A Guest Post from: Tara Ziegmont
Tara created an internationally-syndicated, award-winning blog called Feels Like Home in 2007 and continues to publish it today. She homeschools the older of her two crazy children (because the younger is 1) and lives an old-school back-to-basics frugal lifestyle all while working full-time from home as a professional blogger, blog coach, and SEO specialist.
I homeschool for so many reasons, not the least of which is that I can do a better job one on one (or one on two) than a classroom teacher with 25-30 (or more!) kids.
There is no room for debate here; there’s no doubt that a personalized education far exceeds a factory model.
What if we’re treating our homeschooled children as if they were seats in an assembly line education?
When my kindergartener showed signs of reading readiness, I quickly purchased Handwriting Without Tears and Hooked on Phonics, and I printed hundreds of pages’ worth of sight words and Montessori materials from my favorite early childhood websites.
I’m not kidding.
My daughter hated Hooked on Phonics. She made a snowman with the Handwriting Without Tears play dough. The materials I printed sat in a dog-eared pile until I threw them away.
My daughter was ready – and eager – to learn to read, but she didn’t fit the mold I tried to force her into.
I should have known better. I have a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum. I spent all of my undergraduate and graduate education learning about learning styles, designing differentiated instruction, and preparing authentic assessments.
But I also taught astronomy and geology in a public high school for 10 years, and I learned to fit the kids into the arbitrary curriculum.
After some soul searching, I realized that the curricula I chose was never going to work for my precocious student. I needed to get to know her learning style and her personality as a teacher instead of knowing her as a doting mother. Once I did that, our school time became dramatically easier.
Getting to Know Your Homeschool Student
Here are a few resources that will help you get to know your student better. Among the articles and tools are quizzes to help you determine your child’s learning style as well as explanations to help you figure out how to best teach her. The image above comes from link #3.
- Learning Styles in Young Children – This is an article similar to Zan’s commentary. It will help you to diagnose your young child’s learning style.
- Teaching and Learning Style Quizzes – This one has three different quizzes, for child and adult learning styles and for teaching style.
- Multiple Intelligences Test – This is like a magazine quiz. You answer 40 questions, and it tells you where your strengths are. This would be great for older kids to do for themselves.
- Myers-Briggs Personality Test – This is the old standard personality test that you might remember from your own adolescence. It’s based in psychology. You can find detailed explanations of each of the 16 types here.
- Personality Type and Learning Style – I loved this article because it’s written in plain English, specifically for homeschoolers. It talks about how to teach each type of personality (introvert and extrovert,
- Determining Myers-Briggs Score Without a Test – This is a really good article that will help you to determine a Myers-Briggs score for your young child who is too little for taking a test herself.