So, here’s the scenario. It’s a weeknight, and your child has spent most of the evening on the same school assignment. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t understand the information. To top it off, he’s brought home a note from the teacher warning you about a failing grade. Now what do you do?
Parents often assume the worst, thinking their child has a behavior problem, difficulty learning, or is just plain lazy. In fact, most of the time, school challenges like this aren’t a crisis. The trouble may be as simple as your child’s learning style.
Think about the average classroom. Each student’s learning style may be quite different, but teachers can only do so much to accommodate individual learning needs. As a consequence, what’s crystal clear to one child may sound like a foreign language to another.
If your child doesn’t understand a concept, it could be that the information hasn’t been presented in the style in which your child best learns. You can help your child discover the right learning approach that presents information in a way he or she understands.
By far, the number one thing you can do is to focus on your child’s strengths. Be observant. What best helps them to concentrate? Do they think better with noise? With silence? Do they prefer to sit still when they do homework, or does moving around get their brain working?
Once you understand something about their learning style, you can strategize how to help your child transfer those strengths to school. Your child may be required to write down their spelling words, for example. But speaking them out loud may be the way they best learn.
A simple key like that can transform a child who’s struggling and discouraged into one with a renewed passion for learning.
To help you understand your child’s learning style, we’re airing a two-day broadcast with author Cynthia Tobias called “Discovering Your Child’s Learning Style.” She’s sharing ideas from her book “The Way They Learn: How to Discover and Teach to Your Child’s Strengths.”
Particularly helpful to you will be Cynthia’s full description of the different learning styles:
Auditory Learning – Learning by hearing. These kids learn best not just by hearing you, but by hearing themselves. They process information verbally.
Visual Learning – Learning by seeing. Visual children don’t talk as much. They watch. They observe.
Kinesthetic Learning – Learning by doing. These children don’t like to sit still for long periods of time or to listen without doing something.
Cynthia will also offer practical tips like this one: Answer the question, “What’s the point?” In other words, is the point for your child to sit quietly at a desk? Or is it for he or she to be successful with school and with their homework?