This is part 2 of 4 in a series about learning styles. You can read part 1 here.
Does your child like bright, stimulating colors? Does she scribble or doodle during homeschool lessons? Do you find your child always wanting to watch someone demonstrate how to do something before he tries it? If so, your child may be a visual learner. Homeschoolers can help increase the likelihood of their children engaging with and retaining information by finding out their child's learning style and incorporating elements of that style into their teaching. The following are characteristics of visual learners:
- Think in terms of images or pictures
- Prefer visual displays such as tables, diagrams, videos, etc.
- Find it easier to remember faces than names
- Write things down to remember them
- Remember what was seen or written
- Have vivid imaginations
- Like to classify or organize according to color
- Conscious of appearance
- Enjoy reading and books
- Like to make lists
- Lose interest if they can't picture what is being communicated
- Use visual words in speech: "Can I see you a minute?", "Show me", and "Watch this".
Approximately 30-35% of the population are visual learners, according to Cynthia Tobias, learning styles researcher and founder of Apple St. In order to find out if you or your child is in that population, click here to take an 80 question learning styles inventory. For a shorter inventory, click here. By appealing to your child's learning style, you will make learning more enjoyable for him or her, and will increase the chances of your child incorporating and remembering new knowledge. With very little effort, parents can incorporate simple things into their teaching which will appeal to the visual learner. The following are some simple ideas:
- Use bright colors in folders, notebooks, and presentations
- Allow the child to use color coded highlighters
- Use flashcards in presentation of material and for studying
- Utilize videos and computer programs (or online websites) to supplement new material
- Use descriptive language and visual metaphors
- Sketch out or draw the concept you are teaching
- Create charts and graphs of information being studied
- Use outlines and agendas to organize assignments
- Have the child make a drawing notebook and draw concepts as they are taught
- Use illustrated books and textbooks, and review photos and diagrams
- Have your child create a lapbook. Click here for more lapbook ideas, photos, and examples
Roanoke homeschooler Beth Hoover works to incorporate visually stimulating elements into her child's environment, to support her daughter's visual learning style. Her favorite method is to put educational materials up in the kitchen area where they spend most of their time; for example, she put a world map on the wall, and her daughter found Romania while eating a meal. Simple ideas such as these can make learning more enjoyable for the visual learner and can increase the likelihood of the child internalizing what is taught.
Tobias, C. U. Every Child Can Succeed: Teaching Them the Way They Learn. Presentation given on June 11, 2010 at the Virginia Homeschool Convention in Richmond.
©2010 Rebecca Capuano
Rebecca Capuano is a stay-at-home Mom who homeschools her two children. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. Currently, she writes for Examiner.com as the Roanoke Homeschooling Examiner, and serves as a Copy Writer for Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV). She also does periodic training and consulting with school systems to help staff work effectively with at-risk youth. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity.