What is your Learning Style?
The ladies and gentlemen (yes, there are stay at home dads) from the Well Trained Mind message boards are a font of information. Some had been home schooling their children for a couple years to eighteen years. Yes, some people do home school their kids from kindergarten to High School. They guided me to so many different books to read about learning styles and everything else imaginable.
One of the first things I thought about was James learning style? Did I know my learning style? Once again with God as our guide and leading us down this home school path, I read Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamo’s by Lucy Palidino.
According to Psychologist Lucy Jo Palladino:
“20 percent of children have what she calls the Edison trait: dazzling intelligence, an active imagination, a free-spirited approach to life, and the ability to drive everyone around them crazy. She named the trait after Thomas Edison, who flunked out of school despite his obvious brilliance. Edison-trait children think divergently, while school is geared to children who think convergently (one idea at a time).”
“He was a boy who learned only by doing. At age six, he had to see how fire worked and accidentally burned his father's barn to the ground. The next fall he began school, where he alternated between letting his mind travel to distant places and keeping his body in perpetual motion in his seat. Because he was distracted and restless, he did not last long in a formal classroom. His teacher called him "addled." Eventually, his mother had to home-school him. As an adult he would recall: "My father thought I was stupid and I almost decided I must be a dunce."
Who was this boy? Thomas Edison!
The book asks these questions:
"If your child is a Dreamer
1. Does he get absorbed or intensely involved in his own ideas much of the time?
2. Is he prone to saying things out of the blue?
3. Does he procrastinate to an extreme?
4. Are his interests and activities eclectic?
5. Does he start at least three projects for every one he finishes?
If your child is a Discoverer
1. Is he easily attracted to sights and sounds around him?
2. Is it vital for him to express his opinion?
3. Does he crave novelty, power, and excitement?
4. Is he always ready to speak, especially if you're talking?
5. When he wants his own way - which is almost always - is he relentless?
Or, if your child is a Dynamo
1. Does he get aggressive or intensely emotional about his own ideas much of the time?
2. Is some part of his body always in motion?
3. Are chances to run and climb as vital as the air he breathes?
4. Does he have boundless energy, enough for about three children his age?
5. Do you find yourself wondering if he lacks common sense?"
Remind you of anyone you know? Father and James have a combination of all three.
“It is a natural human tendency to assume that all minds work the same way. We tacitly agree that all minds should naturally be able to follow through on one idea at a time, from beginning to end, with attention to detail. We call convergent thinking the norm and we presume it's what comes naturally if a brain is "normal." Divergent thinkers are viewed as having "attentional problems."
”We label convergent thinking as right and divergent thinking as wrong. We base the methods we use to train our children on this premise. We expect children to focus in a linear fashion for as long as we say they should. This is true at home and at school. And at school, as class sizes get larger and children get more diverse, a teacher's tolerance for a student's divergent thinking necessarily diminishes. The same curriculum gets taught to all students in the same way and at the same pace.”
”The brains of Edison-trait children are misunderstood, not inferior. As students they are attentionally disadvantaged because we punish, and fail to appreciate, their unique creative slant. They get blamed for not completing desk work in the allotted time. They are scolded for not staying in their seats until recess. They are forced to work at an unsuitable tempo, and then get graded down for poor handwriting, and errors in grammar, spelling, and math facts. These outcomes are inevitable artifacts of a mismatched approach.”
”We teach to their weaknesses, not to their strengths. We insist that they see things our way, but we won't see things theirs. These children are stunningly divergent. They are on a quest for discovery, exploration, and stimulation. Surely we can be flexible and accommodate their style. They can and will develop convergent skins, but only if their desire to learn is protected and kindled with success.”
Excerpted from Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamos by Lucy Jo Palladino
James is a divergent thinker. So, homeschooling allows us the flexibility to cater to James learning style. We have discovered that I am a divergent thinker and Father is a convergent thinker.
Then someone told me about Upside Down Brilliance: The Visual Spatial Learner by Dr. Linda Silverman. Amazing, awesome book because I discovered something about myself, I am a visual spatial learner.
“Do you know things without being able to explain how or why?”
“Do you solve problems in unusual ways? “
“Do you think in pictures rather than in words?”
“Dr. Linda Silverman coined the term “visual-spatial learner” in 1981 to describe the unique gifts of people who think in images. They get the big picture because they see the world through artists’ eyes.
They remember what they see, but forget what they hear. They’re disorganized, can’t spell and have no sense of time, but they have an infectious sense of humor, wild imaginations and can lose themselves completely in the joy of the moment. Visual-spatial brilliance created the computer and the Internet, the vivid displays at the Olympics, and the International Space Station.”
Oh My Gosh! Doesn’t everyone think in pictures? I have always thought in pictures and didn’t realize that it was different. No wonder I was bored by literature that was poorly written. While reading I literally see and get into the story. No wonder I had been so darned bored by classroom lectures.
When ever Father would go into a long explanation of a new electronic gadget, I would catch about half of it, then my mind would wonder off because I couldn’t picture what he was talking about. Now, when he describes a gadget, I have him draw a picture of it and I see what he is talking about.
James is like me in so many ways and is also a visual spatial learner. So these books were real eye openers. I discovered something new about myself and was actual able to make changes in my life to improve it. Life is so full of discovery and changes and no matter how old you get, you need to be open to it. Father and I dove in Home schooling without knowing how much it would change our lives. All I can say is hang on for the ride, because it is amazing what you learn and discover about yourself along the way.
There are many books out there that will help you determine learning styles and how to teach your child. I have links to several in the side bar.