Dear Learning Success™ Coaches
By Victoria Kindle-Hodson & Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis
If it is natural for you: To celebrate your child’s strength’s and talents; to accept a role as a success coach, to be responsive to your child’s feelings and needs; to expand you view of where learning takes place to include anywhere your kids are, to resist using grades and comparing your child with others. You are probably going to get along just fine using your “natural” inclinations.
You will certainly have great success if, in addition to the above, it is natural for you: To focus on solutions, to identify your child’s needs and help him or her realize them, to keep track of successes rather than failures, and to take the pressure off at crucial times.
However, if it is natural for you: To criticize your child and minimize his strengths and talents; to accept a role as a critic and judge; to be reactive, critical, and judgmental; to believe learning takes place at desks with text books and work sheets; to insist on grading student work and comparing your child with others, you are apt to create a lot of disharmony between you and your child.
And, if it is natural for you: To focus on problems, to identify your goals for your children and insist that they meet them; to keep track of mistakes and failures, and to exert pressure no matter what the situation, your natural instincts are sure to create power struggles, discouragement, and anger rather than the fun and simplicity you are looking for.
We see the learning style profile and the coaching approach as a way to ensure parents will be respectful and considerate of their children, regardless of what their natural inclinations are.
A talent is a gift; however, not every young person has an INTEREST in the talent she is born with. Pursuing interests generates far more passion, drive, creativity, and ability to stick with it than does pursuing a talent for someone else’s reasons.
We suggest that you pursue your talent for music while your daughter pursues her interests. Her talents will always be there to draw upon and develop later.
In addition, because of your daughter’s Inventing and Thinking/Creating Dispositions,she may take longer to learn her math facts. In general, these students want time to explore, discover, and figure things out for themselves. They are usually very hands-on and enjoy manipulating things to find answers, which will increase sensory integration if they are allowed to do so.
What can be frustrating about these learners is that instead of doing their math assignments, they see their own relationships between numbers, and they want and need to play with them in their own way. Their own discoveries are much more important than memorizing facts and finishing pages of math problems.
The quick notations and repetitive routines for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, that we all learned, aren’t as important in learning math as we take for granted. When children have a chance to explore the underlying patterns and relationships, they are more likely not to need much instruction about how to do the “operations,” and they will be able to remember them, because in a sense they invented them for themselves.
Whole body activities -- playing catch with a large ball while saying the times tables or jumping on a rebounder might be a fun and helpful way for your daughter to learn math facts.
Get to Know Your Child: This is a wonderful opportunity for you to let go of expectations and judgments about her progress and “get to know” your child as a learner. You can relax and simply observe what she says and does with numbers, letters, and words. It is helpful to have lots of simple, self-teaching, interactive materials she can “play” with so that you don’t have to “teach” a lesson. Listen and watch carefully rather than direct her. Just be with her, somewhat like a friendly bystander. Let her know that you are there if she has any questions, then watch what she does on her own. Notice the kinds of activities your child is drawn to naturally. Notice the kinds of things she avoids or puts off.
Follow Your Child’s Lead: It sounds as if she may be a hands-on learner and might want to do very active things like stacking plastic letters or numerals to make a tower. She may do this over and over for days. You might think she is wasting time, however, she is actually conducting her own experiments and learning about the shapes of letters. She may put the letters in her own order and ask you to read them. She may enjoy hearing the sounds of the silly words that she “wrote”. She might put together puzzles of letters and numerals and recite or sing the names of the letters and numbers she knows. She may want you to name some of them for her. It’s okay. She is leading the show, collecting new information and making sure that she is on ground that is appropriately challenging and comfortable for her every step of the way.
You will be surprised one day to find out that your daughter has learned all of her numerals and letters in this casual, playful way.
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