Have you ever stopped to think about how you learn best?
At some point in college I figured out that I am not a huge audio learner, but if I wrote down amazing notes and then rewrote them, maybe even color coding them I could remember it. My roommate on the other hand was an audio learner and needed movement too. She would read her notes to herself walking back and forth in our dorm room.
What does this have to do with making your homeschool hands on? Your kids also have a learning style, and using it can greatly improve what they remember.
The three most common are: audio, visual, and movement (or kinesthetic). Most of us have some of each of these, but will do best with one.
Audio and visual is what most of the traditional school system is geared towards, with a heavy weighting towards audio in the older grades and more visual in the younger grades. I found this site to have some useful descriptions and links to many different tests or descriptions if you want more details.
To make it more easily understandable, let me relate this to my three kids. I’ve already said I’m more of a visual learner, I probably also have some kinesthetic tendencies with the need to write out my notes several times. I also learned better by doing.
My oldest is Superman (by 2 minutes). He loves to draw. If you let him draw or color pictures he concentrates better to hear lessons read and remembers it better. So, that’s a visual component, but he also likes to act it out. If he can add his toys in and use those to act out his history lessons he can remember who won the battles, why they were fighting, and what was so important.
My next is Batman. He is my doer, he has to be doing something or leading something. He is the one who most often requests acting out battles or the story, anything that is moving and going. He dislikes writing unless it’s with a dry erase marker, which he can erase in a silly way. Writing something does not help him remember it.
My youngest is Princess. She is an auditory learner, especially music. She can hear a song and sing it back almost word for word with only hearing it a couple of times. If I want her to remember something I think up a rhyme or a song. She also loves to create. If you can make it into an art project, you will have her attention for a long time.
Knowing these things about my kids, my homeschooling tends to have a lot of acting out history lessons with emphasis on battles. We read books and do art projects and have at least one song per day. I found coloring pages for our history and science for next year because Superman kept requesting more of those and wanting to recolor what I had.
But, don’t only play to your kids strengths. I mentioned Batman hates to write. He still needs to learn how to write and how to communicate his ideas so people understand. How do I get him more enthusiastic about it? First I limit what we write. Next, for right now he does copy work. He dictates it to me, and I write it down correcting grammar, and then he writes it down himself. This lets him participate in the writing process without pushing him beyond his limits.
In the end, it never hurts to try something and if it doesn’t work look at what didn’t work and why. I’m always having to reevaluate and go back to what does and does not work.
It’s a never ending process that makes life interesting.