September 26, 2003

Individualized Learning... One of the best advantages I see to homeschooling is the ability to tailor the teaching style to the learning style of the child. I believe many public and private school teachers would also love to do that but would find it challenging and most likely downright impossible to tailor their teaching to 20-30 different styles of learning. But I will only need to adapt to three (unless we have some later addition to our family) and to me that seems quite feasible. I am already working with two very different children and the hardest part so far has been in figuring out their styles (and how they change from day to day). I have one linguistically oreintated child. She loves language, she loves talking, she loves reading, she loves being read to and sometimes she even enjoys listening. From the time she was a small baby she loved being read to and this was an easy way to teach her anything I wanted. It is still the case, though she is starting to want to be more involved in her learning activities (preferring writing and clicking the mouse on the computer) but she is still very interested in learning through books and being read to.

My son is a completely different story. He is now starting to show interest in being read to and has the patience to sit through a story but he would much rather be doing something. For him to learn his animals and animal sounds we sit on the floor with his barn and pick up one piece at a time. To learn colors we visit a store (produce department works best) and hold up objects and say their color. He is a very hands-on learner and I am finding that I do enjoy teaching that way. It certainly increases my creativity a few notches as I always need to figure out a way to physically demonstrate the lesson I am trying to teach. As he gets older I am sure this will be both more challenging and easier.

Yet I look at both my children and realize that they will benefit more from being at home. I am not saying they could not get a good education at a school, they would probably do fine. But I don't want to settle for fine. My daughter would most likely go unchallenged and quickly become bored and disillusioned with education (much like I did). We would need to supplement her at home anyway and we would just be adding work to her when we could accomplish far more at home in a shorter period of time. My son might find himself labeled with some acronym of the day because he doesn't learn as well the typical way taught in a classroom setting and he needs to move. I can already tell that with him I will be one of those moms who says read this book, go shoot 50 hoops, come back and write the report then jump on a trampoline. I read something similar in a book on homeschooling.

So we choose to homeschool and we grow together. We all learn to be more creative and sympathetic to one another. The lessons I teach will need to have both a physical and a reading based teaching method and both children will experience both. I believe this will only enhance each of their education while ensuring that I can meet the needs of each child. Who knows what our little one will add into the mix when it is her turn to join us in a more formal way. I think it is this individualized learning and education tailored to the child's interest, pace and ability that makes homeschooling more effective. But odds are if you are reading this blog I am preaching to the choir. Learn on!


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