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The Bad News About Learning Styles (Day 1)

When you hear the term “learning styles,” what do you picture?

I’m guessing that some cheesy quiz you’ve taken comes to mind. Probably in college, maybe in high school, or somewhere online, you’ve taken a personality or learning styles test. I’m guessing that the results described you with about 75% accuracy.

I’m also guessing that once you read those results, you moved on with your life.

The Bad News

I have some bad news. There is no ULTIMATE tell-all test for learning styles, or a conclusive, “this is how you REALLY work best” test out there. I apologize if you thought that I was going to point you in that direction.

The reason that there’s no conclusive learning styles test is this: there’s no conclusive list of learning styles. We are complicated, organic beings that are made up of our genetics, our early experiences, and our present-day reality. Our intelligent Creator did this on purpose, I believe. Otherwise, we might think we could have this all figured out, right?

Our tendency – well, at least MY tendency – is to try to organize things that seem chaotic into boxes and categories in my brain so that I can understand them. Are you that way, too?

I actually don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Our Creator made us that way, too. Understanding how we are wired and how our children are wired is an important step in knowing how we teach, how we learn, and how we relate to one another.

But we need to keep this in mind as we examine a few paradigms of learning styles this week. You’re not ONLY an introvert or extrovert. Your child is not ONLY a visual learner who is incapable of understanding information given in a different way.

Truthfully, we all fall along a beautiful continuum somewhere in the middle, usually a bit closer to one extreme than the other.

Truthfully, we all fall along a beautiful continuum somewhere in the middle, usually a bit closer to one extreme than the other.

Our Plan This Week

This week, we’re going to be jumping into several ideas under the term “learning styles” and make sense of some of the main definitions of this term. More importantly, we’re going to explore why it matters, how it impacts the education of children, and what you can do in your planning and in your day-to-day interactions with your children.

All of you who signed up to receive this series aren’t homeschoolers, and that’s okay – we’re glad you’re here! But because homeschoolers are on the very front line of the education of their children, I’ll be giving lots of examples related to homeschooling along the way.

Here’s your takeaway from Day 1: Understanding learning styles is critically important, but this does not paint the ENTIRE picture of who we are, how we learn, or how we act in relationships.

Understanding the learning styles of our children AND our own learning styles – the learning styles of everyone sitting around the kitchen table are important! – is an effective way that we can move the needle TOWARD success and AWAY from confusion and chaos.

Here’s the picture I’d like to leave you with:

After wrapping up breakfast and morning tasks, you begin the homeschooling day around the table. Whining and nagging aren’t the loudest lyrics in your homeschool song anymore — in fact, they’ve been written out altogether. There is peace around the table as you watch your children take ownership of their plan for the day. Your daughter amazes you with her ability to plan, prepare and reason through her daily assignments.

Because of the way that lesson plans have been crafted with flexibility toward various learning styles, your children are engaged and now ask thoughtful questions instead of always looking to you for the “right” answer. Watch your son’s confidence bubble up as he realizes his questions are insightful, making him curious and motivated to learn more.

You have margin in your day. You understand your own learning style and how it fits with the learning styles of your children. The curriculum and plans for the year aren’t something that you have to worry about anymore, so you have the time to see your kids as individuals again – real people with valid feelings who deserve to be heard and who are confident that you’re the one who will listen – because you’re there, and because you have margin that breeds more compassion.

I’ll be back tomorrow, and I’ll jump into the MOST PREVALENT model of learning styles out there.

Until then, have a great day!

Melissa

PS -Read Day 2 here

PPS – Share this if you have a friend who would benefit from understanding their children’s learning styles!

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