Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Discover Your Child's Learning Style
I've been reading through a book called Discover Your Child's Learning Style. Like any good learning style book, it has quizzes! (I love quizzes). There are different aspects covered: learning styles, visual/auditory/kinesthetic, interests, talents, environment preferences, etc. I found our learning style results to be interesting. I've always wrestled with putting my oldest one's learning style into perspective. She never quite fits the mold.
Many people are familiar with Cathy Duffy's book which defines learning styles in 4 different roles: Wiggly Willy (hands-on), Perfect Paula (perfectionist, workbook type), Competant Carl (independent, project based, more of a sciency-mathy kid), and Socialable Sue (social, group, games type learner). Discover Your Child's Learning Style defines these as: Performs (the Wiggly Willy), Produces (Perfect Paula), Invents (Competant Carl), Relates/Inspires (Sociable Sue), and a 5th one Thinks/Creates.
As my oldest has gotten older, I've seen two big traits in her "style". She likes to just jump in there and do things. She'd rather build something than study something. She'd rather cook, sew, drive, build, whatever. But, she is also very organized and tends to like routine. These two traits seem at war with each other. She isn't the Perfect Paula, because (although she is good at drill, memorization, and likes routine and structure) she does not enjoy being a student, does not like workbooks, and does not strive to be "best of the class" - she does not place a high value on academics. She can play the game and do academics, but doesn't prefer it. On the other hand, she doesn't fit Wiggly Willy, either. Although she prefers short, hands-on lessons with practical, real life applications, and likes drama, she is very content to sit still (she doesn't wiggle). She has never been a big mover, and could always sit still from a young age. Also, these learners tend to like spontaneity, not structure:) When she took the test, it placed her in Performs category 1st, and her 2nd was Produces. Although neither description fit her very accurately, I was able to see how both labels fit her quite well when I realized how one trait replaced another from both groups.
Side note: I've always struggled to place this child in the Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic spectrum, as well, lol. And wouldn't you know, she tested as falling pretty equally amongst all three, which is the only answer I've ever arrived at since her kindergarten days:) As long as we hit all 3, we're good...
I've come up with a different term for my 1st dd's learning style: Real Life Learner.
My 2nd placed in the Thinks/Creates category 1st and Relates/Inspires one 2nd. This fit her quite well. I always wondered if she were somehow a Perfect Paula, because she used to fill in those workbooks with crazy enthusiasm, lol. But now I realize it's the social aspect of her personality; seeking attention and praise. She tends to need a lot of praise!
I fell into the Thinks/Creates category, which fits. One of my struggles as a homeschool mom is the way I tend to just drift off in the middle of nowhere. I tend to need a lot of "stare at the wall" time, which I cannot afford to take with a little one running around. I find it mentally draining to be ever-present. I've always been insanely jealous of Produces type people. I want to produce! I want to be structured and organized!
I'm half-way through the book. I got it for the quizzes (why else? lol). The book spends the first part talking about schools focusing on the Produces personalities, and how many other would-be good students are delegated to the bad student category. It also talks about the school focus on the bell curve: we have to have a bell curve so we can define the excellent students, the average students, and the poor students. The book takes the stance that everyone should (and can!) succeed, not just those labeled to succeed.