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Dear Learning Successô Coaches

by Victoria Kindle Hodson & Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis

Dear Coaches,

What do I do? My learning style is so different from my daughterís. I want to get things done, and she just wants to look out the window and daydream. We did the profile and I know that I have a Producing disposition and she has a Thinking/Creating disposition. When sheís daydreaming, itís a nightmare for me. How can we possibly work together?

Thanks, Janice

Dear Janice,

We hope it is helpful to know that a lot of home school parents experience this major difference in learning dispositions. It is, however, as these parents have proven to us, possible for the two of you to work together. If you look a little deeper, maybe you arenít as completely different as you think. Search the profiles and your knowledge about your daughter for the similarities between the two of you. Find the talent or modality scores that are most nearly the same and do activities in that area. For example, if you both have high scores in the interactive-nature talent, make sure you frequently do outdoor activities together. If both of you have high scores in the visual-print modality, you can read together. Even if you are reading different books, you could be sharing time together. You might have fun reading aloud to each other from a book you both enjoy. 
When you focus on ways to connect with your daughter and to have fun together, you will ease the tension between the two of you. When you start working with her, she will start working with you.

Dear Coaches,

I love books and I want my son who is 12-years old to love books, too. No matter what I do, I canít get him to read. He wants to be out riding his bike and playing with friends. When reading means so much to me, why canít I pass on my enthusiasm to him? Iím beginning to feel like a failure. - Sandy

Dear Sandy,

Our guess is that you have a visual-print modality and a word-language talent. This is the learning style way of looking at your love for books. Reading is easy for you. Your son might have a visual-picture modality and have a low score in word-language talent, which could make reading difficult for him. From what you have described, it sounds as if he has a body-coordination talent and a relating/inspiring disposition and/or an interactive-others talent. Generally these learners want to be moving and interacting with others rather than sitting around reading. 
As long as you donít get stuck with the idea that your way of enjoying a book is the only way, you are likely to be able to show him how much fun books can be. Your son might especially enjoy having you read to him. If you encourage him to be active at the same time he listens to the story, you are apt to double his enjoyment. He can play with clay or pipe cleaners or draw. This takes care of the fidgets and allows some kids to listen longer than if they had to be still. Books on tape and movies about books also help some young people inch their way toward appreciation. 

Dear Coaches,

What is the advantage of doing the learning styles profile if you know your kids really well? I donít think it could tell me anything I donít already know about them. - Cynthia

Dear Cynthia,

Of course parents know more about their kids than anyone else, however, parents donít usually know what their kids think about themselves. Finding out what your kids think about themselves is one of the main reasons to have them do the profiles. 
Young people like the non-judgmental attention that doing the learning style profile gives them. They usually like the fact that parents are showing interest and curiosity in them. They also enjoy speaking for themselves and usually get many fewer chances to do this than they would like. They are used to having adults make assumptions about what they want, think, need and speaking for them. Maybe that is why so much of what we do hear them say is complaining.
It is sometimes very surprising for parents to see all of a childís learning style information collected in one place. They are used to a looser view of their child. Many times it confirms what they thought all along. Other times they realize that they were missing something very important that would help them work or communicate with their child with more ease. In almost every case, however, the learning style profile information is a reminder that their children are separate people with distinct needs, perceptions, and thoughts of their own. Of course they knew that already, and yet, the profile makes it clearer than ever before and often deepens the parentsí respect for a childís learning needs. 
We see this deepening of respectóparents for childrenóas the core and the beginning of the respect that we hear parents say they want from their children.