View Full Version : Tips on discovering your child's learning style...

Sally Keskey
05-17-2011, 08:00 AM
My oldest daughter is three and we will be homeschool pre school next year. I know curriculums aren't always necessary at her level but she is very driven and has an insatiable appetite for knowledge! How do I go about learning her learning style? She is a wiggly kid as I hunk most children are at her age. Where to start?

05-17-2011, 08:16 AM
Play, explore, and read.

I understand having a driven kid--mine demanded to learn all the letters and their sounds before he turned 2--but IMO a formal curriculum is never necessary at that age. Even in preschool kids mostly play.

You are in the wonderful position to be able to follow her lead, and that's really all she needs. Play letter games, play with numbers, make labels for things around the house, read read read read, explore bugs in the backyard (and at the zoo, online, in books), have her help you in the kitchen and do meaningful work around the house with you (even little kids can be responsible for so much)...in other words, fill her world and let her explore it. She'll let you know what she needs; you just need to listen and provide. How much more fun is that! :)

As for learning styles, I'd venture to guess 3 is too young to think about such things. Right now all her learning is through play, which is how it should be (yes, workbooks can be play too if she enjoys them; my son loved them even at that age). In time, you might find that she gets particularly excited about hands on projects, or that she repeats all the words you read to her in a book to daddy when he comes home, or that she just *has* to touch everything to really understand it. For now, you should appeal to all her senses and not limit her by worrying about "styles".

Have fun!

Sally Keskey
05-17-2011, 08:20 AM
We do a lot of these things already! She wants more! Buts she isn't grasping letters and numbers yet but loves to ask what letters and words are. She asks me to take her to the library daily. She wants me to bring her home new books about dinosaurs and oceans whenever I go into town for work. It is so awesome.

05-17-2011, 08:29 AM
Yep, that is awesome! Sounds like my son at that age (and still!). Huh, almost makes me want a preschooler...:)

05-17-2011, 09:25 AM
Enjoy this time! I would just follow her lead and keep taking her to the library!

Sally Keskey
05-17-2011, 10:33 AM
I love this forum so far! I haven't been able to find this help any where.

05-17-2011, 10:57 AM
When my kids were that age, we did all the kind of stuff that HockeyMom suggested. We were constantly out and about. If you have museums near you, it's very worth it to get memberships. Science centers and children's museums are so good at that age. I also found that it was useful to have idea books at that age for projects. Usborne has a bunch of them. I remember we especially liked Science Things to Make and Do, but there are a bunch of the "make and do" books that were good. They're intended for slightly older kids, but I remember structuring things so that the kids practiced scissor skills and decorating while I did the putting together sort of stuff. We also started playing on the computer at that age - things like pbskids.org, starfall's ABC site (http://www.starfall.com/n/level-k/index/play.htm?f), and especially the amazing Red Fish (http://www.poissonrouge.com/), which totally taught my kids how to use the mouse and the computer, as well as lots of other stuff. That's a perfect site for this age group. We also had a lot of learning toys and pretend play stuff.

I agree that at this age, wiggly and active is just normal and it's hard to do a lot of formal learning or know for sure what your kid's learning style will be in the future. You just get out and experience things. And have fun!

Oh, one more thing, which is that we connected with our homeschool friends around that time and it was a huge help later on to have a built in group of friends in place already when we got to preK and kindy. So I highly recommend looking for a preschool homeschool group in your area or just asking if there are other preschool homeschoolers who would like to get together and hang out regularly on your local listserv.

05-17-2011, 11:37 AM
If it helps, here's my hack way of thinking about learning styles. Learning styles are a lot like personalities. Young kids try things out in many ways, find one way of thinking or observing works for them so they trust it a bit more. Over time they use it more because they trust it, and since they use it they get better at it, which makes them trust it more and use it more, and...

The idea is that their native way of observing/processing the world will develop over time. Sometimes it changes, as different parts of the brain "come on line" and supersede the previous favorites (such as abstract thinking). The way I think of it is that each child has their preferred method. It's our job to be open to their methods (which may be different than our own). Understanding their "style" helps us understand how they learn, and it's helpful to teach into that style when things are tough. On the other hand you don't want to inadvertently force a style on them (or not let their style change because you "know it", kinda like if a kid says their fav color is red and you never consider it might change), and later in life even if they PREFER one style they need to be proficient in ALL styles. So, for me it is about being aware of their style but still teaching to ALL styles.

I think most kids can learn well in a variety of styles, however some kids really struggle when info is presented in a non-native style. Until a problem arises, I assume my child benefits from being exposed to all styles of teaching, but I'll go to their favorite if they are struggling with a concept or it's "not her favorite" subject. :)

So, a preschooler may not have a preferred style yet. Just keep using diverse methods (auditory, visual, hands-on, etc). If over the years your child shows a strong preference, take note!

05-17-2011, 03:09 PM
Excellent post, Cat! It was very helpful! Thank you!

05-20-2011, 03:10 PM
Yes, and in the time tested words of Bobby McFerrin, "don't worry....Be happy."