Developing Your Home Schooling Curriculum

Developing home schooling curriculum can be a whole lot easier if the home instructor can define the child's learning style and gear her teaching methods toward that style.

One of the hardest things about homeschooling a child is coming to the realization that one size does not fit all. The most renowned and successful curriculum might be an abject failure if it isn't suited to your child. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is to be able to tailor the material to fit the needs of the individual learner. To that end, it is important to understand the different learning styles and how they fit with your child.

Many specialists in the field of education have come to the understanding that there are four broadly classified groups of learning styles. More often than not, each child will have traits of two or more of these groups and be flexible enough to manage learning in more than one set style or environment. Other children are very rigid and will have a very difficult time learning in any method which does not directly apply to his or her particular learning style. For that reason, it is important to take this following information with a grain of salt and realize, much like deciding which personality type you are, that indicators may depend on the time of day, the kind of activity and the fatigue level of the child.

To meet a little of that need, some education researchers are now using not four, but seven groups for categorization of learning styles. Again, not all children fit easily into the mold, but identifying their predominant style will allow you to better understand what the child needs in order to learn to their best degree.

1. Mechanical or Kinesthetic: These children are the ones who move around frequently and are hardly able to sit still for a moment. They are best in situations where they can manipulate objects and enjoy building toys like Lego, Construx, and even cardboard boxes. They are the ones who, once they have developed a little patience, can build suspension bridges out of toothpicks. Physical learners of this nature are also enthralled with modeling clay and finger paints and enjoy textures like smooth or rough fabrics. They may also excel in dance or gymnastics, and are generally good at role play or acting.

2. Linguistic: For these children, learning comes easily through their eyes. Reading textbooks and listening to lectures given by instructors is the best way for them to learn. Very often they excel at written work like language arts and creative report writing. Many refer to these children as "bookworms" and most public school systems have come to depend upon this method of teaching as the basis of education.

3. Visual or spatial: similar to the learning style above, visual learners are very artistic and have an eye for things like complimentary colours, and what "goes" with what. This kind of hands-on learner enjoys drawing, painting and even sewing and crafting. They often learn best by teaching or demonstrating to others, and are often very good mapmakers or design architects.

4. Mathematical: Given to the love of rules and guidelines, mathematical learners prefer orderly and logical progression. They learn best when involved in the use of reason, numbers and patterns and are fantastic at mental and number puzzles. Their favourite form of art is paint-by-number and cooking with strict, never-fail recipes.

5. Musical: These children are best able to do memory work (like bible verses), when they can put the knowledge to music. They can recall anything if they can sing it and enjoy all forms of musical expression. More often than not, these are the "play by ear" musicians and they excel in fields in which music can play an important role.

6. Autonomist: These children work best on their own, and are often distracted and stressed when having to work in groups larger than three or four other children. These children benefit from goal setting and the charting of their progress toward that goal. They also are very independent and interact more comfortably with machinery and tools like computers, cars and farm equipment.

7. Social: This final group of children are the ones who most often succumb to peer pressure. They do best in large social settings, where they have many friends with whom to interact. They are very good at helping others solve problems, and generally have reliable insights. Social workers, counsellors and therapists often fit into this category.

If you have trouble identifying which category best suits your child, there is much research available on the web and in print. A few moments in the library or on the internet will give you greater insight into your child's learning style and aid you in how best you can fine tune his curriculum and school materials to help him learn at his best pace.

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