So, what is in store for this year? Hopefully quite a few things to keep hands busy and brains growing. To start with, let's take a minute to talk about learning or, more specifically, how we learn. Did you know that everyone has a best way that they can receive and integrate new information? Some people like to read material. Some understand better when they hear directions and information. There are also those who learn best when they can have hands-on lessons. Most people fall into more than one category when it comes right down to it. Combinations of each form of learning enhance the experience to make lessons really stick.
Interestingly enough, everyone also has a worst way to learn. Often information received in this form slides right out of our brains because we simply can't grasp the concept in a way that makes sense to out own particular thinking processes. Often our brains simply tune out this form of input. When we are forced to learn in a manner that is difficult to process, the joy of learning disappears. Instead of reaching toward the next new concept, we claim we are bored or that learning is just too hard. My guess is that many students who struggle to pass classes do so not because they aren't "smart enough" to achieve better scores, but because they are attempting to learn in a way that does not suit their needs. This can lead to a lifelong avoidance of educational opportunities that dooms individuals to lower levels of achievement and robs our society of potential.
Over the next three weeks I would like to introduce you to the three main ways we learn. By understanding you and your child's best and worst ways to incorporate new information, you can begin looking at your educational plans from a new viewpoint. Whether you change how you teach in your homeschooling environment or add specialized tutoring to help your public schooled child better understand their homework, knowing different ways to teach any subject is sure to lead to a better overall educational outcome no matter how well things are already going.
This week, take a few moments to consider how you would prefer to learn how to put a bicycle together. Would you rather be left alone in a quiet environment to read the manual? Do you think it would be easy if someone read the directions to you while you listened and followed the steps? What about taking inventory of your parts and then putting them together by how they best fit or because you've taken a similar bicycle apart in the past and know how to reverse the process? Is there a combination of these options that sounds particularly good to you? Is there one that sounds like a terrible idea?
When you are done asking yourself these questions, ask your child. See how your answers compare. If you have more than one child, compare their answers as well. This whole exercise can be very enlightening. For instance, I happen to really like reading directions and find myself daydreaming often when I have music playing. My youngest tends to do better when he has his hands in the problem with music playing in the background. He gets easily distracted while sitting still in the quiet. If I were to insist that he put the bicycle together my way, he would spend most of his time completely distracted and making less progress than if he were to be able to embrace his preferred method. (Please note: online schooling programs are heavy on reading and quiet... It's a battle, people; A BATTLE. And it's not my battle to fight which makes it that much harder as a parent.)
While you do that, I'm going to put together some fun ways to explore the ways we learn. I hope you will take a few minutes to share your thoughts as we play our way to some handy new knowledge!