Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teaching Different Personalities

No 2 siblings are alike and neither are there learning styles. I find this especially true with my 2nd born, "middle child" girl. It takes such an effort and creativity on my part to understand and relate to her. I operate just like my oldest does, so I don't have much difficulty teaching her. The 2nd one though, oh boy!! This first became evident when she was about 5. We were going through the phonogram flash cards and learning the different sounds. While my oldest would sit quietly and recite the correct sounds back perfectly, my 2nd would run around the room in circles shouting the correct answers as she quickly passed the card.

I remember thinking at that time, "this child would never be able to learn in a classroom setting. I'm so glad I am teaching her at home." Now, 2 years later, I have to continue to remind myself why I said that. As we get more and more into material that requires focus, attention span and sitting still, my patience runs thinner and thinner.

Now, this child is also my most creative and artsy girl. This is another thing I cannot relate to. Even though my father is an incredible artist, I did not inherit any of that talent and do not understand the creative mind. Play-doh is rarely seen in our home and crafts are hidden in a cabinet (only taken out on those days that I syke myself up for it).

This is why God gave me my husband. He allows them to get dirtier and messier than I ever would and they love him for it. He also has taught me to loosen up a little. I don't think I had much of a choice with 4 small children. Now, I just try to look or walk away.

So, teaching these different personalities is an ongoing challenge. I must continue to remind myself that they all learn differently and adjust my teaching accordingly. For a structured, left-brainer like me, that is much easier said than done. I guess I'll have to start posting any time I actually school outside of the box. Let me know your ideas on how you do it. I am much better at copying an idea than coming up with one on my own.


Christina said...

Avery is just like my Kianni and has the "Middle Child Syndrome." Kianni gets an "A" whenever she has a creative teacher and when she has one like me, an organized, focused left-brainer, she gets a "D" and even sometimes an "F." I'm glad you're homeschooling Avery, because it's true that even though they are artsy, energetic, and creative... they are also extremely smart and Kianni's "Ds" do not acccurately reflect her intelligence. She always scores highly on FCAT or placement tests but her classroom scores are low. I would love to homeschool her but it isn't possible right now.

Enough jabbering! I've realized that I have to let Kianni learn in her comfortable environment. It is much harder for her to keep her side of the room neat (the messier, the better) and she learns best when she's surrounded by her highlighters, cards, notes, and books and she has a rock CD blasting or the TV on at the same time. I just cringe thinking she's never going to finish that assignment or she's not learning anything, but she is. It is when I force her to sit at the clean dining room table with her materials organized that she just wants to crawl out of her skin.

It isn't comfortable for me to allow her to study this way, but God has helped me with the patience and strength to realize that my "clean" and organized learning ways don't work for her and to allow me to see how SPECIAL He's made her, messy and all! Hope this helps!

Cassie - Homeschooling Four said...


Thanks for your perspective. Although, knowing that things aren't changing as she gets older is no fun, I love that you have adapted yourself and learned how to let her learn in her way. I'm not there yet. I'm working on it :)