There has been so much talk about defining the terms of homeschooling since the unfortunate beginning of pandemic schooling. While none of this is normal, none of this is easy, and none of it is ideal, this does give parents a unique situation to learn about their children in a different manner. I want to be one of the people to encourage parents. You can teach your children. You taught them their first words, how to walk, and most likely the ABC's. You were and are their most important teacher.
When we began homeschooling, we had the privilege to spend plenty of time deschooling, which simply means learning in different ways. We traveled to museums, read a loud all the time, baked, and tried to figure out each other in a teacher/ student role. This involved me learning how each child learned. I fully recognize that this period of deschooling has to look different now and may not even be able to occur with the demands of virtual schooling. However, there are some keys to presenting materials personally to your child that may influence their participation and retention.
Interoception- the hidden sense. It is how a person describes and understands what is going on inside their body. Are you hungry, tired, itchy, have to go to the bathroom? These are things we as adults easily take care of before work and even learning. But, it’s harder for kids. My 4 year old doesn’t do many formal lessons but so we don’t yet have to worry about sitting for writing/ reading/ math. But, he does get up from the meal table 19475932 times. One day, we traced his body. Then we did a “body scan” to decide if he was ready to sit at the table. He was able to take care of some of his own needs and then tell me his legs always feel heave when we eat. I think this is because they don’t touch the floor 🤯.
After exploring if a child feels ready to learn, considering the learning style and adding simple strategies can take education from tedious to fun.
Visual learning is the easiest type of learning to cater towards. Picture books, written words, photographs, these are all ways to increase exposure for visual learners. This year, we added a chalkboard wall in our home so we can have visual representation of our topics for the week. Oddly, I’m the one that tends to rely on the board the most to let the material sink in.
Auditory learners benefit from listening and speaking. They talk out loud, listen to lectures and retain information. They also really benefit from pneumonic devices. We also cater to this learning style by putting a lot of facts into song. If your kids are auditory learners, they will love audiobooks and benefit from you talking through/ explaining math or other workbooks. They will be able to narrate back to you after you read an excerpt to them. If your kids are not auditory learners yet need to listen to lectures online, or listen to you read aloud, try allowing them to write/ draw what you are talking about.
Kinesthetic learning -
Kinesthetic learners are are hands - on- learners. This can be accomplished by adding writing and drawing to auditory or visual material. It can also be manipulatives or even movement to lessons. We reviewed our skip counting that we learned earlier this year by making hopscotch around our cul-de-sac. My youngest drew the squares, my 9 year old and 11 year old alternated skip counting up to the 15’s, and squares. They wrote the numbers (kinesthetic), then could see the numbers (visual), sang our skip counting songs (auditory), and then hopscotched (kinesthetic)
If you do have the ability to choose curriculum, two of my favorites consider all of the learning styles. 1) Learning without Tears teaches handwriting by building letters with wooden pieces, practicing on a chalkboard with the wet/dry/try method (kinesthetic), explaining the steps to each letter with specific easy to learn wording (auditory), and then looking at the letters (visual). My 4 year old is learning all of his letters in this manner and my 9 year old is learning cursive and practicing his writing utilizing their workbooks for the older student.
2) All About Learning- We love All About Spelling for my 9 year old son. He struggled with reading for many years. You can read more about his journey. The program is scripted and incorporates spelling with tiles (visual), spelling outloud (auditory), spelling using the body (kinesthetic), and then writing (kinesthetic). He has truly blossomed with his phonetic awareness and ability to recall words because of these techniques.
Though these times are very unconventional, learning alongside your child can be a beautiful thing! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me for a consultation and recommendations on how to incorporate some of these strategies into your homeschool.