One of the reasons that I enjoy speaking with and reading the blogs of homeschoolers like Crystal so much is because they understand the importance of really personalizing the learning experience for their kids. So many times, kids begin to think that learning isn’t fun because they don’t have a fun experience in school. For school teachers, it’s really about teaching to the masses and hoping that the majority of your students enjoy the lesson. Homeschoolers have the unique opportunity to make every lesson inspiring and engaging for their kids—they just need to know what the key curriculum attributes to keep in mind during lesson planning and purchasing.
The challenge is that just as we all gravitate toward different types of activities, people, and ideas, kids gravitate toward different types of learning approaches and environments…even down to the ways in which they get organized and manage their time! It’s not always as easy as creating multi-sensory (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) lessons, it’s more about how their unique temperaments will affect the assignments that light up their minds.
My own tidbits of experience in terms of how important personality type is to how kids learn best were first unearthed via my own experience teaching my children and coaching them into better study habits. When my extroverted eldest daughter started doing homework, I began trying to send her to her room to complete her homework and told her we would talk about it afterward. At that point, homework was a painful process for both of us that would take her more than an hour in the first grade. As soon as I started embracing her desire—and ability—to “think out loud” and talk over the assignments with me before completing them on her own, homework became a much smoother process. Further, she began understanding the concepts that she had to silently absorb during the school day much better. She just needed to vocalize her thought process.
This is completely different than the way I preferred to tackle schoolwork and homework. As an introvert, I have always preferred to silently reflect and think things through before talking about them. If my Mom had asked me to talk through assignments with her first before tackling them, I would have gotten flustered!
Another way that personality type has impacted the learning process for my family is watching how my two kids approach new concepts. My daughter is a big picture thinker (an Intuitive) while my son is all about the details (a Sensor). Lana much prefers lessons that focus on the “forest” level of concepts before zooming into the trees.
Dashal, on the other hand, prefers to get really familiar with the pieces or individual elements of a concept before looking at how they fit together to create the whole. These personality-based preferences were very clear when they each started learning to read. Lana learned sight words first and would guess at the phonics-based ones based on picture clues and key letters. Phonemic awareness was more of an afterthought. Dash, now 4.5, gravitated instead toward sounding out words first and has not had as much interest in learning sight words yet. Completely different.
As they get older, it’s going to be important for me to remember to work Bloom’s Taxonomy from the bottom up for Dash (from knowledge practice to synthesis), whereas for Lana, it’s going to be important to flip Bloom’s pyramid upside down and pique her interest first with global ideas before drilling down to the reasons how or why.
I pored over nearly 100 reference books—not to mention countless hours doing online research—as I created a Parent’s Playbook for Learning. I wanted to understand exactly how the great minds in both personality type and pedagogy have recommended approaching learning during the past several decades. I also wanted to make sure that there was consensus in the recommendations across multiple sources and fields. My goal was to put together a reference guide that could assist parents in helping their kids embrace their unique strengths in both learning and life.
Thanks to each and every one of you for taking the time to join in on this virtual book tour post. I hope you’ll find my book to be both of interest and value. And thanks so much to you, Crystal, for letting me introduce my book and why I wrote it to your readers on Tidbits of Experience!