at some teaching styles I have come up with!
- Content Focused - teaches based on the amount and quality of content - "We have to finish the book!"
- Learning Focused - doesn't have a strong sense of what must be learned, but just that learning is taking place. - "We can get back to that book later, this is cool!"
- Facilitator - student-led learning where the teacher guides when needed - "Why don't you find out more about that topic?"
- Hands-On - provides activities, games, lessons, and everything a child would need to learn - "This activity will help us learn this lesson better!"
- Planner - plan everything in advance, spend time with lessons, curriculum choices, how long to spend on each thing, etc. "Have we completed the check-list for the day?"
- Impromptu - either buy an "open-and-go" pre-planned curriculum, or decide each day what needs to be done. "OK, I think that's enough for the day!" or "OK, let's see what we're supposed to do today."
Have I left out a teaching style? Leave a comment below if you do things differently!
The early days of homeschooling tend to be a trial and error time. I sure had my share! I had 2 "strikes" against me when starting our homeschooling journey. 1) I was a licensed elementary school teacher with some classroom experience. 2) I was an educational therapist trained by The National Institute of Learning Disabilities (NILD).
I say these are "strikes" because I had a hard time getting away from the classroom style of teaching. This is a style my young son struggled with, and was one of the reasons we decided to homeschool! I also had a tendency to do way too much with content focused teaching. I knew from my training what my son "should" be doing at that point. We had some good days, but it was very uncomfortable for both of us.
It finally dawned on me that what we were doing wasn't working for my son. That is when I started looking at learning styles and tried to go completely with Caleb's. That ended up failing, too! Through a lot of sweat and tears, we finally found a compromise. I tailored my teaching style to fit Caleb's learning style and we seemed to finally come up with something that fit!
I kept the planning and structure part of my teaching style. But I made sure there was room for flexibility and plenty of activities and hands-on learning for his kinesthetic brain.
I basically combined our styles and created something that worked for both of us. After my experience, I have realized how important it is to think about both learning and teaching styles. Homeschooling isn't just about your child. It is about you AND your child. You are working together to create the perfect learning atmosphere. And the cool thing is: Everyone is different!
The combination I have for my son didn't work with my daughter! Therefore the dance started all over again.
3 Things to Remember
- Your homeschool doesn't have to look like anyone else's!
- Don't be afraid to try and try again!
- Ask for advice and research different methods, but only use what you and your child are comfortable with!