THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY TO DO HOMEWORK – PART 1
If scientists and psychologists have agreed that people learn differently, then why haven’t we adopted this understanding as it applies to homework?
Changing how our children learn in the classroom setting isn’t going to change anytime soon. We do, however, have more control at home when performing homework where much of the learning occurs, anyway.
Why not adapt the way our children study at home to match the type of learner they are? By doing this, we will reduce the stress level they are experiencing as well as improving their chances of actually retaining the material.
So, let’s first review the four basic ways people learn. One of the most popular models is called VARK.
- Visual – likes charts and graphs. Basically, learns best from images.
- Auditory – likes to recite out loud and prefers hearing the information rather than reading.
- Reading/Writing – best learning from reading on their own, taking their own notes.
- Kinesthetic – hands on, experimental. Likes to figure things out by doing. Doesn’t have patience to sit still long enough to learn.
First, though, explain to them that everyone learns differently and at a different pace. There is no right or wrong way to learn. It’s just different. Explain the 4 ways and what they each mean.
DETERMINE WHAT TYPE LEARNER YOUR CHILD IS
The next step is to help your child determine what type of learner they are. Try having them take this quiz.
After they have taken the quiz, the fun starts. How to apply the preferred method of learning to such subjects as Math, History, English, etc?
Please note that most people don’t fit 100% into a single method. What may work for one student may not for another. Don’t force the issue – allow flexibility.
Here are some suggestions, but whatever method you decide on, have your child participate in creating it. Make them part of the solution and they will more easily adopt the change and help make it a success.
These suggestions are only to open your imagination as to the possibilities. To “think outside the box” as it were.
- If your child is a Visual Learner, then they may have trouble when the teacher is teaching by just speaking to them. They will probably do most of their actual learning at home while doing homework where they can see the material. When they are old enough, they can start taking notes in class – that will help them.
- A Visual Learner is similar to a Reading/Writing Learner in many ways, except that a Visual Learner is also helped by visual aids, such as charts and graphs. For example, If they are studying history, have them make a timeline with all the pertinent information on the chart.
- Allow them to draw images that match the information, for example a ship next to the year 1492 when Columbus discovered America. Writing this information down and seeing visually will help them remember the material.
- Also, they just have some fun while learning! Nothing wrong with that.
- Teach your child how to make an outline. An outline is a nice tool because is simplifies and organizes the material into digestible bites of information.
- Another approach might be to turn an outline into a chart. For example, imagine a pie chart where each slice of the pie is the main topic in the outline and within the pie are the sub-categories. Each slice might be a different color to make it visually interesting.
- Flowchart – a visual learner might retain the information by putting it into a flowchart showing the logical progression of ideas. You might have them write down notes on index cards and then laying them out in a flowchart on the living room floor into a giant diagram!
- Multi-colored highlighters are a great tool for the Visual Learner. Not only is it fun to highlight all the different colors but it also will help create an association between the color and the topic. For example, write down math problems on index cards and highlight all addition problems as blue, all multiplication problems as green, etc.. This is a fun extra step and will help them visually divide up the problems. They may even be motivated to add a few problems on their own “just to keep the colors even”.
They can mix it up and keep it interesting. Learning becomes part of a fun adventure!
Visual learners need a quiet environment to learn best.
My daughter used to hate mushrooms. Really disliked them. The rule of the house, though, was that it was okay to not like a food, but you had to try it at least once, before deciding, and then you had to try it annually. One year, probably after trying mushrooms once a year for 10 years, my daughter nibbled on a mushroom and she liked it! She’s been eating mushrooms ever since.
What’s my point? People, especially young people, do change in their likes and dislikes. Just because at age 10,your son may learn best from auditory learning, that may not be true at age 13. So, be flexible. Have your child take the quiz occasionally.
Of course, if they are doing very well in school and comfortable in their learning habits, you may not want to rock the apple cart.