Trying to figure out how our youngest learns best

Our 6-year-old has her first spelling test ever this week so I’m trying to figure out her learning style. Is she auditory? Is she visual? Does she need to write things over and over to remember them?

All of her learning up until this point has been very organic. We read with her. Talk about numbers. Do math problems together but she’s never really had a “test.”

The two older kids needed very little quizzing or studying time in the younger grades. Even now they look over it on their own and we might walk through math problems or vocabulary and they’re good. But I don’t know if the youngest is that way or not.  (Walsh’s new school is really emphasizing note cards for studying now. Look over them each day and then you’re ready for the test without much prep the night before.)

I started with a pre-test on Sunday to see how much we needed to work on them. There was about four out of 15 that she didn’t know immediately and two of those were the challenge words. So we started reviewing the ones she didn’t know on Monday. On her own she decided to write them and then later when I asked her to spell them she added one new one to her repertoire. She was still working on “September.”

It’s interesting to try to figure out how each child learns best and what support they need to succeed.

How did you figure out your child’s learning style or did you? Do you know what techniques they use to learn best? How did you figure it out? Did they tell you or was it through trial and error or observation?

17 comments Add your comment

motherjanegoose

September 11th, 2013
7:21 am

Sorry…I just typed something and it blitzed out. I have to scoot.

mother of 2

September 11th, 2013
7:22 am

We did something similar to what you are doing with your youngest. We incorporated whatever they were learning into my boys’ lives. Both of my kids went through a Montessori preschool, where learning was visual/auditory/kinetic. You are doing the same thing. Continue your current routine and your youngest will do well. Some kids do better visually with some things, but need auditory and/or kinetic in others. I’m not sure that all kids fit into a specific learning style their whole lives.

Jessica

September 11th, 2013
10:11 am

There are several free or inexpensive apps for the iPhone/iPad that can help kids practice their spelling words. We limit the amount of “screen time” our kids get, so playing a game on the iPad is a treat for them, even if it is an educational game.

catlady

September 11th, 2013
10:59 am

I think you will start noticing her dominate preference soon. Follow her lead.

catlady

September 11th, 2013
10:59 am

Kat

September 11th, 2013
11:33 am

Our kids use “Spelling City.” Your child types the weekly spelling list in. The computer voice says the words, and the child spells them and you learn afterwards how you did. You can play all sorts of games, as well. This might prove effective.

How did we let it get to this?

September 11th, 2013
11:40 am

The very reason why a one-size-fits-all government schooling approach is such a failure for so many kids. The very reason why homeschooling – where the very experimentation regarding learning styles (along with the freedom to actually explore them) has been so successful.

Stop trying to meet the expectations of the government bureaucrats who think they know best how to raise your child and keep them home and teach them there.

Virtually every sentence you wrote makes the case for keeping your child out of the failed system.

jarvis

September 11th, 2013
12:38 pm

“How did we let it get to this?”, how do you suggest that stupid people teach their kids at home? Certainly you don’t think some mouth breather with nothing more than a 9th Grade eduation is qualified to teach anyone, do you?

Ann

September 11th, 2013
1:10 pm

@ Jarvis – Sure, all parents are not candidates for homeschooling. But, the level of education of the parents is not always the determining factor. Those kids learned how to walk and talk with those parents. The first few years of kids’ lives, they learn many things through observation and exploration. Our culture is set up, though, that “all of a sudden” when you switch to formal schooling the method changes. The student is often the passive recipient of information with external rewards. And, then, when you are an adult on your own, you need to switch back to being self-initiated.

You don’t always need “teachers to learn”. A kid, like my son, with self-initiative and a love for learning has acquired a huge amount of knowledge and skills. Kids that learn “organically” as Theresa describes can be self initiators and learn a lot from books, etc. My son is constantly doing science experiments, exploring and figuring out things and testing out theories. Teachers have their place and benefit, and my son is exposed to some, but it is incorrect to assume that you have to be a “teacher” of all subjects to homeschool. Many of the people throughout history that reached the top of their fields and businesses were self-taught to a large degree.

My South Georgia grandmother had an 8th grade education. She was extremely well read, though, and wrote poetry. She emphasized learning with her four children.

RJ

September 11th, 2013
1:18 pm

@Jarvis, I agree 100%. I have seen parents homeschool and it was a disaster. They lacked the knowledge. I love what Dekalb County has done. They have a Montessori School, school for the gifted, theme schools, etc. It gives parents options. I wish all school systems would do the same. I let my kids show me how they learned. My youngest will be going to a Montessori school next year.

Teacher, Too

September 11th, 2013
1:23 pm

I think students need to learn to use all three learning styles. Certainly students will have one, perhaps even two, dominant learning styles, but when the students get to high school/ college, the teachers/professors are not going to tailor their lectures to each student’s learning style. I use all three learning styles, but I am predominantly a visual/auditory learner. Now that I am back in school, I use all the strategies that I teach my students. I give them many strategies on how to study and how to take notes, etc…so that they are prepared for high school and beyond. But, the key is that they should have numerous strategies that are not based on just one learning style.

Students can become proficient in several learning styles, even if they have a dominant one they prefer.

motherjanegoose

September 11th, 2013
2:12 pm

@jarvis…thanks for the laugh!

Ann

September 11th, 2013
3:10 pm

@ RJ – There are parents that homeschool successfully and some that do not, just as there are schools and teachers that are good and some that are not. Rather than just considering your personal exposure to homeschooling that you thought was disastrous, look up some of the research studies that have compared college graduation rates, SAT and ACT scores of home schoolers and public schoolers.

Jessica

September 11th, 2013
4:55 pm

@ Jarvis, unless the law in Georgia has changed recently, a parent must have at least a high school diploma or GED to homeschool his/her children. There are no people with just a 9th grade education trying to teach their kids, at least not legally.
@ RJ, the ‘disasters’ make up just a small fraction of homeschoolers. Generally speaking, they outperform their public school counterparts. This holds true for minority and low-income homeschool students, as well as those whose parents have no education beyond high school.

RJ

September 11th, 2013
7:22 pm

I have taught homeschooled kids and the majority weren’t impressive. I did have a piano student years ago that was homeschooled. However, she attended school twice a week in Woodstock. They hired someone to teach courses the parents lacked knowledge on. Eventually she ended up in Catholic school full time. Being “minority” has nothing to do with anything. Why must we always throw that in the pot. Few low-income parents homeschool. I do like the online schools. I think it’s a great option for parents.

MrLiberty

September 12th, 2013
8:19 pm

Its amazing how every comment about homeschooling is always about how bad it would be for “other people.” What about your child? What about you, the well-educated adult with enough caring and concern about their well-being that you would take the time to ensure a quality education? Why do you put up with the crap from the government prison system that passes itself off as a school? Why do you buy into the lie that only a government approved teacher can teach anyone anything (when the statistics show quite the opposite)? Are you aware that statistically education majors score just above public service majors at the bottom of nearly every measure of academic ability (SAT, GRE, GPA, etc.)? If you weren’t at the bottom, you likely could do a better job. More importantly, you actually care about your children and their success. There is no way a teacher could care as much as you. There is no way they could tell as well as you whether they are “getting it” – and work to address the issue.

Stop bringing up everyone else when discussing homeschooling. What are your excuses personally? Do you just not want to have them around during the day? So why did you have them? Do you know feel qualified? Get over it. The statistics already say you are more qualified.

I certainly know that the author of this blog is qualified but I also sense that she likes her “alone time.” Balance that with an undereducated child and see how that works.

Annie

September 13th, 2013
11:58 am

Homeschooling is an good option, if you have a certain level of knowledge; however, if you insist that Wales is in England you shouldn’t be teaching your children geography or European history. If you tell me you need to “axe me a question” you shouldn’t be homeschooling your children. If you cannot tell the difference between you’re and your or their and there, you shouldn’t be homeschooling your children.