Learing Styles: How We Learn.

Have you ever heard parents sharing homework horror stories? We have! And we believe that some of those life challenges can be avoided if parents just take the time to clarify the differences between the way they learn and the way their children learn. You see, there are different learning styles and each style represents a preferred way of learning new things.

We call the decision to immediately identify your child’s dominant learning style a harmony-producing, stress-reducing decision! You see...

Learning to read can be an exciting adventure or a tedious chore.
It can be the source of family fun or it can lead to family frustration and child anxiety.

The differences lie in when and how learning takes place. We discuss the when in our Keys to Success article. The how involves choosing a phonics curriculum and methods that present material in ways that emphasize your child’s dominant learning style. Methods that take a child’s learning style into account are more effective and longer lasting--not to mention being easier on family harmony as a whole!

So, you ask.. what are the three dominant learning styles?
Well, the three dominant learning styles that we emphasize are Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.

Notice, we said ‘dominant’ learning styles. While each of us may have some learning characteristics from all three styles, most of us have a preferred or dominant style when it comes to learning something new.

Understanding the differences among the learning styles really can make a difference. For example, as a dominantly visual learner, I prefer to study in absolute quiet. I want no distractions and no interruptions.

In stark contrast to my preferred learning environment is that of our daughter. She is a dominantly auditory learner and for her, music or a movie playing in the background is absolutely essential when it comes time for her to study.

Another difference between us is how we study. As a dominantly visual learner, I prefer to ‘see’ what I am studying. If I have a new word to learn, I want to see it written and I want to write it out myself so that I can make a mental picture of the word. Once I have the mental picture, I can spell the word correctly. [Visual learners are usually excellent spellers!] Flash cards and written notes, charts, and diagrams work best for me when I am trying to learn something new.

My auditory daughter on the other hand prefers to hear what she is studying. If she has new words to learn, she wants to drill them out loud. [Traditional flash card drills do not work well for her.] She likes to make rhymes or jingles to help her remember things. Put something to music and she (along with most auditory learners) will master it!

These vastly different learning needs could have caused a great deal of stress in our household if we had tried to force our daughter to study according to our preferences instead of according to her own preferences. Fortunately for us, I went to a teacher’s conference in my early years of teaching and discovered the wonders of learning styles. [We are offering a brief overview of the three styles on our site for those of you who aren’t likely to attend a teacher’s conference anytime soon! ☺ ]

To see our slides, just click on each of the learning styles in the right side menu.

Once you are familiar with the styles, we recommend that you google learning styles and find several of the free learning style surveys to take for yourself and for each of the learners in your family. When you have identified your individual learning styles, you can create appropriate study environments and select appropriate learning style-related study methods that will enhance the value of homework and maybe even bring a more peaceful atmosphere to your home!