This post is by Kerry, a homeschooling mother of two, and is from our contributing sponsor, Time4Learning.
Help! My homeschoolers each learn so differently!
What are the chances that when homeschooling two or more children in a family, they both have exactly the same learning needs. Do you agree that the chances are pretty slim? When you consider that every human has different learning strengths and weaknesses, different interests, and different learning styles, it’s understandable that siblings might not always be on the same page. That doesn’t mean that you can’t homeschool them successfully, though. There are some things you can do to give each homeschooler a customized education when teaching children with different learning preferences.
Consider Your Curriculum
The curriculum options for homeschool families have grown exponentially in recent years. There are:
- online curricula
- literature-based curricula
- curricula with a Classical bent
- hands-on curricula
- textbook-based curricula
And those are just some of the options! Although it can be tempting to purchase a one-size-fits-all curriculum for homeschooling, you probably don’t have one-size-fits-all children.
Instead, you may want to consider mixing and matching programs for a more customized approach. For example, what if your visual learner does his math on the computer while you read aloud to your literature-lover? Or what if your kinesthetic learner works on her diorama while you discuss grammar rules with your auditory learner? By integrating curricula that students can use independently with programs that require your guidance, you can find a balance that makes homeschool as personalized as possible.
Take Your Child’s Natural Rhythms Into Account
Have you ever paid attention to when each of your children is “in their groove.” For some kids, mornings are invigorating and they are ready for action the minute their feet hit the floor. Others may not even become fully human until after lunchtime. You may even have a teen who doesn’t hit his or her stride until after the youngest siblings have gone to bed for the night.
It’s important to take note of each child’s natural sleep and wake cycles and their peak attention span. This can lead to some creative scheduling options such as:
- homeschooling an early bird or night owl while siblings are still sleeping
- adjusting when students work on assignments that need the most focused attention
- combining instruction for siblings who have the most similar rhythms
By adapting your homeschooling to each child’s preferred schedule, you’ll often find that you can accommodate their learning preferences more easily, too.
Build in Together Time
When you customize an education to each child, you may notice that your children are doing less learning together. That’s perfectly okay because there are still numerous activities you can do together as a family that don’t depend on specific learning preferences. These include things like:
- reading aloud
- going on field trips
- participating in local volunteer opportunities
- having siblings help each other with their studies
- spending time outside in nature
- playing board games
- building with construction toys
By making customized curriculum choices and being willing to adjust your learning schedule, you can still make plenty of time to bond together as a family. Homeschooling children with different learning styles requires some thought and planning, but it is certainly doable and extremely worthwhile in the long run.