Parents are a child’s first teacher and their strongest advocate. Whether you are a home educating family understanding a child with ADHD, or your children are attending a traditional school, parents play a crucial role in their child’s education. Nobody knows more about your child or what they capable of, than you do. Parents often feel inadequate — believing that classroom teachers are more qualified than they are to determine their child’s dominant learning style.
While it may be true that teachers have had a little more “paid training” on the subject of teaching and learning. It could also be possible from a professional standpoint that they may even be a little more knowledgeable than you. But, as you know, we are seldom more than a couple clicks away from finding all of the information we desire. Today, however, the research has been done for you.
Familiarize Yourself with the Different Learning Modalities
Before we can effectively evaluate our children’s learning style, we must first know a little bit about what the different learning styles are. They are: Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing preference, and Kinesthetic. Visual learners prefer to use images and study helps such as graphic organizers to help them learn and remember new things. Whereas, auditory learners best grasp new information by listening. Verbal repetition of things makes learning permanent to them.
Even still, Read/Write learners find it easier to learn new things by reading it and taking notes on what they have learned. The fourth predominant learning style is the kinesthetic learning style. The kinesthetic learner is a hands on learner. They learn and remember new information by “doing.”
Make Meaningful Observations
Younger children can’t always articulate what they are thinking as well as older children. Therefore, as you engage with them, either in playful encounters, or meaningful learning activities, make purposeful observations of your little one. Purposely watch them to see if it seems that they prefer to learn new things by you showing them what to do (visual). Or, rather, does it seem that they better comprehend new things by simply being told what to do and verbal repeating what they learned?(auditory).
Try noticing if they are acquiring most of their new information through reading and writing things down so that they will remember (read/write learners). See if you notice that your child is always wanting do or make, or create something. They likely pick up new skills by doing something? (Kinesthetic).
Understand that Your Child Is as Unique of a Learner as He/She Is as a Person
A mistake that many parents make is believing that because they learn this way or that way, that your child must learn this way or that way. However, in reality, your child may learn quite differently from you. Also, in families with multiple children, there are often learning style differences, even among siblings. Relatedness doesn’t mean sameness.
Ask Them How They Learn Best
While younger children may have difficulty articulating how they learn, older children are quite articulate. Teachers often survey your children at the beginning of the school year for this very reason. They use information that your children have given them, analyze it and determine his/her learning style. This may seem ultra-simplistic but it is actually a very powerful tool in learning how your child thinks and learns.
So, in summary, observation is key. Before our kids enter school, we have had hours upon hours to observe them. We know our children better than anyone. When trying to learn more about your child’s learning style, make meaningful observations and analyze those observations. Be careful not to project your predominant learning style on your child or lump them together with their siblings because relatedness does not equal sameness. Finally, ask them how they learn best. They know more and can articulate more than we might think.