Curriculum and the LD Child-Part 1
- 2003 10 Sep
Introduction and Learning Styles
Have you enjoyed Gods creative gifts lately? He didnt choose just one color to paint the trees in autumn or one flower to grace the perennials in spring. He doesnt recycle the same glorious sunset every evening or give a monotonous sunrise every dawn. And He didnt create just one birds song or one babys cry. In His infinite wisdom, He has made every person different, too. Not everyone plays the piano; some can only play the radio. Not everyone is tall; some come in small packages. Some are dark, and some are fair. Our God is a magnificent God of creative variety.
Children come with special differences, too. While some learn best by hearing, others learn best by seeing. Some are movers or jabber constantly, while others sit quietly by the hour. Some love math, while others prefer a good book. Some love to put their thoughts on paper, while others prefer creating a masterpiece from the recycle bin. Some are compliant and cooperative, while others are argumentative, always challenging your authority. Some excel in sports, while others cant chew gum and walk at the same time.
Since you are reading this article, chances are God has given you a wonderful, frustrating, perplexing bundle called a child. Nobody else has one just like him. She is one of a kind. Someone has suggested the label of learning disability or ADD or ADHD. Please understand that a learning disability is not a learning inability. Rather, it is a learning difference! Your home schooling mission, should you decide to accept it, is to discover the unique way God wired your child. Be forewarned that discoverys very nature requires trials and errorsand it wont happen overnight. And since there is no one curriculum that works for every child, lets explore some practical, realistic ways to best choose the closest curriculum match for your gift.
Your home schooling mentor, Susie Q., has been teaching her 42 children for 500 years. Her son, Sam, is just like your son, Jeff. They both play baseball, hate baths, eat spinach, and have shaggy brown hair dangling in their eyes. Should you take her curriculum recommendations as gospel?
Before you plunk down your money on Susies suggestions, take a few minutes to think it through. No one likes making expensive curriculum mistakes.
Lets briefly look at how people learn. Information comes into our brain through our senses: sight (visual), hearing (auditory), touch (tactile), movement (kinesthetic), and smell (olfactory). Most people depend upon one dominant sense, reinforcing it with the lesser ones. This dominant strength, or information-gathering preference, is better known as a learning style. Once the message arrives at the brain through your preferred style, it must be processed into meaningful information. This information is then acted upon or stored for a later time.
Each learning style manifests itself in particular ways. In general:
Visual people tend to enjoy beauty, noticing tiny details the average person overlooks. They are good picture readers, discerning the story by its illustrations. They love finding hidden pictures, too. Visual people tend to be the most successful in school because nearly every curriculum is aimed at them.
Auditory people love to listen to music or tapes, dont fall asleep in lectures, and usually love to talk. They chatter away, asking questions, interrupting, and supplying the last word in a sentence before you can say it. They love to rhyme and play with words, often making up new vocabulary. Auditory children often whisper to themselves as they read silently (subvocalize) for reinforcement. They are usually good in phonics, but poor in visual memory, so spelling and math memorization become difficult for them.
Kinesthetic people are movers and shakersones who cant sit still and are movement oriented. They are frequently athletic and very competitive. Very little holds their attention. They are the hardest to teach because they dont stay still long enough to learn. They frequently get labeled ADD or ADHD.
Tactile people are huggers and touchers. They are your cuddlers and lap children. They immediately reach for the toys on a shelf, caressing each one carefully, running their fingers over its contours or stroking the fur of stuffed animals. (If they turn it over in their hands and examine it visually, this indicates visual, not tactile, strengths.) Most kinesthetic learners are tactile, too.
Olfactory people are very sensitive to smells (as are many gifted children). These people must depend on other modes of information gathering. Since you cant learn to read by sniffing, however, we will skip this category.