You need to first assess your child’s learning style before deciding upon a homeschool method. When you make the decision to homeschool your children, you take on the role of their teacher. This is a challenge for many new homeschooling parents, who often feel less qualified due to a lack of teaching credentials. It's natural to fear that your own limitations might compromise your child's education, but try to relax. Remember that homeschooling offers many learning opportunities not found in a traditional school environment. One of these is the ability to tailor your child's homeschool education to their unique learning needs.
Creating the right homeschooling plan for your children means assessing and addressing the way they learn. This starts with finding the learning style they respond to most, and using it as a teaching tool. There are 3 main learning styles, each with their own distinct strengths:
As the name suggests, visual learners learn best by seeing. They benefit from videos, illustrations, diagrams and other visual representations of subject matter. For many visual learners, seeing how something works is very important. Flash cards, blackboard lessons and other visual stimuli where they can “connect the dots” can help subject matter stick better than traditional textbook learning alone. Visual learners often reinforce their lessons by taking detailed notes.
Auditory learners benefit most from hearing their lessons. Videos can still be effective, as long as there is narration or other auditory stimuli involved. Auditory learners absorb information from one-on-one tutoring, lectures, mnemonics, audiobooks and other vocal learning methods. These learners can also benefit from taking detailed notes, but will do best by rereading them aloud. Recording your homeschool lessons for your child to play back later can also be an effective way to help him absorb the information.
Also referred to as tactile learners, these learners respond to touch and movement-based stimuli. Kinesthetic learners often have trouble staying still, or become easily bored with traditional study. These children benefit from spatial learning resources, and having the ability to interact with a lesson rather than simply read or hear about it. Games and activities can be very helpful when trying to engage a kinesthetic learner, such as scavenger hunts, field trips and experimentation. Try reinforcing lessons with objects or play activities to keep children engaged.
Though capitalizing on your child's learning preferences can make it easier to transition into a homeschool environment, it's always a good idea to vary your educational repertoire. Don't be afraid to assign a quiet reading assignment to a kinesthetic learner, for example. Using varied learning stimuli makes for a richer educational experience, and will better equip your children to absorb and process information. When your children join a traditional school or head off to college, being familiar with all learning styles will also place them on equal footing with their peers.