Friday, April 2, 2010

Thoughts on Learning Styles

Product Details

Many thanks to Mama Angie at Molding a Masterpiece for recommending Cathy Duffy’s book 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum a few weeks ago in my comment section!

I’ve spent the last few days reading this book and pondering my plan for home school.  There are some very helpful worksheets and charts that I spent time completing which allowed me to think through my philosophy of education.  The great thing about this book is that it has helped me understand my learning style and Grace’s learning style and how we are going to make this endeavor work!

Thankfully, we are similar in many ways.  We both meet the criteria for “Perfect Paula” as described in the book…planners, organizers, neat, scheduled, rule-oriented.  I’ve got a healthy dose of “Competent Carl”…logical, controlled, impatient, math/science-minded.  Grace has a moderate dose of “Wiggly Willy”, partly due to her age and developmental level…impulsive, activity-loving, kinesthetic.  We both have some “Social Sue”…enjoying friendships and emotionally connected to others.

“Carl” and “Willy” don’t necessarily mix, so I will need to stretch outside my comfort zone to include lots of multisensory techniques and activities for Grace’s benefit.  I was the kid in school that hated group work and anything out of the “norm” of bookwork and study.  Boring, I know.  But I’m excited about the challenge!

This book has helped me determine that we will both benefit from a routine-based schedule.  This will most likely look like morning instructional times in a consistent schoolroom-type setting in our home.  We can use the afternoons for activities, experiences, reinforcement, and homemaking instruction (cooking, keeping house, sewing, shopping, etc.). 

The BEST thing about this book is the Top 100 Picks Chart.  Cathy scores each curriculum on a set of criteria, specifically related to the child’s learning style.  It is SO helpful.  I can just look at the chart and easily see where to start looking to find the best fit for us. 

Interestingly, the programs that I was already leaning towards matched up as a good fit:  Sonlight and Saxon Math. 

I’ve also developed a new interest in the concept of unit studies.  I like the idea of studying one topic and applying it towards all disciplines…I believe this would fit Grace’s learning style very well and result in better comprehension and retention for her.  There are lots of great resources out there, and this is definitely something I will explore in the future.  However, in my first year of homeschool, I prefer to stick with a pre-planned curriculum.  I need to build my confidence as her teacher!

The next book on my reading list is The Well-Trained Mind, due to the recommendation of my readers and fellow homeschool parents.  I’ve got it on reserve in my library…it’s a VERY popular book.  Hopefully I’ll get it soon!

As always, thanks to everyone for the overwhelming support and good wishes I received since we made the decision to homeschool.  Todd and I are both excited to see what the future holds for Grace!


cal+claire said...

This is going to sound silly, but my first thought was "will Grace still get to have a backpack and lunch box?" haha
I loved my backpack and lunch box (emphasis on the lunch box) when I was a kid. I'm not sure why. I am sure that y'all will have lots of fun occasions together to learn outside and do awesome things that will require an awesome (possibly disney related) lunch box.
Okay, so maybe the lunch box isn't necessary, but I am still sure you will have so much fun!

Joanna J. said...

It is SO funny that you leave this comment, Claire.

Just last week, I packed a lunch for Grace to go to church childcare while I attended a ladies' Easter event at the church. As I was packing her lunch, I realized that it was the FIRST time I had ever packed her a lunch (that I had not eaten with her like at a picnic, zoo, etc.) and sent her off by herself. I was sad that I didn't have a cute lunchbag to send with her. Then I realized that by homeschooling, she wouldn't have a need for a cute lunchbag.

Well, that just wouldn't do...some of my fondest school memories include vintage lunch kits! So, when we shopped at Wal-Mart last week, I bought her a precious Tinkerbell lunch box with matching sandwich holder and thermos. She was SO excited.

See, great (and sentimental) minds think alike!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree about the lunchbox. My mom would rarely let me carry a lunch to school and I was always envious of those who did. It is also fun just to pack a cute lunch box and take it to the park or a friends house. There's just "something" about packing a cute lunch. ??? putting stickers or fun pictures or small toy in is also a little serendipity she might enjoy finding...surprise! so proud of all you are doing! Joy

cal+claire said...

Yaaaay! I'm glad Grace has a lunch box!

p.s. I just posted pictures of the chocolate cake I was telling you about!