Learning Styles: Curriculum Considerations

download.jpgImagine this for a moment…You have a friend recommend a curriculum that her son loves and you purchase it only to use it and discover your son doesn’t like it. This has certainly happened to me! You might feel like a failure, thinking it must be you. However, consider the possibility that your student has a different learning style than your friend’s child who recommended the curriculum. “What is a learning style?” you ask. It is an individual’s unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

There are four major types of learning styles:

  • Visual (learn through seeing and prefer pictures, images, and writing)
  • Auditory (learn through hearing, both words and music)
  • Tactile (learn through touch)
  • Kinesthetic (learn through doing and moving)

There are also additional learning styles that are important to remember and these are:

  • Logical (prefer using logic, reasoning and systems)
  • Social (prefer to learn in groups or with other people)
  • Solitary (prefer to work alone, use self-study)

You probably can identify what type of style your daughter prefers by the above descriptions. If not, observe her learning a new concept and which way the material is presented to see what works best for her. Everyone has a mix of these learning styles and different styles can be used at different times.

More Questions to Ask when thinking of curriculum. Each publishing company or program has a link to it; just click on the underlined words.

  • Is my child a visual learner? Picking a curriculum that is colorful and has pictures, charts and diagrams are beneficial to this type of learner. (ABeka, Horizon, and Bob Jones are traditional textbooks that are colorful, particularly in the younger grades. You can also use trade books such as Usborne or Dorling Kindersley or the library for your studies.
  • Is my child an auditory learner?  Many curriculums now have audio files to accompany their books such as Apologia Science  and Story of the World. But, Sonlight is best known for all of the Read-Aloud books that are the foundation of their program. Other curriculums that offer books to be read aloud are Memoria Press, and Five in a Row.
  • Is my child a tactile learner? Unit studies with activities are beneficial and curriculum such as My Father’s World and Heart of Dakota each are unit-based curricula.


Does this curriculum fit the learning style of my student? Above all, that would be the question I would ask when choosing a curriculum. Because no matter how much I liked unit studies, if my son didn’t like them, then he was not all that engaged in what we were doing.

If you absolutely cannot abide the type of curriculum that best works for your daughter or son, then consider adding the type s/he enjoys once in a while. For instance, you dislike reading fiction books aloud. Pick one book that you think you could like and either read it aloud OR get an audio version of the book. 🙂  Who knows, perhaps the learning style will grow on you!



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