Magazine September 2013 - Page 24

Understand how your child best learns Each person learns differently, and even the same person might learn in different ways depending on the topic at hand. Basic human nature leads us to teach in the same manner that we learn. Personally, I love a great lecture. When my son indicated he wanted to learn more about space and the planets, I had to check myself. Wouldn’t a lecture at the local space museum be awesome!?!? Not for my kinesthetic learner; he wouldn’t last a millisecond in that environment. It was my job to find interactive museums, science kits, workshops and more that we could use to explore this topic. In the end, his favorite project was the paper mache planets we made together. I was bored to tears, but this isn’t momschool, it’s his homeschool. Build a Personalized Learning Environment The final and most crucial step I can offer in the journey towards Personalized Learning is to build for your child a Personalized Learning Environment (PLE.) Effective PLEs give support to learners in setting their goals, in managing their goals, and in communicating their goals with others . One person cannot be all things to your child and deliver them in all ways best suited to your child – especially if you are homeschooling multiple children. Build for them a network of learning tools that can help them succeed. Examples of digital resources for homeschoolers might include YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, Netflix, Wiki, and more. It might include Skyping with experts, taking online classes, or chatting on email with a pen-pal across country. Children might enjoy blogging about their topics of interest, and communicating their excitement to others. While PLEs are more commonly considered digital assets, they can also include tactile support as well. Field trips to the zoo, scavenger hunts in the park, play groups with other homeschoolers, science clubs at the local community center….there are boundless contributors to your child’s Personalized Learning Environment. If you are interested in understanding more about learning styles and modalities of learning, I encourage you to read Rebecca Kochenderfer’s book Homeschooling and Loving It! She includes excellent tips for better understanding learning types, and she includes a worksheet to help you identify your child’s learning style as well as your own. Personalized Learning is more than modifying your approach to a topic or the speed with which you teach it. It is allowing the learner to navigate his course, to explore his interests, and to pursue what calls him. Take advantage of the power that homeschool provides in designing a personal learning experience for your child. Homeschooling is like a cupcake. Save that sheet pan for lasagna.