Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Homework Helper: How to Make the Most of Studying

I used to think learning styles didn’t matter until my son was in middle school. He was quite different from my daughter who could read, take notes, memorize, and do well on tests and quizzes. When my son was taking 7th grade geography, he was required to memorize large amounts of information about various countries. He struggled, and he was not satisfied with his grade. Ricky also wanted to win the grand prize for having the highest number of points in geography at the end of the school year. (Thankfully, they don’t do that anymore.) Reading, making sense of the text, taking notes, and trying to memorize the information wasn’t working for him in geography. I became a believer of learning styles when I analyzed the situation. I realized that Ricky could hear a song and memorize the words quickly. He is an auditory learner. I instructed Ricky to tape record the text book chapters and to listen to them. This worked well! Long story short: Ricky won the grand prize in his geography class. The grand prize was wait for it . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . a geography book. But he soon got over the shock of it and focused on his class status. Other tips for auditory learners—
  • listen to audio books (eBooks, including text books, usually have an audio option as well as a smart phone app so you can listen on the go)
  • record and listen to notes
  • discuss concepts with others

You might have a child like my daughter Alana. She's a visual learner. She takes notes and makes diagrams. As an adult, she loves to make graphic organizers for fun from an app on her IPad. Other tips for visual learners—
  • draw pictures and matrices
  • highlight texts
  • watch videos

If your child is a hands-on learner (kinesthetic), he or she will benefit from “doing” something. Making a model of a concept is a good way to increase understanding and to retain the information. Other tips for hands on learners-
  • role play
  • involve the senses: hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching
  • attend museums and displays

Many people are combination learners. They benefit from hearing and doing or seeing and doing. So, a combination of techniques may work. But don’t limit your child. If he or she is a visual learner, play games and engage in activities that require him or her to use auditory and hands on strategies.

If you don’t know how your child learns, be observant. Does he or she grasp a math concept by listening? Or, does he or she need to see a step-by-step process? Maybe he or she needs to use manipulatives to understand.

I’m a combination of visual and hands-on. I am lost when I am in situations in which I have to hear only. I must take notes and make diagrams in order for the information to stick with me. My understanding increases when I make something that demonstrates a process or shows concept relationships.

One of my favorite ways to stimulate visual learners is through PowerPoint. Alternate question and answer slides. For example, type a question on slide 1, and type the answer on slide 2. You can even time the slides so your child has a few seconds to think about the answer. (Did you know that when you close your eyes, you can improve memory recall?

How do you learn? This is the story in you. Share it.


Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:
  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?

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