Whether they admit it or not, every parent has a dream of what their life will be with a child. Not all dreams come true, but we can only blame our ill-founded expectations for it. Perhaps, you were hoping to share your passion for poetry with y our little one, only to realize that their dyslexia makes reading poetry difficult. Or maybe you thought your child would follow in your footsteps, but they have no interest in the topics that were your favorites at school. Everybody is different, you tell yourself. But you can’t help the little voice in your head that tells you that you are doing something wrong. And that is truly a problem that most parents experience. We don’t realize how much people are different until we discover that our children think and learn in an unusual way. Learning styles and learning needs vary greatly. Unfortunately, they can be confusing to understand. No one solution can fit everybody. As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. Yet, the only reference you’ve got, when it comes down to learning for school, is yourself. So how can you best support your child when you have different learning patterns?
The different learning styles
Learning styles are one of the most popular learning theories in the education sector. Most adults are familiar with the concept of different learning styles. However, not many are aware of which suits them best. Indeed, while studies about learning styles are a common topic of conversation among parents and teachers, there is little evidence to prove that learning styles exist at all. According to specialists, learners rarely study according to their “learning styles”. Surprisingly, those who don’t don’t systematically do worse on tests.
So what do people mean when they talk about learning style, and why it doesn’t always matter? In the education context, learning styles refer to the preferred formats in which a student interacts with the information. Some students prefer when information is presented visually, such as an infographic, for instance. Others respond better to audio clues, enjoying audio lectures and retaining knowledge by listening only. Hands-on practice is a popular technique that is crucial to self-growth. You only learn best if you try to do it yourself. The verbal learning style encourages students to learn as they pass on the information to others through a presentation or a speech they hold. Solitary learners, on the other hand, tend to absorb knowledge alone through solo projects. They do not need social engagement to develop their understanding. Socially engaged students tend to prefer mentorship or tandem learning and find isolated learning overwhelming. Finally, logically-oriented learners are quick to identify frameworks of theories that they can extrapolate to make sense of the big picture.
Respecting and acknowledging different learning styles are crucial steps to support your child’s education. However, most teachers are quick to point out that children have different learning styles depending on the topic, their mood, and their learning environment. However, what learning styles fail to highlight is the different learning needs. Indeed, it is unfair to assume that standard schools can meet the requirements of all children. So what does your child need to learn new skills?
Ensuring your child has access to the right services
Sometimes, a great school can provide all the standard services that children need. Yet, these services may not be suitable for your child. Indeed, children with disabilities or special needs can find it hard to make sense of education in traditional schools. Your child could face unfair disciplinary proceedings if the school is unable to recognize their needs. That’s why you can find it helpful to reach out to a special education lawyer who can help you figure out whether your child requires special education services.
Another odd case where children struggle to follow day-to-day lessons and culture at school could be when they come from a bilingual family. American and French education expectations vary greatly, for example. If a child has a US parent a foreign-born parent, you want to make sure that cultural diversity is at the heart of their education. Bilingual schools encourage children to grow up using both their cultures and languages.
Your child doesn’t like it in school
You may remember your school days fondly, but not everyone feels the same. Some children feel restricted in a school environment. When changing school doesn’t resolve the problem, it can be a good idea to consider homeschooling. Indeed, homeschooling has grown in popularity since the pandemic. It is a unique opportunity to allow your child to develop their creativity and knowledge at their own pace in a safe environment. You can also find qualified tutors online who can provide essential support in some topics. Contrary to common belief, children who are homeschooled do not learn less. It is the opposite! Many embrace the opportunity to explore new topics and engage in activities that aren’t available at school.
Your child has already found a passion
Passions drive our lives. A passion can become a vacation and a career. So the real question that parents ought to ask is: Can my child’s school support their passion? A child who’s dedicated to dancing could bloom and grow in a dance boarding school that enables them to pursue their passion and education simultaneously. It is unfair to ask a child to prioritize education and put their passion on the back seat. Ultimately, your passion should be in the driver’s seat, while your education is what lets you control the car!
Your child is bored at school
Is school dull and boring? When a child’s cognitive abilities are too advanced for their age group, they can find school uninteresting and useless. Gifted children require a level of intellectual and sensory stimulation they can’t get in traditional schools. A gifted child has the potential to show an exceptional level of performance in one or many areas if they receive the support they need.
In conclusion, every child has different aspirations and needs when it comes to learning. It is foolish to believe that traditional schools are suitable for everyone. As we’re all different individuals, some of us might thrive in a different learning environment.